• 2006 & 2007
  • Henry Holt & Co. (First Ed.), Picador (Reprint)
  • Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle

In this romantic novel, a provincial French dressmaker falls head over heels in love—with a woman who has hired him to create her wedding gown...

Claude Reynaud is an old-fashioned tailor, designing his famous gowns by hand in a cluttered studio well outside Paris. But one spring afternoon a woman arrives in search of a wedding dress and shatters all his composure: Valentine de Verlay is charming, beautiful, sophisticated, and, of course, engaged. Though he has long since given up on romance in favor of his work, Claude is instantly smitten.

As Valentine's wedding approaches, Claude finds it impossible to keep a safe distance, and everything he's come to rely on in his small, focused life looks ready to collapse. Worse still, it appears that Valentine may share his feelings.

The Dressmaker is a perfect gem of a novel, an enchanting portrait of another world, and, above all, a sly and irresistible love story.

"These two characters are drawn with great color, reflecting the stylish and variegated world of Parisian fashions and providing a textured backdrop for this subtle and well-crafted story." Library Journal

Reviews & praise

"[Birkelund]....injects an unexpected twist into the French fashion scene in her debut novel. ...as light and frothy as one of Claude's chiffon creations, yet it is also an engaging dissection of high fashion and those who determine its whimsical direction." Deborah Donovan for Booklist

"[Birkelund] cleverly portrays Claude's entrée into high fashion.... Successfully creates the intrigue one wants for a wedding gown designer who falls in love with his client." Publishers Weekly

"One creates a relationship as carefully as one creates a wedding dress. The Dressmaker doesn't drop a stitch." Rita Mae Brown

"What a pleasure to watch Elizabeth Birkelund conjure up the world of French haute couture with effortless and playful ease and with the same ease spin her giddy plot. But what makes The Dressmaker so utterly irresistible is her hero, the ardent and pure hearted Claude. From first to last The Dressmaker is a delight." Margot Livesey, author of Banishing Verona

"We've read so much serious and interesting writing about food in fiction, and so little about the esthetic pleasures of couture, that Elizabeth Birkelund's novel shimmers with invention. Her imagination is amazingly tactile, visual and sensuous, a rare pleasure, her storytelling is moving and sure, and her characters as real as a morning espresso. The Dressmaker is a wonderful debut." Beth Gutcheon

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