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The Dressmaker: A Novel Paperback – August 11, 2015
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“It’s clear we’re visiting a small 1950s town not of history but as imagined by Tim Burton: the gothic, polarized world of Edward Scissorhands… Ham has real gifts as a writer of surfaces and pictures, bringing Tilly’s frocks to surprising, animated life.” – The New York Times Book Review
“The book’s true pleasures involve the way Rosalie Ham has small-town living down pat…she channels welcome shades of British novelist Angela Carter’s sly, funny, and wickedly Gothic adornments…Blunt, raw and more than a little fantastical, the novel exposes both the dark and the shimmering lights in our human hearts.” – The Boston Globe
“With the retribution of Carrie, the quirkiness of Edward Scissorhands, and the scandal of Desperate Housewives, this novel will lend its cinematic qualities to the big screen later this year.” —Booklist
“Ham’s descriptions of the materials, colors and fashions of the 1950s are detailed and fun. Tillie’s secrets are revealed slowly and skillfully, and the final scene is brilliant and satisfying. This is a novel of dark humor, revenge and high fashion.” – Historical Novel Society Review
“[Rosalie Ham] is a true original. Blessed with an astringently unsentimental tone and a talent for creating memorably eccentric characters, Ham also possesses a confidently brisk and mischievous sense of plot. It’s no wonder The Dressmaker, a tale of small-town couture and revenge, is being adapted for film.” —The Sydney Morning Herald
“Ham’s eye for the absurd, the comical, and the poignant are highly tuned. [The Dressmaker] is a first novel to be proud of, and definitely one to savor.” —The Weekend Australian
About the Author
Rosalie Ham is the author of three novels. Rosalie was born and raised in Jerilderie, New South Wales and now lives in Melbourne, Australia. She holds a master of arts in creative writing and teaches literature.
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Now a highly accomplished dressmaker, Tilly overcomes the antipathy of the local women, most of whom are almost comically ignorant, small-minded, and nasty, and begins creating beautiful and elegant Balenciaga and Dior inspired dresses for them. Tilly forms a friendship with Sergeant Farrat, the town's sole constable, who harbors his own secrets, and begins a romance with Teddy, her handsome neighbor and the town's star athlete.
Still, the initial acceptance of Tilly's haute couture efforts on their behalf, does not change the nature of the townspeople, and the malicious nature of many of them bubbles up and spills over once again onto Tilly and her eccentric mother. Not even Teddy's unconditional love for Tilly can breach that wall of hatred. Then the unthinkable happens, but no matter, as Tilly has plans of her own, as the town will soon discover.
This is a dark novel, somewhat satirical in tone, with a penchant for the unlikely. The author sets a somber tone with moments of comic relief. At times, the book is somewhat rambling, and it could have used a defter hand in terms of its editing. It is definitely unsettling in many respects and could definitely have been a contender but for its somewhat poor editing. I recently saw the movie, after I read the book, and this is one of the few times I have ever thought that the movie was better than the book. In fact, the movie was fantastic! It is everything the book could have been. Still, the book is worth a read, and one will derive a modicum of enjoyment from it.
think I've read anything like it and I am glad I read it and will watch the movie.
Most recent customer reviews
Plot line good. I do want to see the movie for the description of the fashion intriguing.