I picked up The Dressmaker by Elizabeth Birkelund Oberbeck hoping for lighthearted story with a happy ending, but ended up drowning in a cautionary tale of the true cost of creative genius. Or something like that anyway. I will not tease you into reading this novel by saying that it had a happy ending because when it comes down to it, there is very little happiness to be had in the whole of the book. The characters that populate its pages are living dream lives they cannot appreciate. Deep in their hearts they know they want something else, but they are at a loss to understand just what that something else is.
Middle-aged tailor Claude Reynaud is a man wholly unable to derive any pleasure from his successes. Women who move in the most influential circles flock to his Reynaud for the privilege of serving as his living canvases at upper crust soirées, weddings, and other grand events. (more…)