London, 1939. Ada Vaughan is a young working-class woman with an unusual skill for dressmaking who dreams of opening her own atelier. When she meets Stanislaus von Lieben, a Hungarian aristocrat, a new, better life seems to arrive. Stanislaus sweeps Ada off her feet and brings her to Paris. But when war breaks out and Stanislaus vanishes, Ada is abandoned and alone, trapped on an increasingly dangerous continent.
Taken prisoner by the Germans, Ada does everything she can to survive. In the bleak horror of wartime Germany, Ada's skill for creating beauty and glamour is the one thing that keeps her safe. But after the war, attempting to rebuild her life in London, Ada finds that no one is interested in the messy truths of what happened to women like her. And though Ada thought she had left the war behind, her past eventually comes to light, with devastating consequences.
Gorgeously written and compulsively readable, The Dressmaker's War introduces us to an unforgettable heroine—Ada Vaughan, a woman whose ambition for a better life ultimately comes at a heartbreaking cost.
Praise for The Dressmaker's War
"Mary Chamberlain's clear, bright prose is river-swift and Ada Vaughan is a character rich with beautiful, flawed humanity. This is a gripping story about limits and the haunting, brutal way they can be drawn and redrawn in war."—Priya Parmar, author of Vanessa and Her Sister
"A thrilling story, brilliantly told—I couldn't put it down. Ada Vaughan is a character to fall in love with: utterly real, flawed, and beguiling."—Saskia Sarginson, author of The Twins and Without You
"I found myself completely swept up in this tale of love, ambition, and vanity."—Juliet West, author of Before the Fall
"The Dressmaker's War is a powerful and gripping tale of longings and dreams, and how a chance meeting that seems to offer the answers and more instead comes with devastating consequences. It's a story about what a person will do and can do under force."—Cecilia Ekbäck, author of Wolf Winter
- Random House Publishing Group
- Random House
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Mary Chamberlain (Author)
Mary Chamberlain was born and raised in London. She has lived and worked in England and the Caribbean, and is Emeritus Professor of History at Oxford Brookes University. Her book Fenwomen was the first to be published by the feminist Virago Press ...