The Last Dress from Paris Review

London, 2017. When Lucille’s beloved Granny Sylvie asks her to go to Paris to retrieve a priceless Dior dress, Lucille is happy to oblige. What she finds in a small apartment sends her on a wild goose hunt through the City of Light that changes her life forever.

Paris, 1952. Postwar Paris is full of glamour and privilege, and Alice Ainsley is in the middle of it all as the wife of the British ambassador to France. He showers her with expensive gifts, but not his affection. Alice yearns to follow her heart and becomes caught up in a love affair for the ages.

The Last Dress from Paris is told in parallel narratives in alternative timelines. When I read books constructed in this way, I often dislike the more contemporary narrative. Not this time. I enjoyed 2017 and 1952 in equal measure.

I am no fashionista, but I found this book about haute couture intriguing. The relationship between grandmother and granddaughter is charming—completely unlike what I experienced with my own and one I pray for with my own granddaughters. Both primary characters are deeply written and likeable; Granny’s emotional strength is especially astonishing. I also appreciated the mystery components of the book, and in the case, I even liked the romance!

On the downside, though, I’ve read too many books about granddaughters who find out about their grandmothers’ secret lives. It’s getting tiresome. Come on publishers, let’s be more innovative! The Last Dress from Paris is perfect for fans of The Gown (Jennifer Robison) and The Good Left Undone (Adriana Trigiani). 4 stars.

** Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions are wholly my own.

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