Top critical review
November 18, 2018
The Paris Seamstress was my first of Lester's books, and I was looking forward to the read after finding glowing reviews here and on Goodreads.
Lester's a talented writer, and I have no quarrel with her skill. My problem is with the storyline and characters, whom I struggled to like or relate to.
The young Estelle is selfish, (sometimes) clueless, and unappealingly self-absorbed. I pushed through her shallowness in the beginning of the book because I wanted to see what the hype was about. Thankfully, she improves a little in old age. Her granddaughter, Fabienne, is too unrealistic in her attitude toward her work. (I realize that this is fiction, but who's going to be able to just jet off right after starting her "dream job?") Sam's repression of his love for Estelle is pathetic; the man would declare himself earlier, especailly if he's man enough for Estelle at the end. The male romantic leads are too perfect: handsome, manly, romantic.
The story seems formulaic, and the author glosses overmost of the horrors of the war. (It's not a documentary, but Lester's depiction of Occupied Paris is too sanitized.) And I'm tired of books that bounce between generations. Been there, done that. It's as if authors can't find enough to build a story in one generation, and think, "Hey! Let's add an ancestor's story to flesh things out!"
All in all, the book disappointed me. I won't be reading another of Lester's works.