The Dressmaker: A Novel (Paperback)
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A darkly satirical novel of love, revenge, and 1950s haute couture—now a major motion picture starring Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth, and Hugo Weaving
After twenty years spent mastering the art of dressmaking at couture houses in Paris, Tilly Dunnage returns to the small Australian town she was banished from as a child. She plans only to check on her ailing mother and leave. But Tilly decides to stay, and though she is still an outcast, her lush, exquisite dresses prove irresistible to the prim women of Dungatar. Through her fashion business, her friendship with Sergeant Farrat—the town’s only policeman, who harbors an unusual passion for fabrics—and a budding romance with Teddy, the local football star whose family is almost as reviled as hers, she finds a measure of grudging acceptance. But as her dresses begin to arouse competition and envy in town, causing old resentments to surface, it becomes clear that Tilly’s mind is set on a darker design: exacting revenge on those who wronged her, in the most spectacular fashion.
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.
“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