Monday, March 14, 2022

"The Viennese Dressmaker" by Kathryn Gauci

Christina Lehmann was the head of a couture house in Vienna in 1939. For quite some time, she has been in love with a man whose mother was Jewish though his father was not, and was raised catholic in a time and place where those of any Jewish ancestry at all are becoming increasingly oppressed. Because of this, Max does not feel it is currently safe for them to marry, and he is unfortunately correct. Under Nazi rule, the country has been becoming an increasingly dangerous place as the war continues to make life worse for those living there who are not part of the Nazi regime.

This book was a very good read, especially considering events taking place in the world today. The author does not shy away from well known events that took place in WWII. Brutality towards those with Jewish ancestry, property seizure, medical experimentation, the killing of those considered weak or imperfect, parents sending their children away to Great Britain via the Kindertransport in an attempt to keep them safe, and many other things. While this book is a work of fiction, historical events and people were necessarily included in the story.

I greatly enjoyed reading this book. It was very well written and the story had me wanting to keep reading to see what would happen next. While the experiences of those sent to concentration camps was not explicitly shown in this book, we are shown gestapo interrogations as well as a good deal of violence (nothing too explicit, but given the period in which this book was written, such things could not be avoided.)

But I think the best of this book was the postscript written by Ms. Gauci. Be sure not to skip that section. It gives a lot of information on the people who inspired many of the characters as well as the places and events. I would highly recommend this book.

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