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4.1 out of 5 stars
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4.1 out of 5 stars
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HALL OF FAMEon 19 November 2002
I have read about a dozen of this lady's works, and this is one of the more chilling tales I have experienced. Everything about the characters is artificial bordering on unnatural. I found the cadence of the book slow, almost plodding, however taken as a complete tale the very opposite is the case.

A young girl Rita described as, "wrapped in tissue paper all her life", lives with two Aunts, with frequent visits from her, "Uncle". Those that have raised her live lives so bereft of anything worth mentioning, that their nurturing of this child into a young woman cannot produce a practically educated woman, much less a confident individual who is worldly wise. When Rita decides to step out with her peers to engage with young men, the participation from the mentioned relatives ranges from too little too late, to reprehensibly cruel.
The Uncle who is a butcher cannot abide blood when an assistant cuts himself. One Aunt has created a museum of her Mother's furniture and knickknacks inclusive of a severe portrait of the deceased that overlooks this memorial. While this could be called eccentric, the author elevates and darkens the obsession exponentially.

Nothing is positive in this view of World War II England. Even the American Soldiers are described as having but 3 faults; they are overpaid, oversexed, and over here. Even the cat that haunts this house has a name that is unprintable here, however the moniker is consistent with commentary on Catholics, Mongrel Americans, and others ad nauseum.

Ms. Bainbridge writes wonderful work that really needs to be read to the final page. She does not tip her hand, the ending is only predictable as the pages left become fewer, and only when she is ready does she deliver her sometimes-dramatic conclusion. In this event it is a bit like a hammer between the eyes.

Once again, "The Dressmaker", is another unique tale from this wonderfully diverse Author, and is well worth your time.
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on 23 May 2011
A remarkable piece of writing. This is a book with so many layers - should you care to look a little deeper - the writing style is simple, yet beautiful. I read this in a couple of days, but if I'd had the time I could easily have read from beginning to end in one sitting (not something I would generally do, and to be fair it's not a long book). This book certainly carries a strong 'punch'.

I agree with the other reviewer, you have to stay with it until the end, don't give up on it. Put in a bit of effort and you'll reap a worthy reward.

Read it, you're missing out on something special if you don't.
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on 19 June 2015
Fine writing but left me depressed. The mood a novel leaves behind is important (to me) and this novel, which I finished on the day when the shooting of black Americans in a church was reported, left me entirely disillusioned with humanity. Not Bainbridge's fault obviously, but that was my experience.
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on 10 February 2012
The book evokes a time that I do remember as I am old - it is very well structured and she has an excellent eye for detail. It triggered lots of memories in terms of time and place. Nonetheless I found it very depressing - the protagonists lead such narrow, limited, confined and rather pointless lives and to be honest, I found the ending a little implausible - but maybe I am naive. Not really my kind of book but a well written social document.
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on 25 September 2015
It was well-written and had a good sense of period and effective characterisation. It was a book club choice and I started it reluctantly but in the end enjoyed it a lot.
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on 4 August 2013
Loved this, I had read the Bottle Factory Outing some years ago and much enjoyed it, so I thought I would try another Beryl Bainbridge. I was not disappointed.
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on 11 February 2013
I actually liked this; the interaction of American GI's with the UK population during the war. An interesting study of how people lived.
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on 25 March 2013
Well written, instant read, as downloaded on my kindle.
thank you for good service.
an Interesting story full of surprises
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on 9 June 2016
I enjoyed reading it but not one I would ever pick up and read again.
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on 25 January 2016
The Dressmaker - Bainbridge

Great service and great book
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