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on 14 July 2014
This story is set in Paris in the 1930s – a decade of haute couture and haute danger…

The setting is the fashion houses and the cut throat fashion world in the most chicest cities in the world…

Think Chanel, Dior, Yves Saint Laurent…..

Entering this world comes at a price for Alix Gower and her attempts to make her way in the world of haute couture. She dreams of becoming a designer in a leading fashion house. She is given a chance in a million but but only if she steals the designs. Does she have a choice? She is determined to become a designer despite being the poor, illegitimate child of a mother who was an Alsace Jewess and father from England who both died too young. It is something she is hungry for and she has to support her remaining family after all. But what will be the cost if she gets caught?

This is a journey across Paris via its fashion houses, bypassing its chocolate houses, cafes, beautiful parks, imposing bridges and the darkest corners of the human conscience….

The locations featured are as numerous as they are exciting and different - never will you see Les Deux Magots, Saint Sulpice and particularly Rue du Faubourg St Honore in the same way again.

The Dress Thief however is much more than a novel about the inside of a fashion house – war is approaching and the Parisians are worried. The rich who frequent the fashion houses feel both excited and hedonistic at the prospect. The novel also mentions Durango and Guernica to illustrate the Spanish civil war which is ongoing at the time.

There is depth and quality to the history of the setting – we see Paris in a world of contrasts – draped in shiny fabrics but within the shadow of the bombs and despair.

In war time it is said that the normal rules don’t apply and that people act differently – in Alix’s world there are men from the underworld like Serge Martel, owner of the Rose-Noire nightclub, and the Comte de Charembourg, a wartime comrade of her father. Each with secrets of their own and secrets that they and those around them must keep hidden at all costs.

However, Alix is living the most double life of them all and if she gets caught, if someone knows what she is doing, then who knows what will happen and what the consequences will be.

The world of fashion might be a battlefield, but the real world is at war. The two intertwining stories provide an explosive mix.

There is a booktrail of fabric, intrigue and deep dark secrets just wanting to be discovered....
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on 8 February 2015
In The Dress Thief, Natalie Meg Evans has created characters I cared about and an exciting story, part romance, part adventure, which kept me in suspense to the very end. If you like your heroines to be independent and courageous, you'll love Alix Gower, the dress thief of the title. Alix is surrounded by a kaleidoscope of memorable characters in the Paris of the 1930s which is vividly brought to life by the author. Can't wait to read Natalie's next book!
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on 19 February 2015
This enjoyable tale of the fashion world in the 1920's and 30's takes you through the highs, the lows and the backhand tactics to survive when not from monied families. Underpinned by a story of murder and family ancestry this novel keeps you reading. You identify with the main character and will her to succeed even if you disagree with her tactics.
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on 30 August 2014
A heady mix of fact and fiction makes for an enthralling read. It had me hooked from the very start and I really warmed to Alix and found myself caring what happened to her as her story unfolded. I found the period descriptions very evocative and as for the descriptions of the clothes.... I also loved the extras at the end of the book - from the onion soup recipe to the couturier background! If this is a first book it bodes well.
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on 18 August 2014
The Dress Thief was a joy to read. Alice is a lovable, strong heroine, and I was rooting for her and Verrian all the way through. The book made me wish I was a Parisian in high society during the thirties. The storyline has enough layers and twists and turns to keep it interesting all the way through and I thoroughly recommend it. Natalie Meg Evans has succeeded in writing a book which is well researched and written in a style which is not irritating in the way that so many women's fictions are.
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on 30 June 2015
The reviews made this sound so much more interesting than it turned out to be; the characters were uninvolving and had no depth, so I really didn't care what happened to them; and the plot was over-detailed in some places and sketchy in others, it just felt as though the writer enjoyed describing dresses more than the central characters and by the end I could picture the black and red dress and the gold dress more clearly than the main characters in the book. The plot limped along, and all the loose ends being tied up at the end, even the fashion designer that the young dress thie had put out of business seemed to have forgiven her remarkably easily and all the loose ends being suddenly tied up in the unlikeliest fashion just felt clunky and unbelievable.
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on 6 July 2014
It is not often that one reads a book which has it all: good plot, beautifully written and evocative descriptions, but this book does. I have not enjoyed a book as much for a long while. This author has clearly done her research as well. can't wait for the Milliner's secret.
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on 4 August 2014
“The Dress Thief” tells the story of Alix Gower a young girl dreaming of working in Parisian haute couture. Alix has a wonderful ability to be able to sketch copies of high end fashion items at just a moment’s glance. This skill gives her a chance at her dream job in one of the most prominent fashion houses in Paris; but also leads her into a world of danger and deception. After Alix meets the handsome young English journalist Verrian Haviland, Alix’s mysterious past begins to unravel itself and her life begins to fall apart.
I wanted to read this book as I am a huge “House of Elliot” fan which is set at a similar time but in London. However The Dress Thief goes way beyond a story of Parisian fashion. It is a story of mystery, romance, friendship and the everyday struggles of life. Right from the start this book will grip hold of you and draw you into Alix’s story and it won’t let you go till the very last page.
Alix is a brilliant main character. She is obviously a talented and beautiful young woman whom the men around her find very captivating. I felt she came across as a little naïve when in some situations but I liked that because it made you like her, even though you didn’t always agree with what she was doing. This book has many characters but they all add something to the story, making you feel like you are right there in Paris with them all.
This is a stunning debut novel by Natalie Meg Evans which has been beautifully written and well thought out. I loved the plot and the way it unfolded just made you want more and more. I was sad to finish the book as the character of Alix really grew on me and I’d love to find out what happens to her next. This book is definitely worth the read and I cannot wait until next spring when her next novel The Milliner’s Secret is released.
Rating 5/5
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on 6 July 2014
Thoroughly enjoyed this - a likable, strong heroine, a well crafted and thoroughly researched story. I loved the notes at the end! An absorbing book that I didn't want to finish, I wanted to stay with Alix and find out what she did next.
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on 16 June 2014
This is a 'must read'. So sensitively and beautifully written. Hard to put down. Natalie Evans has the ability to take you into Paris backwaters, help you touch the fabrics and smell the perfumes. The plot is many layered - and the ending, a real surprise.
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