The Dressmaker of Dachau

dressmaker new cover

Spring 1939. Taken prisoner by the Nazis,
eighteen-year-old Ada is forced into a life of slavery
and horror in Dachau concentration camp. Her skill as
a seamstress is the only bargaining chip she has against
the brutal SS guards. Back in London, she dreamed
of being a world-renowned designer; now she must
sew to save her life… but at what cost?
For readers of The Tattooist of Auschwitz and
The Librarian of Auschwitz, this is a powerful
and moving story of courage and resilience,
betrayal and passion.

‘A thought-provoking story that flies off the page. It reveals a whole other side to World War II. Soldiers suffered, were wounded, lost their lives… but others, like Ada in this novel, endured a very different kind of war. This is a beautifully written novel by an author who not only knows her stuff, but has a terrific ear for dialogue. Ada’s story stayed in my mind for days after I’d finished reading it.’ Sue Cook, broadcaster and novelist, author of On Dangerous Ground and Force of Nature.

The Dressmaker of Dachau is a thrilling story, brilliantly told. I couldn’t put it down. Ada Vaughan is a character to fall in love with: utterly real, flawed and beguiling’ Saskia Sarginson, author of RICHARD &JUDY pick, The Twins and Without You

‘I found myself completely swept up in this tale of love, ambition and vanity’ Juliet West, author of Before the Fall

‘A powerful and gripping tale of longings and dreams … it is the character of Ada Vaughan that lingers, her resolve, her passion and her flaws’ Cecilia Ekback, author of Wolf Winter.

‘This novel deserves absolutely to be five out of five stars.’ Comet Readings.

‘A book not to be missed’ Shropshire Star

The Dressmaker of Dachau is an engaging and satisfying novel.’ The Book Trust

“Mary Chamberlain’s clear, bright prose is river-swift, and Ada Vaughan is a character rich with beautiful, flawed humanity. This is a gripping story about limits and the haunting, brutal way they can be drawn and redrawn in war.” Priya Primar, author of Vanessa and Her Sisters.

“Mary Chamberlain’s haunting and poignant debut work of fiction is one readers will carry with them for years to come.”  The Historical Novels Society.

“I’ve read a lot of WWII-era fiction…’The Dressmaker’s War’ was unlike any I have read…(it) offers a different perspective, a reminder of how so many people faced their own, unique hellish wars.” Andi Russell, The  Free-Lance Star,

“The Dressmaker’s War …serves to remind us of the innumerable unknown victims of WWII and the often unmentioned hardships of survivors after a war has ended.” Haley Leuthart, EverydayEbook. via sharethis

“skillful historical fiction novel” The Book Page

“Mary Chamberlain’s novel ‘The Dressmaker’s War’ is a well-plotted, event-filled book… whale of a tale… a rousing read. It’s a good debut by an author previously known as a historian.” Brigitte Frase, Minneapolis Star Tribune.

I really enjoyed Chamberlain’s sharp prose, excellent pacing, and amazing ability to achieve terror and unease, not with detailed descriptions of the horrors of Nazi death camps, but with the opposite.  Ada doesn’t know where she is or what the Nazi’s are doing, but the reader does, and your own imagination fills in the details. Heather Clawson, The San Francisco Book Review

THE DRESSMAKER OF DACHAU was published by the Borough Press, HarperCollins in 2015 and (under the title THE DRESSMAKER’S WAR) Random House in the USA, and has sold to 19 countries.

It has become a bestseller in Italy, France and Brazil: a ‘coup de coeur’ in France (under the title ‘De Pourpre et de Soie), and has garnered wonderful reviews from media and bloggers elsewhere in Europe.


Check out the consumer reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.