Wednesday 16 April 2014

The Pink Suit - Nicole Mary Kelby
A very unusual take on the Kennedy assassination and the icon that was Jackie Kennedy. This book very much focuses on the time, money and effort that went into creating and maintaining 'the Wife' as the nation's sweetheart. The story barely involves the Wife at all, choosing instead to focus almost entirely on the design and creation of the iconic pink suit that was worn on that fateful visit to Dallas. The novel is based on the actual Irish seamstress who was integral in crafting the suit in question as well on the fashion house Chez Ninon. The author makes it clear that although Kate and the fashion house were real people the image of them presented her is her own fictionalised take on their lives and attitudes, however for the most part she does an incredible job of breathing life into these characters. As with her previous work, White Truffles in Winter this is a gorgeously sensual novel. The textures, scents and weave of each fabric becomes integral to the plot and characterisation here. The subplot surrounding Kate's own love affair with her homely butcher allows Kelby to draw in more of the wonderful descriptions of food that made White Truffles such a delight.
There were some lovely little cameos from Coco Chanel and Martin Luther King so be sure to look out for these along the way.
This novel could easily have descended into a mere fluff piece but some beautiful writing and a well thought out set of convincing characters ensure that there is no risk of this, all while providing a glimpse into what it takes to build a modern icon.

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