I remember viewing movies with my grandparents in our family home in New York. We did not only watch what was considered family friendly movies, like the King and I, but just about every movie that came on HBO. One of those movies, was Victor/Victoria, with Julie Andrews, James Garner, and the guy who played Webster’s dad, Alex Karras. This was the first time as a kid, I saw someone who I closely associated with a certain character, Julie Andrews in Sound Of Music, play a character nowhere near who they were in that particular film. That was not the part of the movie, that changed my view, is how a woman could dress as a man, which is something I asked my parent about soon after the movie was over.
They tried to explain in their most PC way, which further confused me. It was not until I saw Rocky Horror Picture Show, that I even begin to understand what transvestitism is, and I only recently found out how different it is from being transgender, thanks to Transparent. As the world forges to become more accepting of all sexualities and gender identities, it still feels as though the world is stuck in a time warp, and that is why the world needs more stories, not only to educate but for them to empathize. Jen Wang’s The Prince and The Dressmaker is one of those stories that does both and does quite enchantingly.
We are in Enlightenment era Paris, and the prince of Belgium Prince Sebastian, is holding court to find a wife or more accurately his parents are looking to marry him off, to secure more power. We also meet Frances, a low-level seamstress, who makes a beautiful dress one night, which changes her life forever as she is secretly hired to be a personal seamstress. This is where our two protagonists meet, and a rare friendship is sparked, one where trust knows no bounds and the one secret they share liberates them both. By book’s end, this newly found freedom, leads to their happiness, one which shows the and the world, it’s okay to be who you are.
Overall, a magical book that shows how the world handles perceptions, and how acceptance starts with person struggling to find it. The story by Wang is touching, funny, deep, and charmed. The art by Wang is breathtaking and alluring. Altogether, a story that will make you root for both of the protagonists, and understand that the love of one’s self is one of the keys to life.
Story: Jen Wang Art: Jen Wang
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy
First Second provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review