Thursday, April 3, 2014

Review: Studio Saint-Ex by Ania Szado

Title: Studio Saint-Ex
Author: Ania Szado
Source: Amazon Vine
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release Date: April 2, 2014
Reviewed by: Jasmyn

A deeply evocative love story of a literary giant set in the glittering world of French expats in WWII Manhattan-for fans of The Paris Wife

Set in Manhattan and Quebec City in 1943, Studio Saint-Ex is a fictionalized account of the love triangle among Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry, his mercurial wife, Consuelo, and a young fashion designer. Mignonne Lachapelle leaves Montreal for New York to make her name, but is swept away by the charms of France’s greatest living writer. Nothing about their relationship is simple—not Antoine’s estranged wife who entangles Mig in her schemes to reclaim her husband, not his turmoil, and certainly not their tempestuous trysts or the blurring boundaries of their artistic pursuits. Yet the greatest complication comes in the form of a deceptively simple manuscript: Antoine’s work-in-progress, The Little Prince, a tender tale of loneliness, friendship, love, and loss in the form of a young prince fallen to earth.

Studio Saint-Ex is a deeply evocative love story of a literary giant caught between two talented and mesmerizing women, set in the glittering world of French expatriates in Manhattan during World War II. Reminiscent ofThe Paris WifeLoving Frank, and The Rules of CivilityStudio Saint-Exexplores themes of love, passion, and creativity in sophisticated, literary prose.

The majority of Studio Saint-Ex is told by Mignonne Lachapelle as she thinks back over the beginnings of her career in New York.  The world of fashion has been devastated by WWII and the fall of France.  Now this may seem like a trivial thing to most, but to the artists, it was a horrible thought.  Mignonne is willing to fight tooth and nail to make sure her ideas are seen - and this is what leads us into the strange story of the beginnings of Studio Saint-Ex.

The story of Mignonne, Consuelo, and Antoine is a very complicated one.  There are feelings of love, betrayal, passion, and loss being thrown around in all directions.  But ultimately they all need each other - for a variety of reasons.  Their time together allows each of them to become more than what they already were and create something that brought hope to the French that fled their homeland.

The writing of Ania Szado was amazing.  It was incredibly fluid and full of imagery.  I don't know a whole lot about fashion, but I could see each and every stitch as a garment took on its shape.  I could feel the aching back and the aching hearts from page to page.  This was a fantastic look into WWII America (and even a bit of WWII Canada) as well as an amazing view into the beginnings of the American fashion world.

*This book was received in exchange for an honest review*

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