The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang

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“Prince Sebastian is looking for a bride―or rather, his parents are looking for one for him. Sebastian is too busy hiding his secret life from everyone. At night he puts on daring dresses and takes Paris by storm as the fabulous Lady Crystallia―the hottest fashion icon in the world capital of fashion! Sebastian’s secret weapon (and best friend) is the brilliant dressmaker Frances―one of only two people who know the truth: sometimes this boy wears dresses. But Frances dreams of greatness, and being someone’s secret weapon means being a secret. Forever. How long can Frances defer her dreams to protect a friend?”

-Synopsis from Goodreads


*spoilers ahead*

This was such a sweet graphic novel! I was hesitant to read it after how unexpectedly upsetting Stargazing turned out to be, so I was pleasantly surprised that the story was enjoyable and didn’t have some unexpected dark storyline.

The story is set in Paris at the start of the 20th century. Frances, a seamstress, and Sebastian, a prince, are both trying to figure out who they are and where they fit in the world. When he asks Frances to design his dresses, they both become famous which brings both good and bad; everyone who knows Sebastian knows Frances, too, so there is no way people can know that she is the one making the dresses for his alter ego, Lady Crystallia. Frances becomes trapped by Sebastian’s secret and must decide if she’s willing to go along with it to protect him, and for how long.

I feel like parts of this story may be triggering for some people, but I’m not sure. When Sebastian is outted in front of his parents it was so uncomfortable to read. I can only imagine the fear that someone living with a similar secret must have about being exposed like that. But his parents are ultimately supportive of him and everyone rallies behind him which was so nice to see!

Other than that part, this was a sweet, lighthearted read that I enjoyed. As always, the illustrations are a huge factor as to whether or not I will enjoy a graphic novel, and these were downright lovely because Jen Wang is so talented! I will definitely read more of her work in the future.

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