Book Review: THE PINK SUIT

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“When it was all over, in the underground parking garage of the hospital, Lady Bird would glance over her shoulder for one last look at the President. His limo was sideways, as if abandoned. The doors were flung open. The agents were desperate to get him inside: some hovered over the dark-blue Lincoln, pleading with the Wife, who lay across her husband’s body, refusing to move. Some stood with their backs to it all, their guns drawn…In the midst of it all, Lady Bird remembered seeing ‘a bundle of pink, just like a drift of blossoms, lying across the backseat.’ It was that immaculate woman, in that beautiful suit, covering her husband’s body.” Nicole Mary Kelby, THE PINK SUIT

Publisher Synopsis:

A novel based on the true story behind Jacqueline Kennedy’s iconic pink suit. 

On November 22, 1963, the First Lady accompanied her husband to Dallas, Texas dressed in a pink Chanel-style suit that was his favorite. Much of her wardrobe, including the pink suit, came from the New York boutique Chez Ninon where a young seamstress, an Irish immigrant named Kate, worked behind the scenes to meticulously craft the memorable outfits.

While the two never met, Kate knew every tuck and pleat needed to create the illusion of the First Lady’s perfection. And when the pink suit becomes infamous, Kate’s already fragile world–divided between the excess and artistry of Chez Ninon and the traditional values of her insular neighborhood–threatens to rip apart.

The Pink Suit is a fascinating look at politics, fashion, and some of the most glamorous women in history, seen through the eyes of a young woman caught in the midst of an American breed of upstairs/downstairs class drama.

My Recommendation:

My Irish Catholic family has long been fascinated by the Kennedys, and I grew up hearing stories of the love, the lore, and the tragedy of America’s most fascinating first family. (My grandmother was in ecstasy when she heard I babysat for one of RFK’s granddaughters.) Anything involving the Kennedys has my attention, particularly historical fiction.

Kelby’s novel THE PINK SUIT is crafted with the precision of the finest daywear. Built layer upon layer, with intense attention to detail, and skillfully delivered to entrance the reader, THE PINK SUIT, demonstrates how the making of a wardrobe nearly unravels the worker who crafts it.

While the first family is never named, the whispers of the Wife and Maison Blanche draw the reader into the back rooms with those who sewed some of the most photographed and iconic fashion of the sixties. And while the wardrobe of the First Lady is a fascination in itself, it is the delicate undoing of all her seamstress clings to out of fear and comfort that most captivates.

In sensuous prose, Kelby weaves a story behind a story, that will never go out of fashion. Lovers of period novels, famous figures, and those who exist in the wings will devour THE PINK SUIT.

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