The Prince and the Dressmaker

A lot of places are calling this a "fairy tale for modern times" and in a lot of ways, it is. Set at the turn of the 20th century, we discover the tale of Prince Sebastian, a young man whose parents are diligently looking for a wife for their son. Sebastian could really care less about getting married, as he has a much larger secret that he is hiding - a secret only known to two other people: his handler, and a young dressmaker and Sebastian's best friend, Frances. Frances dreams of becoming a famous dress maker, but is toiling away in obscurity when Sebastian hires her for a secret project. See, Sebastian loves to dress up in women's clothes and become the Lady Crystallia, who just so happens to be the most famous and beloved fashion icon of the era. Having dresses made by Frances catapults the Lady into the limelight as the "it" girl, and draws much attention from certain artistic elements of Parisian life - but when Frances dreams run up against Sebastian's fears, it could prove to be the end of everything they both stand for and believe in. This is a book that has been a long time in coming, and is not only relevant to societal aspects of this day and age, but to certain segments of the population that are dying for positive representation. What I really love about this story is that there is no soap-boxing going on here. There are no demands on the reader's part to celebrate or denounce aspects of Sebastian's or Frances' lives. It simply presents it as a factual event and doesn't give a damn whether or not the reader approves. Sebastian is not looking for acceptance for what he does, he only wants to be able to indulge in what makes him happy and fulfills him. Frances is a great companion and fully formed character in her own right. She wants to help her friend, but not at the expense of her dreams, and no matter what happens, she will make those dreams happen. Wang has written some great stories before, and this is yet another great addition to the graphic canon. The story is endearing and believable, and the twists are turns are exciting, and completely caught me off guard. I just absolutely loved this book, and it's going into my permanent collection for perpetual offering.

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