SOURCE: Janet Appel Public Relations

January 17, 2007 08:00 ET

Two Valentines Are Better Than One

Especially If One of Them Is Valentine De Verlay, the Heroine of Elizabeth Birkelund Oberbeck's Novel: "The Dressmaker"

GREENWICH, CT -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 17, 2007 -- Valentine's Day is approaching, as is the quest for the perfect romantic gift. An unusual opportunity to give a Valentine to your Valentine presents itself in Elizabeth Birkelund Oberbeck 's "The Dressmaker" (published by Henry Holt), a romantic novel set in Paris, whose heroine Valentine de Verlay pursues her passion to the novel's end.

"The Dressmaker" introduces Valentine de Verlay, a beautiful Parisienne society woman who captivates a humble French male dressmaker named Claude, who has been chosen to create a gown for her upcoming wedding. Claude falls head over heels for Valentine. His talents send him into the limelight of the exciting world of French haute couture, but he couldn't care less. Oberbeck creates a vivid tableau for the lovers and Valentine experiences what might be the most passionate and exhilarating time of her life, while Claude is determined to follow his heart, regardless of where it leads him.

Library Journal review remarks on "the unconventional ending that reveals the truthfulness of deep and sometimes unrequited love. Of appeal primarily to female readers who enjoy intelligent and well-written novels that make for a satisfying read." Oberbeck comments, "The book shows how passion can inspire and revive lives."

Instilled with a passion for fashion from when she was a child (her mother worked with Diana Vreeland at Harper's Bazaar), and with experience from many trips to France, including one to research the book, Oberbeck infuses "The Dressmaker" with the excitement of the fashion world and the thrill of romance.

Oberbeck and her four sisters played in a special hideout as young girls -- the "costume closet" in the back of their New York City apartment. The deep closet housed all kinds of "dress ups" to enrich their active fantasy lives and practice style. "Living across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute and visiting it often with our mother made fashion of all kinds easily accessible. Fashion was a part of our growing up," comments Oberbeck

Reviewers have praised Oberbeck's book. Booklist states, "Oberbeck, a writer for Cosmopolitan and Glamour, injects an unexpected twist into the French fashion scene in her debut novel. Oberbeck's romp is as light and frothy as one of Claude's chiffon creations, yet it is also an engaging dissection of high fashion and those who determine its whimsical direction."

Elizabeth Oberbeck has worked in book and magazine publishing, contributed a regular column to Cosmopolitan, and written for Glamour, Working Woman, Self, and Victoria. She lives in Greenwich, Ct with her husband and four sons.

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