Everyone knows that the Crown Prince Sebastian is hosting a ball to look for the perfect bride. Young ladies squeal over invitations, shops are selling out of ball gowns, and seamstresses are working day and night to keep up with the demand. Frances, a seamstress, is asked to design a dress for Lady Sophia, who is in need of a dress for the ball. However, Lady Sophia is in a bad mood, and she says something to Frances: "Make me look like the devil's wench."
Frances, intrigued by this idea, designs a daringly short black dress of thin chiffon and lace, unlike the colorful sweeping skirts of the other ladies at the ball, and her dress is noticed by all. Including the Crown Prince Sebastian, hidden behind a curtain. Secretly, the prince dreams of wearing something like that.
Frances is offered the chance of a lifetime by Sebastian's personal assistant. She doesn't realize the person she's designing for is a boy, much less the Crown Prince. During the day, Sebastian plays the charming prince, finding a bride, while at night, he goes out in secret in dresses and a wig; and Paris knows him as Lady Crystallia, the "woman" whose dresses and fashion sense is admired everywhere.
Frances is one of the only two people that know Sebastian's secret. But as she keeps designing dresses for the prince, it gets harder and harder to keep his secret. How long can she keep it quiet for her friend before someone finds out?
The Prince and the Dressmaker was a beautifully illustrated graphic novel full of vivid pictures and amazing facial expressions. Jen Wang spins a tale of friendship, courage, and the confidence to embrace one's identity. Frances and Sebastian are characters you will never forget, making you cry and laugh all throughout the book. It mixes suspense, mystery, and just plain fun into the story, making it an unforgettable read. I loved how well the characters' personalities were displayed; through the illustrations, actions, and way they talked. This book explains that no matter who you are, you are free to dress, to act like who you want to be.
I would recommend this book to readers age twelve and up, who enjoy a good, sweet tale set in Paris.