Jen Wang’s The Prince and the Dressmaker is completely adorable, heart-warming, and is guaranteed to wet your eyes. Sebastian and Frances are both wonderful characters, and I love how their friendship is at the heart of the story. They find something in each other that they haven’t found elsewhere, and they have some truly beautiful moments together. I also appreciate the inclusion of Sebastian’s family in the plot. Sebastian struggles with being honest with them, and they are frustrated at Sebastian’s procrastination in choosing a bride. However, they all love each other deeply, and there is a moment towards the end where Sebastian’s father shows his loyalty to his son that made me weep.
Likewise, Frances has a great character arc as well. She has clear goals and dreams, and those become complicated when she takes on the role as the prince’s dressmaker. Yet, she is never afraid to stand up for herself or to fight for her dreams. She is both loyal and kind, and fierce and ambitious.
I would do a great disservice if I didn’t mention the utter beauty in the drawings of this graphic novel. The clothing in particular is so detailed that I can only imagine the amount of time the author spent creating the high fashion scenes. There are a couple of areas where a scene or facial expression is hard to interpret, but the vast majority of the time, the illustrations pull you right into a story of beautiful color and style.
The Prince and the Dressmaker is the kind of book you’ll want to physically hug after reading. Sebastian and Frances are lovable, endearing, and complex. I would read a hundred stories about them just to spend more time with them in their world.