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Studio Saint-Ex by Ania Szado

Fans of the best-selling novel The Little Prince (French: Le Petit Prince) will appreciate this new novel loosely based on its author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1900–1944). Although not a true biographical account of his relationships, the book narrates a beautiful love story between the literary giant and two women obsessed with his charm and grace. As the story unfolds you wonder which one of his muses represents the iconic “rose” he references in his illustrations and book.

The story’s main character ironically is not Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, but a young fashion designer Mignonne Lachappelle, who gives up a comfortable life in Montreal to make a name for herself in Manhattan. Like any aspiring professional, she is driven to succeed beyond all means. Her passion is inspiring and through her journey we get an in-depth look into the fashion scene in New York complete with betrayal and small triumphs – something anyone who’s tried to follow their dream can relate to.

The writer in me also loved the fashion vs. writing argument that Mignonne has with Antoine. “Making it in fashion isn’t like finding a publisher who will print and promote your words. You can look down your nose because I have to beg, borrow, or steal what Madame and I need to survive, but you’d be doing the same thing if you had to go and find a buyer for every copy of your books.”

“It kills me not to write, yet writing is agonizing.”

There is a bit of redundancy and vagueness as we try to understand Antoine’s complicated love-hate relationship with his wife Consuelo, and his fondness of Mignonne. But Ania Szado skillfully spins the yarn by keeping us guessing just enough to continue with the book, thus carrying the story to a satisfying ending.

3.5 Sukasa Stars