Mizza Bricard (the only main character based on a true historical person) is famous for being fashion designer Christian Dior's muse. A designer in her own right, she was not recognized in her time for her true contributions. It was not revealed at the start as to why Mizza's only child, daughter Astrid, was raised by a family in the United States. Once she became a young woman, it was clear that Astrid had inherited her mother's skills as she was also a talented designer. She struggled to get recognition and was overshadowed by Hawk Jones, a fellow designer she loved deeply but was relegated to the role of being his muse. Some provocative photos of the beautiful Astrid that appeared in Life Magazine made it hard for her to be taken seriously. At a multi-designer fashion event in 1973, held at Versailles, Astrid was on the verge of achieving the recognition she deserved. But just as she was about to make her appearance, she disappeared. Based on a bloody dress left behind, it looked as if she might have been murdered. Or did she simply run away?
The third generation of the Bricard women did not escape the same struggle. In the present day, Blythe, who is the daughter of Astrid and Hawk, was abandoned by her famous parents. A divorced mother of two, Blythe's dream is to bring back Astrid's fashion line, which went by the name Mizza. She needs funding but doesn't want to have to rely on her ex-husband, who owns multiple fashion brands or seek the money from a competitor of her ex who has the capital but is someone she doesn't trust. And while deciding which path to take, Blythe is also trying to find out what happened to her mother, Astrid Bricard.
The Disappearance of Astrid Bricard, by must-read author Natasha Lester, offers everything I look for when hoping to be swept away by a novel. It features historical and contemporary timelines. It has strong women, and the backdrop is the world of fashion. There is also a mystery that needs solving. Lester does incredible research for her books and the three generations of Bricard women are unforgettable. Being the only actual person, I found myself going down the rabbit hole reading everything I could find on the real Mizza. Lester perfectly captured the changing landscape of fashion and the free spirit of the young adults during Astrid's timeline. Other than the fictional character of Hawk, the other designers mentioned are figures everyone will recognize. And Blythe's journey was also very well done.
Many thanks to Forever | Grand Central Publishing for the opportunity read an advance copy of this wonderful book.
Rated 5 out of 5 stars.
Historical Fiction | Contemporary Fiction.
Publication Date: January 30, 2024.