The Girl with the Golden Scissors

Written by Julia Drosten
Review by Hilary Daninhirsch

This novel is a mesmerizing story of an orphaned little girl growing up in Vienna in the years before World War I. It is also a love story, and one of resilience and perseverance.

Fanny Schindler is ahead of her time. She’s headstrong and outspoken in a society that does not see women as much more than wives and maids. Abandoned at birth by an unwed mother, she grew up in a foundling home, with only Josepha, the housemistress, to care for her.

Though Fanny loves sewing and has a keen eye for fashion, Josepha convinces her that she is better suited for being a lady’s maid. Because Fanny speaks out against unfair conditions, she loses job after job. When she lands a job as a lady’s maid in Hungary, she knows it is her last chance. Fanny gets more than she bargains for at the house, when the daughter, Izabella, develops feelings for Fanny. When things become uncomfortable at that home, she leaves for a job with another family, but romantic complications force her to return once again to the city she loves.

When Fanny lands back in Vienna, she works to establish herself with one of the top fashion designers in the city. Though successful, her personal relationships are in jeopardy, and she has not given up on her lifelong quest to learn the identity of her birth parents.

The reader will come to care about the ambitious and independent Fanny as she navigates life’s obstacles. The pre-World War I backdrop is a refreshing change of pace in light of the many novels set during World War II. The story is compelling, well-researched, and is a true page turner. The reader can only hope for a sequel.