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From the author of By the Way, Meet Vera Stark, Intimate Apparel is a loving and evocative portrait of Esther, an independent but lonely African American seamstress in early 20th-century Manhattan who earns a living sewing exquisite lingerie for wealthy socialites uptown, and women of ill repute downtown. When Esther receives a letter from a stranger who is laboring on the Panama Canal, she begins an epistolary courtship with him, only to discover that he is not all that he seems. Disillusioned but unbroken, Esther reluctantly returns to her sewing machine to refashion her dreams from the cloth of her life's experiences.

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