Book Review: The Forgotten Seamstress

the forgotten seamstressHistory and fiction bound together in a tight plot of love, loss, family, royalty, war, and grief that I could not put it down. Every turn of the page was an experience to behold and I never wanted it to end.

The book follows two intersecting story lines. That of Maria, a young orphaned girl who becomes a seamstress at the British royal palace just before WWI, and present day Caroline, a recently dumped and fired woman who is trying to figure out what to do next when she comes across the most beautiful quilt at her mother’s house.

I randomly found this at the library and picked it up. Like all of the books I select this way, I begin reading the first couple of papers to see if it will intrigue and suck me in; and this one did! It’s always exciting when that happens because it’s usually the discovery of a new author or diving in a genre I don’t normally read. This book is filled with such drama and exciting story-telling that it was hard to let go of at night.

The plight of Maria, as told through a series of tape recordings when she is in her later years, are colorful and witty, and then heart-breaking and slowly spiraling into misery only to again turn uplifting and triumphant. Caroline’s issues begin from the first pages and continue on through the story, she hits so many roadblocks that you begin to cringe and hurt at every unanticipated one.

And then the stories begin to intersect, I’m sure the words “quilt” and “seamstress” can give you a hint as to how, but it slowly becomes more and more the plight of the female (and human) condition. Not in some sort of feminist way, but just unique problems that used to and/or continue to plague women. There is stress and triumph, difficult decisions, lasting friendships, and new adventures.

Both leading ladies are stronger than they realize and though it takes them time to recognize and adapt to their circumstances, they are resilient and hardy, adjusting when they need to and becoming more solid over time, rather than weaker and falling to whims. There are men and love and even the mention of children, but I wouldn’t say it’s a romance. It’s more of a fictional look at things that likely could have happened. There are some twists that you can sort of peek at around the bend, but all the threads don’t really fall into place until last couple of chapters, making it worth the wait.

I enjoy historical fiction now and then, especially if I can keep all the names straight, and this one was an easy, although not necessarily light, read. I would definitely recommend picking it up if you see it, and even seeking it out.

Goodreads rating: 5 stars

My personal rating: 95

  • Writing style – 10
  • Plot – 10
  • Dialogue – 10
  • Personality of Main Character(s) – 9
  • Love story – 9
  • Invokes emotion – 9
  • Synopsis accuracy – 10
  • Consistent level of interest – 9
  • Stays on topic – 9
  • Accuracy of genre/genre blending – 10

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