Book Review: The Seamstress

 

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About the Book

The seamstress cover

Title: The Seamstress

Author: Allison Pittman

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release date: February 5, 2019

Publisher: Tyndale

A beautifully crafted story breathes life into the cameo character from the classic novel A Tale of Two Cities.

France, 1788
It is the best of times . . .

On a tranquil farm nestled in the French countryside, two orphaned cousins—Renée and Laurette—have been raised under the caring guardianship of young Émile Gagnon, the last of a once-prosperous family. No longer starving girls, Laurette and Renée now spend days tending Gagnon’s sheep, and nights in their cozy loft, whispering secrets and dreams in this time of waning innocence and peace.

It is the worst of times . . .

Paris groans with a restlessness that can no longer be contained within its city streets. Hunger and hatred fuel her people. Violence seeps into the ornate halls of Versailles. Even Gagnon’s table in the quiet village of Mouton Blanc bears witness to the rumbles of rebellion, where Marcel Moreau embodies its voice and heart.

It is the story that has never been told.

In one night, the best and worst of fate collide. A chance encounter with a fashionable woman will bring Renée’s sewing skills to light and secure a place in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette. An act of reckless passion will throw Laurette into the arms of the increasingly militant Marcel. And Gagnon, steadfast in his faith in God and country, can only watch as those he loves march straight into the heart of the revolution.

 

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My Thoughts

This book was fascinating. I wasn’t totally sure what to expect when I first started reading it. It began rather slowly. Actually the entire book moves at a fairly slow pace, but not in a bad way. I loved Allison Pittman’s writing style. She wrote in such a way that even though the story moved slowly in some parts, I never got bored. Her style is reminiscent of the classics. Fitting I suppose, as this book was inspired by A Tale of Two Cities. Which I now really want to read. Any book that inspires me to read a classic or is written in a classical style gets a good review from me.

This book is set right before and during the French Revolution. I enjoy books set during this time period, but I hate them as well. I know how the French Revolution story ends, and it makes me sad. So many people died, from hunger and from the guillotine. I think this time period showed clearly what desperation and deprivation and starvation can drive people to do. It showed the darkness that humanity is capable of. But even so, this time period is not totally without light. There were those who stood against the flood, who stood up for what is right. Allison Pittman’s book shows a brief snapshot of some of those people, and that is one of the reasons that I enjoyed it so much. It shows the best and worst of human nature. All in all, it was a very enjoyable read, and I would recommend.

I received a complimentary copy of this book in conjunction with Celebrate Lit for the purpose of reviewing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

About the Author

allison PittmanAllison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a three-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series and once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties. She lives in San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike. Connect with her on Facebook (Allison Pittman Author), Twitter (@allisonkpittman) or her website, allisonkpittman.com.

 

Guest Post from Allison

My dream of being an author began by “finishing” other author’s works, fleshing out the stories of neglected characters. When I read the final books in the Little House series, I was far more interested in Cap Garland than I was in Almonzo Wilder, and I imagined all kinds of stories in which he was the hero.

This, The Seamstress, is one of those stories that came to me in a single burst of thought. I was teaching my sophomore English class, discussing through the final scenes in A Tale of Two Cities, when the little seamstress in those final pages reached out to me. She is a nameless character, seemingly more symbolic than anything. Dickens, however, gives her an entire backstory in a single phrase: I have a cousin who lives in the country. How will she ever know what became of me? I remember pausing right then and there in front of my students and saying, “Now, there’s the story I want to write.”

Now, years later, I have.

While every word of every Charles Dickens novel is a master class in writing, what he gave to me for The Seamstress is the kind of stuff that brings life and breath to fiction. I have to convey the fact that any character on my pages—no matter how much story space he or she is allotted—has a life between them. Every man was once a child; every woman a vulnerable young girl.

So, Dickens gave me the bones of the story. A seamstress. A cousin in the country. A country ripped apart; family torn from family. I did my very best to put flesh on those bones, but no writer can ever bring the life and breath. Only a reader can do that.

Blog Stops

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Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 22

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Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Allison is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card, a hardcover copy of The Seamstress, and this copy of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/db0e/the-seamstress-celebration-tour-giveaway

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