Monday, 14 April 2014

Review: The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow

It is 1910 and Maria, a talented young girl from the East end of London, is employed to work as a seamstress for the royal family. As an attractive girl, she soon catches the eye of the Prince of Wales and she in turn is captivated by his glamour and intensity.

But careless talk causes trouble and soon Maria’s life takes a far darker turn. Disbelieved and dismissed she is thrown into a mental asylum, shut away from the real world with only her needlework for company.

Can a beautiful quilt, discovered many years later, reveal the truth behind what happened to Maria?

Paperback, 336 pages
Expected publication: May 6th 2014 by Sourcebooks Landmark

Terri's Thoughts:

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Source Landmark via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected release date is May 6, 2014.

I will begin by saying that I love stories that take place in the past with a present day story intertwined. Historical fiction is my favorite genre and this book fit the bill for me with two female main characters that I was invested in from the very beginning.

Starting with Maria her story was simply tragic and I was glued to the pages to find out what happened to her.  I liked how her story was told in the form of recorded interviews so that there was tangible evidence of her portrayal of her life events.  I also found it interesting that due to the fact that she was diagnosed with a mental disorder which describe her as having delusions and making up stories that you were left wondering if her stories were indeed truthful or part of an elaborate imagination. I will not disclose which was what however I will say that the story could have successfully progressed with either outcome.

The story of Caroline came with modern day issues however her journey in some way mirrored the one Maria.  They both had to deal with a similar loss and learn how to move on.  I enjoyed that her journey and growth was closely linked to the quilt and it provided her the inspiration to make some choices that she had been unable to make previously.

I'm not going to lie, I was able to figure out some of the twists of the story before they were disclosed within the pages however this did not ruin the story for me.  I was still interested to find out how the storyline would play out and how the secrets would be exposed.  The only difficult part of the read for me was when the story delved in to the intricacies of quilting as I have no knowledge of the process.

Overall I really enjoyed this read.  The writing style made it easy to follow and the storyline was very interesting.  I would recommend this to novel to fans of historical fiction.  Also peaking at Trenow's profile on Goodreads it looks like she may have another publication out later this year.  I will anxiously be awaiting it's release so that I can once again get lost in her words.
About the Author

Liz Trenow's family have been silk weavers for nearly three hundred years, and she grew up in the house next to the mill in Suffolk, England, which still operates today, weaving for top-end fashion houses and royal commissions.

It was the recollections of Liz's father about how, during the Second World War, the mill worked night and day weaving parachute silk, that inspired her first novel, "The Last Telegram". It is the story of Lily Verner, a young woman who has to grow up very quickly and learn to manage the stresses and trials behind the Home Front in the Second World War.

The love story at the heart of the novel is also based on real life events and characters. In 1939, when war was imminent, Liz's family were so concerned about the plight of their many Jewish friends and business colleagues in Europe that travel to England and work at the mill. One of them fell in love with a local girl and, after internment in Australia and fighting for the Allies in Burma, returned to work at the mill, married and had a family, and lived a long and happy life. Unfortunately the story in "The Last Telegram" is not quite so straightforward!

Liz says: 'It is a coming of age story, a tale of love and loss, and how we come to terms with the mistakes we make.


No comments:

Post a Comment