The best and worst collide in The Seamstress

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The Seamstress

“In one night the best and worst of fate collide” in the life of a penniless seamstress. Just as the sewing skills of the main character Renee bring beauty to the most mundane of colours and fabrics so does the writing of Allison Pittman bring richness and power to the pages of her novel.

Take an old classic and weave a new tale

I have not read a Tale of Two Cities, but having read The Seamstress, I am eager to delve into the original story that inspired Allison Pittman to scoop out a minor character and bring flesh to the bones of this talented young lady. “I do not know the idleness of a moment. (Who) when not engulfed in silk, is running through the endless passages of Versailles on one errand or another.”

A must read

I just loved this book. From the moment I started reading the first line, I became hooked. The descriptions hurled me into another century where I hungered alongside the destitute and swished my flowing gown in the Royal Court where opulence ruled.

Wisdom abounds through the pages, and bad choices fuel a rebel heart.

“You must never, Laurette, find your esteem in the eyes of anyone other than our heavenly Father who loves you. The way men determine the value of others means nothing.” But does Laurette heed her mentor’s words?

Desperate times

And the book is about the desperate, “Desperate men take desperate action.” I could feel that desperation. “The women carry weapons in their hands, but they carry hunger in their bellies, dead children in their hearts, broken men in their arms.”

And contradictions

The Seamstress is a powerful book with many contradictions. And Allison Pittman seamlessly sews each chapter together to create a story that had me crying. I do not usually shed tears when reading books, but this tale got to me. Not just The Seamstress but the whole tragic situation of a country divided, by poverty and wealth. Not unlike our world today. But the author does her best to show both sides of the story, and I felt torn like a shirt ripped in half from the back of an innocent child.

Would I recommend The Seamstress?

This story is just brilliant. There are no surplus characters as all carry the tale along, all are important and engaging. Even the scoundrel has a place in my heart. And I didn’t want it to end, but it had to because I needed to dry my eyes.

Therefore if you get a chance grab yourself a copy and emerge yourself in this classic.

It definitely deserves 5* if not more.

Thank you Allison Pittman for writing such a clever extension to the orginal Tale of Two Cities.

Don’t forget the GIVEAWAY at the end of this post.

*I was given this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.*

Click here to purchase your copy!


This book review was brought to you by Margaret Kazmierczak author of “How to Make Victoria Sponge” And a contributor to Heart”wings” devotional.

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.

About the Author

allison Pittman

Allison 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

Putting flesh on neglected characters

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.

One of those characters – The Seamstress

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

Fiction Aficionado, February 9

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The Power of Words, February 9

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Maureen’s Musings, February 10

Carpe Diem, February 11

A Baker’s Perspective, February 11

All-of-a-kind Mom, February 12

Emily Yager, February 12

Mary Hake, February 12

Stories By Gina, February 13

Stephanie’s Life of Determination, February 13

The Christian Fiction Girl, February 13

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Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14

Remembrancy, February 14

Through the Fire Blogs, February 15

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Locks, Hooks and Books, February 16

Bibliophile Reviews, February 17

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Margaret Kazmierczak, February 18

A Reader’s Brain, February 18

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Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 19

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Bigreadersite, February 20

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Janices book reviews, February 20

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Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, February 21

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, February 22

To Everything A Season, February 22

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 22

Giveaway

Finished

Emotions trap a captured heart, can love free it?

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews The Captured Bride by Michelle GriepCaptured – My father in law loved to tell a story, especially about his heroic escape attempts during WW2. As he led me through the details, I vividly remember holding my breath as he described hiding under an upturned tree root inches away from the pursuing dogs. A drum crescendoed in his chest deafening his ears. Amazingly the dogs scampered off without finding Jan. Peering out cautiously with beads of sweat pouring down his back in a heightened state of flight, Jan ran for his life. Being captured the first time only made Jan want to escape again, his loyalty to his country provided the ammunition for two more attempts. Even a firing squad didn’t prevent this brave man; nothing would stop him from returning to his unit and fighting again.

Such bravery echoes throughout The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep. This book is a captive read in my opinion. For my penny’s worth scroll down to continue to peruse my book review.

Margaret Kazmierczak reviews The Captured Bride by Michelle Griep

My Penny’s worth

Captured

Mercy Lytton and Elias Dubois are both quality characters whose lives intrigued me from the start. One has a captured heart tight in its denial, keeping love at a distance, and the other captured and in jail. Both weary that their emotions will get them caught by the enemy. What a brilliant combination by Michelle Griep.  I love these two as they travel together on a journey of knowledge and danger. Consequently, I sensed that fear in the writing as if it were I only inches away from being caught. I held my breath.

A complex character

My favourite person out of the two, however, is the complex, Elias Dubois. This passage sums him up for me,  “Yes despite his rugged exterior and the fact that he rode toward God knew how many years of imprisonment, he guided the horses as if he were on a Sunday drive. A strange contentedness flowed from him as if he’d lived and walked around in hunger and need, then strolled out the other side a more peaceful soul for the journey.”

A Gem

One of my favourite lines is “Outside; water dripped everywhere. Heaven’s tears, weeping life into the earth.” I love this image.

Other characters that found their way into my heart or not

Matthew the ranger, the dependable father-like figure who looks out for Mercy. He completes the triangle of love. And of course, you must have a fly in the ointment to keep you on your toes, Rufus. Yes, he annoyed me, but he plays an important role, and that is all I am saying!

Tension and distraction

There is plenty of tension and distraction to keep you captivated with Mercy blowing hot and cold, Matthew trying to keep them all on track and Elias trying to rule the roost by being in charge. The captured man knowing more than his jailors and Rufus disappearing when the jobs need to be done!

All in all, I enjoyed this book and would like to give it ***** stars as it kept me up long after my bedtime.

Thank you, Michelle Griep, for writing this gripping novel.

*I received this book for free. No compensation was received, and all opinions are my own.*

Click here to purchase your copy!

#amreading The Captured Bride @MichelleGriep #book on tour with @Celebrate_Lit & enter #free #giveaway #bookreview Click To Tweet

About the Book

The captured bride

Title: The Captured Bride

Author: Michelle Griep

Release Date: June 1, 2018

Genre: Historical Romance

A war-torn countryside is no place for a lady—but Mercy Lytton is a lady like none other. Raised amongst the Mohawks, she straddles two cultures, yet each are united in one cause . . . to defeat the French. Born with a rare gift of unusually keen eyesight, she is chosen as a scout to accompany a team of men on a dangerous mission. Yet it is not her life that is threatened. It is her heart.

Condemned as a traitor, Elias Dubois faces the gallows. At the last minute, he’s offered his freedom if he consents to accompany a stolen shipment of French gold to a nearby fort—but he’s the one they stole it from in the first place. It turns out that the real thief is the beguiling woman, Mercy Lytton, for she steals his every waking thought.

Can love survive divided loyalties in a backcountry wilderness?

About the Author

unnamedMichelle Griep’s been writing since she first discovered blank wall space and Crayolas. She is the author of historical romances: The Innkeeper’s Daughter, 12 Days at Bleakly Manor, The Captive Heart, Brentwood’s Ward, A Heart Deceived, Undercurrent and Gallimore, but also leapt the historical fence into the realm of contemporary with the zany romantic mystery Out of the Frying Pan. If you’d like to keep up with her escapades, find her at www.michellegriep.com or stalk her on FacebookTwitter, or Pinterest.

Blog Stops

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Bibliophile Reviews, June 14

Pause for Tales, June 15

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Janices book reviews, June 21

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PInk Granny’s Journey, June 22

Carpe Diem, June 22

Giveaway

Finished