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

The Lit Addict, February 9

The Power of Words, February 9

Jennifer Sienes: Where Crisis & Christ Collide, February 10

Lis Loves Reading, February 10

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

Inspired by fiction, February 14

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, February 14

Remembrancy, February 14

Through the Fire Blogs, February 15

Seasonsofopportunities, February 15

Inspiration Clothesline, February 15

Books, Books, and More Books, February 16

Inklings and Notions, February 16

Locks, Hooks and Books, February 16

Bibliophile Reviews, February 17

Texas Book-aholic, February 17

Margaret Kazmierczak, February 18

A Reader’s Brain, February 18

By The Book, February 18

Multifarious, February 19

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, February 19

Pause for Tales, February 19

Bigreadersite, February 20

Simple Harvest Reads, February 20

Janices book reviews, February 20

For the Love of Books, February 21

Book by Book, February 21

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

I love Authors Interview 6 this is Cara Luecht

I love Authors Interview 6

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This is Cara Luecht

Welcome to I love Authors Interview 6 in this interview we meet Cara Luecht, author of Soul’s Cry – Let’s all give Cara a warm greeting.

Margaret Kazmierczak interviews Cara Luecht

Welcome, Cara. It’s a pleasure to have you sitting on my oranges and lemons VIP couch today.

I’m so glad you are doing a blog tour with Celebrate Lit as it gives me an opportunity to get to know you better.

Cara – Thank you for inviting me, Margaret.

Now you are comfortable I want you to imagine that we are on a desert island! Sun, sand and solitude!

Margaret Kazmierczak interviews Cara Luecht

Question number one.

Who would you like to be marooned on the island with and why?

Cara – My husband, David. Because he can fix/build anything. And he’s my best friend?

Ahh, that’s nice. It sounds like you won’t be on the Island for long then with his handy skills.

My second question Cara.

What luxury would you like to have washed up on the beach?

Cara – A toothbrush and toothpaste.

Oh, I’m with you there, I don’t like scummy teeth nor getting fish gills stuck in between my incisors!

Ok Cara, third question.

You are given one wish, but there is a clause which means you can only ask to be an animal. What creature would you like to be?

Cara – A shark. Other animals would leave me alone on my swim home.

I like your thinking Cara.

 

Food for thought now Cara

What food would you miss the most being on a desert island?

Cara – Cheeseburgers.

Not a lot I can say to that!

 

And now my final question Cara

You find a piece of paper with a pencil left behind from the previous Author who was shipwrecked here, what encouraging message would you leave for the next cast away?

Cara Stinks to be you—I’m using every inch of this paper and pencil.

🙂 Sounds like you have a plan….

 

Well I must say, Cara, it has been a delight to meet you.

Yes, friends go ahead and show your appreciation. Sounds like you have a lot of support Cara. Thank you for sharing with us today.

For more information on Cara Luecht and her book, Soul’s Cry along with a great GIVEAWAY continue reading……

soul's cry FB banner copy

Click here to purchase your copy

About the Book

91MN4px29kL(1)Title: Soul’s Cry

Author: Cara Luecht

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: June 15, 2017

Ione

Ione has everything she’d wanted with her busy shop filled to the brim with sumptuous fabrics, gossiping debutants, and a neatly increasing profit margin. Not to mention the unexpected attention of a man who doesn’t know her past.

And then the letter dropped from the mail slot onto to lush carpet. He was back. And the abuse, the shame, rushes in, reminding her of how unworthy she really is.

Miriam

Miriam also has everything she’d wanted—and with a baby on the way, for the first time in her life, she has everything to lose. When she’d been alone, the future had held promise, but now with her life full, it also holds fear.

Unwilling to risk a vision of loss, Miriam stops painting what will be…right before Ione needs it most.

About the Author

140223_132100ph(2)Award-winning author, Cara Luecht, lives in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin with her husband, David, and their children. In addition to freelance writing and marketing, Cara works as an English Instructor for a local college. Cara graduated summa cum laude with a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Wisconsin and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Currently, Cara is studying for a Masters of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary.

Guest post from Cara Luecht

The moment you realize how subtle racism can be.

As someone of Northern European ancestry, I approach this topic with caution and with the knowledge that I can never fully understand racism in America from a personal perspective. That being said, part of me knows that unless white America owns up to the problems that still exist, they will never go away, or if they do, they will not go away because of what I have done. I don’t want to be on the right side of history as a spectator.

Writing Soul’s Cry was daunting, because the main character in this part of the trilogy is African American. I’ll tackle the challenges with that in another blog. For now, I want to talk about one simple example of ongoing racism.

Ongoing racism

A few months ago, my publisher contacted me looking for inspiration pictures for the cover. The picture I had pinned to my desktop for Ione was from the 1800s, and heaven-only-knows how I would find permission to use it. Besides, it was in black-and-white, and we needed something that would go well with the other covers in the trilogy.

Ione’s Inspiration Picture

I went to the popular sites that cover designers use to look for modern pictures of women, in Victorian Era clothes, who had the smart, determined expression I’d imagined for Ione.

There I found a bunch of models–problem is, they were all white.

Then  I typed in “African American Victorian Woman.” One picture. And she was dressed as a burlesque dancer. Nice. I tried “Black woman in 1890,” a bit miffed that I had to use the term “Black” rather than “African American”—nothing. I got desperate, rolled my eyes, and even attempted the archaic “Negro woman in 1890” in hopes of getting something…nothing.

I tried other sites and found the same problem.

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised—when you think of a high-society Victorian woman, does an African American face come to mind?

The truth about the late Victorian era of the African American community

This doesn’t match up with the truth, though. In the late Victorian era, there was a thriving, influential, African American community in Chicago as well as many other major cities. While there were indeed crowded ghetto areas, the “Black Elite” prospered in the medical and legal professions.

Unfortunately, we rarely hear of these remarkable people who moved beyond the place society had deemed was theirs, who built on the humble foundation of literacy, who pushed innovation forward, who served on boards and cultural societies, and who worked to pull their families out of the devastation of slavery and the Civil War.

What comes to mind when thinking of an African American?

It is uncomfortable to admit, but the picture that comes to mind when thinking of an African American in the late 1800s has more in common with slaves than with a prosperous, thriving community.

And since poor African Americans outnumbered wealthy ones, I suppose one could make the argument that this reflected how a majority of African Americans lived. And that would be true…

…but it would also be true for whites. One of my grandfathers was born in an Iowa coal town. Another, into the dustbowl conditions of North Dakota. In fact, if I look back in my own history, almost every one of my ancestors lived in poverty.

A Conundrum

So why is it that when I think about a Victorian Era woman, the picture that comes to mind looks like someone from the set of Meet Me In St. Louis.

And here’s the twist…because the picture of the woman in my mind looks a bit like me (in that we are both white), her poise, the no-nonsense posture and expression…it makes me feel a bit of pride—even though I have no real connection with her. The fact is, I can look at these old pictures and see in her the determination I hope to have. I want to live up to this woman’s expectations. As crazy as it sounds, when I look at these pictures, I feel pride in a heritage I do not own. My family was in poverty, but because of these pictures, I can identify with affluence. Prosperity does not feel like a foreign concept.

Now imagine that every picture of a white woman I saw as representative of my past looked haggard, tired, and hopeless.

I’ll leave the implications for you to puzzle out.

Blog Stops

Connie’s History Classroom,  January 23

Blogging With Carol, January 24

Simple Harvest Reads, January 24

allofakindmom, January 25

Avid Reader Book Reviews, January 26

Pursuing StacieJanuary 26

A Reader’s Brain, January 27

proud to be an autism mom, January 28

BigreadersiteJanuary 28

Bibliophile Reviews, January 29

A Greater YesJanuary 30

margaret kazmierczak, January 30 (Interview)

Texas Book-aholic, January 31

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, February 1

Janices book reviewsFebruary 2

Jeanette’s Thoughts, February 3

Carpe Diem, February 4

A Baker’s Perspective, February 5

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Cara is giving away a grand prize of signed copies of the entire series!!

Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries! https://promosimple.com/ps/c729