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?
I hadn’t heard of author Liz Trenow before I was contacted about a spot on the blog tour for her latest release, ‘The Forgotten Seamstress’, but apparently I have been missing out on another great author! I’m so excited about being a part of this blog tour, because I immediately not just loved the sound of ‘The Forgotten Seamstress’, but also Liz Trenow’s style as a writer. In her work she manages to weave historical detail and the modern day and age together in a fascinating way, which comes back in the storylines of her previous novel ‘The Last Telegram’ and the novel that’s in the spotlight on my blog today, ‘The Forgotten Seamstress.’
When Caroline Meadows finds a gorgeous quilt she remembers from her childhood during a clean-out of her mother’s attic, she is immediately intrigued to find out more about the origins of the well-crafted piece. Not only the detailed patterns have caught Caroline’s attention, but there’s even a hidden message embroidered into the quilt. Caroline’s search brings her back to the start of the 1900’s, when talented young seamstress Maria Romano used to work for the British royal family. However, her crush on the handsome Prince of Wales unexpectedly influences the course of the rest of her life. It is now, 100 years later, up to Caroline to find out what exactly happened to Maria and to unravel the story behind that beautiful quilt.
I loved this novel; the combination of the historical aspect brought to the modern day and age was incredibly fascinating, and I loved finding out more about both Caroline and Maria. Even though the title of the novel refers to Maria, the seamstress, it is Caroline who takes on the main role in the book. We only find out about Maria’s life through old taped interviews and memories, but this actually only adds a special touch to the whole story, if you ask me. I loved how the novel itself managed to resemble the quilt that plays such a central role in the book: all kinds of different bits and pieces, brought together, to form something beautiful.
It is clear a lot of research has gone into this novel, which results in a wonderful sense of historical detail. I’m a big fan of anything British, so the link to the British royal family and Buckingham Palace was something I specifically liked. Yet, I also loved the whole idea of this gorgeous handmade quilt with a personal story behind it. There was even a hint of mystery to the story, which made me curious to find out more and resulted in me not wanting to put the book down. Liz Trenow has delivered an intriguingly fascinating and well-written novel with ‘The Forgotten Seamstress’, and I already can’t wait until the release of her next novel, ‘The Poppy Factory.’
Click here to order an e-copy of 'The Forgotten Seamstress'; the paperback version is released in January 2014!