About the Book
Title: The Seamstress
Author: Allison Pittman
Genre: Historical Fiction
Release date: February 5, 2019
A beautifully crafted story breathes life into the cameo character from the classic novel A Tale of Two Cities.
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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It’s always exciting to find a book by an author you haven’t read before. My first thought after reading the first few chapters of this book – why have I not read any of Allison Pittman’s books before? It certainly isn’t because they do not exist, only because I had not yet come across them. To say this book caught me by complete surprise would probably be an understatement. As with any book you read from an author unknown to you, you aren’t sure if their writing style is going to be your cup of tea. I knew right from the beginning that Pittman and I were going to be fast friends. I knew I was going to have to search for other books that she has written and add them to my ever growing wish list. Yes, she is that good.
First, let me comment on her ability to capture two worlds in one book, a historic one at that. Quite often I read about rags to riches stories, or those who are middle of the road. The Seamstress captured both the glamorous and the struggling with ease. Pittman seamlessly transitioned between Renee and Laurette’s POV, and I found myself really connecting with both characters in different ways. I didn’t care for Laurette’s character in the beginning to be quite honest, but Pittman transitioned her and slowly put little things into place that made me change my opinion of her. In fact, I started to almost feel sorry for her.
At the end of the day it was really Renee that stole the show for me. It was so interesting to see her go from a young girl who had amazing talent with so little to practice on, to being a young woman who could really stretch her talents and have the ability to wow the judges so to speak. You can’t help but cheer her on as she makes the move to service the Queen. For the record, I applaud Pittman’s research on this topic. Not only the surroundings and characters, but the fashion behind it as well. It was just amazing to see it come to life, at least in my mind!
Historic fans will find they cannot tear their eyes away from this beautifully sewn story. Pittman easily brings historic France to life with her vivid descriptions and eloquent writing style. I cannot wait to get my hands on more of her novels! My only regret is that I had not come across them sooner. I received a complimentary copy of this book. I was not required to write a favorable review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
About the Author
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
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.
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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