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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In My Opinion
Let me start by saying how amazed I am that Allison Pittman took two sentences out of a Charles Dickens book and weaved an entirely new and engaging story out of it. Two sentences about a seamstress at the end of A Tale of Two Cities and readers get this beautifully stitched juxtaposition of wealth and poverty, city and county, opulence and simple.
Told through points of view of two cousins, The Seamstress takes readers from the French countryside to the palace in Versailles. Laurette and Renee are young women living in the tumultuous preface to the French Revolution. I found it interesting how quickly their situations flipped in this story. Even more so the ease in which Pittman presented these two story lines, so different than each other, is pure mastery of writing.
While Laurette wasn’t too likable at the start of The Seamstress, she learned and grew from her impetuousness and fickle heart and by the end of the book completely changed my opinion of her. Renee, the more grounded of the cousins to begin with, is talented and loyal until the end (again, if you read about her in Dickens, you are already aware of a big spoiler. But don’t let that detour you).
From the desperation, unrest, hopelessness and filth of the common people to the elaborate fashions, décor, and excess in the lives of royalty and upper class, Pittman pours it all out onto the pages of a story that draws readers in and puts them in the middle of the French Revolution.
I receive complimentary books from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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.
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
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