So, at the end of April we kicked off our first sewing themed book club with The Forgotten Seamstress, written by Liz Trenow. I took some notes to share here…
The synopsis is:
“London, 1910: Maria, a remarkable young seamstress, is noticed by Queen Mary, patron of the London Needlework Guild, who gives her a job in the royal household. A century later, when turning out her mother’s loft, Caroline discovers an old patchwork quilt left to her by her grandmother, and becomes intrigued by the curious verse embroidered into its lining. When her best friend, a fabric conservator, notices that some of the fabrics are almost certainly unique and rare royal wedding silks, Caroline becomes determined to discover more about the quilt and its mysterious origins.
Through the fading memories of her mother, some family letters and photographs, some old cassette tapes and the help of a local journalist, she uncovers an extraordinary story involving a royal affair, a life of incarceration, an illegal adoption and two women whose lives collided with devastating consequences.
Finally, Caroline comes to understand what her Granny wanted her to know – the truth about herself and how she wants to live her own life.”
Well, for starters, everyone enjoyed the book and finished it. Good start! All were fascinated by Maria’s story and liked the way it was told. Two members of the group remembered working in nursing several decades ago and that her story of women and mental health provision was very realistic – and made us shudder somewhat. We liked the sewing theme – very evocative and didn’t get too technical so didn’t detract from the story just enhaunced it. A suggestion that the quilt itself was a separate character in the book was warmly agreed with.
There was some debate about the cover. It didn’t bother the kindle readers, but those who read the paperback version said they weren’t overly keen on it. This led to a discussion of about illustrations vs photographs on book covers. Here it is (amongst everything else from the evening!) for you to make you own opinion about it.
There was agreement that the story seemed to push the co-incidences perhaps a little far, however, if the book didn’t have this then maybe it would have been so readable. The whole group would recommend it to fellow stitchers, particularly as a holiday read as once started you will want to race through it. A few people were wanting to order the authors first book to read.
It was a very enjoyable evening. The group are are alternating fiction and non fiction each month, all with a sewing theme, so at the end of May we are chatting about Patchwork and Quilting in Britain, written by Heather Audin.