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The Forgotten Seamstress by [Trenow, Liz]
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The Forgotten Seamstress Kindle Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 346 customer reviews

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Product Description


Praise for Liz Trenow:

‘Extraordinary, fascinating …deeply rooted in history’ Midweek, Radio 4

“Liz Trenow sews together the strands of past and present as delicately as the exquisite stitching on the quilt which forms
the centerpiece of the story.”
Lucinda Riley

‘An assured debut with a page-turning conclusion.’ Daily Express

“An intriguing patchwork of past and present, upstairs
and downstairs, hope and despair.” Daisy Goodwin,

‘A novel about the human spirit – Liz Trenow paints with able prose a picture of the prejudices that bind us and the love that sets us free … Splendid.’ Pam Jenoff, author of The Kommandant’s Girl

‘This absorbing novel delves into the secrets of wartime silk production and makes them totally fascinating … Tremendously atmospheric and convincing in its details, with characters that touch the heart. A book to savour.’ Kate Furnivall, author of The Russian Concubine

Book Description

A stunning novel set in the Edwardian era about a seamstress working at Buckingham Palace. Full of drama, betrayal and addictive real-life detail – The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow is perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Joanne Harris.

When Caroline Meadows discovers a beautiful quilt in her mother’s attic, she sets out on a journey to discover who made it, and the meaning of the mysterious message embroidered into its lining.

Many years earlier, before the first world war has cast its shadow, Maria, a talented seamstress from the East End of London, is employed to work for the royal family. A young and 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.

Can Caroline piece together a secret history and reveal the truth behind what happened to Maria?

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1007 KB
  • Print Length: 401 pages
  • Publisher: Avon (5 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars 346 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #17,165 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By ElaineG TOP 100 REVIEWER on 5 Dec. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
This is a story that I really enjoyed reading. It begins with Caroline unearthing an old quilt that has been in her family for many years and becoming fascinated by its origins - who made it, when and why. The story then alternates between Caroline's search and that of Maria, who made the quilt over many years of her lifetime. Maria's story is heart breaking and quite shocking at times, especially when her secret emerges. Her part of the story is told mainly in a series of taped interviews, and they felt so realistic that I really got right inside Maria's head and empathised with her immediately.

As you are reading the story you are always one step ahead of Caroline in her search - it is fairly obvious to the reader just what the link between Caroline, Maria and the quilt is, but it is still an extremely enjoyable read. Because of this, it is quite a hard book to review without giving away the storyline and the "hook" of the story. I think it much better just to read the story blind and let it all unfold before you.

The books moves at a very good pace, and I particularly enjoyed the way the author "stitched" all the pieces of the fabric of the story into her quilt. A highly recommended read. Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC of this book.
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By Welsh Annie TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Jan. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book had everything that I love in a book. I was totally entranced by the story of Maria Romano - her friendship with Nora, her time at the orphanage, her life at Buckingham Palace, the heartbreaking experience that led to her being in the asylum at Helena Hall, and her making of the quilt. I loved the way her story was told through the audio-taped interviews, a device that really worked - she was a real character, and her story really came to life by being told in her own words. The quilt was almost a character in its own right, with all the stories, memories and secrets it held. And in the modern story, I agonised along with Caroline as she attempted to recover it after its loss. And this was one of the real strengths of the book for me - I found the modern story just as interesting as the historical one that was unfolding, with Caroline trying to make her mark as a furniture designer while struggling with her mother's dementia and her developing new relationship. The threads of the two stories came together effortlessly and quite perfectly at the end, and I put the book down at the end with a satisfied sigh, having thoroughly enjoyed every single page.

I'm gushing a bit, aren't I? But I really loved this book, and would recommend it to just about anyone who likes the same books that I do. The author's first book, The Last Telegram, has been sitting unread on my Kindle for ages - it won't be unread for much longer. Liz Trenow is an author I'll most definitely be adding to my favourites list.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Quite an unusual story but extremely interesting. Bringing past and present together at the end and making it a most remarkable tale. Maria Romano and her friend Nora are taken on as seamstresses at Buckingham Palace. However Maria gets pregnant and is hurriedly packed off to the local institution out of the way in order to have her baby. After the baby's birth it is immediately taken away from her and she is told he has died.

So Maria is now very much institutionalized and there is no way for her to leave. Nobody believes her story and it would appear she will end her days in the institution. Whilst there she makes a quilt using some of the May silks which she managed to bring with her.

The quilt eventually ends up with Caroline Meadows in the present day. Although working for a city bank Caroline is made redundant and decides to start up her own interior design company. She is fascinated by the quilt and needs to find out who made it and how it came into her family's possession.

Am not saying anymore as don't want to spoil the story but would highly recommend the book for a different story (how often is a novel based on a quilt?) and one without 'a happy ever after' ending. Oh the book doesn't end on a sad note just that there are lose ends which leave the reader wanting to know if Caroline's business succeeds, etc.etc.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Last year I reviewed The Last Telegram by this author. Loved every word. Difficult thing to write a follow up to a successful debut novel but Liz seems to have had no trouble in doing so, though I suspect it has not been as easy as it looks. The Last Telegram featured the silk trade and, as Liz's family have been involved in this for years, she had a great background in which to set a novel. This one tells the story of Maria Romano, a seamstress, taken along with her friend Nora from an orphanage, to work at Buckingham Palace. And it is here that she is called to the room of the Prince of Wales (the future Edward VIII) to make some alterations to his costume for his investiture.

"on the far side was a person preening imself in front of a long mirror dressed in whht I took to be a pantomime outfit.....he had white satin knee breeches with great rosettes at each knee, with a doublet which barely came down to his thighs and a coat and a cape in purple velvet with furry trimmings.

The story of the Last Seamstress is told in three strands. We have the first person narrative of Maria, then interviews she gave to a social worker who is doing a research study on the inmates of the home where she lives and, finally, from the point of view of Patsy who has just split up with her boyfriend and has been made redundant.

Central to the book is a patchwork quilt belonging to Patsy's grandmother. Maria made the quilt over the many years she was incarcarated in the asylum and she stitched her love story into its pattern. What triggers off Patsy's research is a small piece of silk used in its creation, one of the May Silks, specially woven for the wedding dress of Princess May (later Queen Mary).
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