Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow

A shy girl with no family, Maria knows she's lucky to have landed in the sewing room of the royal household. Before World War I casts its shadow, she catches the eye of the Prince of Wales, a glamorous and intense gentleman. But her life takes a far darker turn, and soon all she has left is a fantastical story about her time at Buckingham Palace.
Decades later, Caroline Meadows discovers a beautiful quilt in her mother's attic. When she can't figure out the meaning of the message embroidered into its lining, she embarks on a quest to reveal its mystery, a puzzle that only seems to grow more important to her own heart. As Caroline pieces together the secret history of the quilt, she comes closer and closer to the truth about Maria.

I read this book in a day because I was fascinated with Maria's story. An orphan who becomes an accomplished seamstress whose life is altered horribly when she catches the Prince's eye.

The story is told through two views: Maria recounting her story to a psych student on tape and then Caroline's story, who discovers the quilt Maria had made and goes on a journey to discover Maria's truth. And her own.

I'll say I didn't like the ending because it was too neatly tied up and false but I loved the book. Maria's story of her imprisonment  in a mental institution and the world's refusal to listen to her truths and dismiss them as fantasy... it was a great story. And knowing that there was historical truth in it, that women were hidden away when they were inconvenient.

The writing was good. The story with Caroline was more obvious and by the numbers. Not a romance at all and not a happy book, it was a good read and Maria's story was compelling.

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