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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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, Twitter, 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.
The Seamstress by Allison Pittman is a phenomenal story. From page one to the end, I was completely captivated. The characters are well-crafted and endearing. And the setting is amazing. I felt like I was in revolutionary France during the 1790s. The Seamstress is an overall stunning read.
Laurette’s storyline is absolutely beautiful, and left me loving Jesus all the more. In her tale, Laurette eventually acknowledges how ugly her sin is, asks for forgiveness, and recognizes just how blessed she is by God. But, as is typical with humans, Laurette’s guilt over her past sticks with her a little. You see, she’s a bit like Gomer from the book of Hosea … Laurette really does struggle with believing she deserves the blessings God gives her. She looks at it all in wonder and asks God, “Why am I so richly blessed?” I love the realism in Laurette’s character. I’ve been there — feeling like I am the worst sinner on earth, and unable to understand how God could love me so much and bless me beyond what I deserve. Laurette’s tale is a great reminder that the God we serve is bigger than any mistake we may make. His love can cover a multitude of filth. We just have to be willing to go to Him and ask for His help.
Renee is a beautifully magnificent character. I knew going into this book that her story does not end well, but I didn’t care. I wanted to see how Pittman would develop this cameo character. Renee is a character full of depth, innocence, and beauty. She endeared herself to my heart right from the start. The best part of Renee’s character is her steadfastness to the Lord no matter the cost to herself. She is brave and courageous in her faith in a way that really made me take a long look at myself. How strong am I in my faith in God? Do I trust Him with my very life? Am I willing to stand for God no matter what the world is demanding from me? I’m not sure anyone can adequately answer these questions until they are tested, but I appreciate the mirror Renee’s character held up so I could contemplate the strength of my faith in God.
The beginnings of the French Revolution are happening here in America. There is so much unsubstantiated hate and baseless anger flying free today it’s sickening. The worst part is that everything is emotions-based. Fact and Truth seem to be things of the past. Mainstream American society has kicked God out and made itself its own god. The pure evil and violence illustrated in The Seamstress is terrifying, but what’s more terrifying is that I can see the unrest and grumblings happening right now in my own home state. People are screaming and yelling. They are knee-jerk reacting. And it’s 100% based on feelings. Try telling someone an actual fact and that person treats you like you’re the most intolerant, evil human who ever walked the face of the earth. It’s scary. There is one part in this novel that I really LOVED. One of the characters, Marcel, is very anti-establishment. He is part of the jeering, pamphlet-reading, screaming crowd who calls for the death of the monarchy. He underestimates the mob he’s helping to create, and when he sees what the French Revolutionists are truly capable of he realizes the errors of his emotional ways. I tell my husband often that one day all of these emotional, violent, hate-filled people we see today in America are going to get exactly what they are screaming for. But it won’t truly be what they want. Once they realize this it will be too late and too many innocent people will have been slain on their altars of blind hatred and unadulterated anger. I wish those yelling the hardest in our country would wake up because they are being played.
The Seamstress by Allison Pittman is a stellar novel — a true 2019 must-read! This book is a masterpiece in the same way A Tale of Two Cities is. The Seamstress has sown its way into my heart, and will not easily be forgotten. I highly, times infinity, recommend this amazing piece of exquisite literature.
I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author via Celebrate Lit through NetGalley. I also received a paperback copy of this novel via the publisher, Tyndale. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
To celebrate her tour, Allison is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card, a hardcover copy of The Seamstress, and a 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.
I am giving away ONE (1) paperback copy (an Advanced Reader Copy) of The Seamstress by Allison Pittman. The giveaway begins today, 2-13-19 at 5:00 am (PST) and ends on Friday, 2-22-19 at 12:00 pm (PST). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!
***Please Note: Open to Continental U.S. mailing addresses only.*** One winner will be notified via email at the end of the giveaway, and will be announced here on this page. For full giveaway disclosures and policies, click HERE.
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