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The Forgotten Seamstress

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2014

    A talented dreamweaving

    Caroline and Maria, woven together by the story of a quilt that has a fascinating provenence, if the story is even partially true....

    Maria, an orphan in London at the turn of the 20th century. Caroline, a laid off financial analyst at the turn of the 21st century. Not only is she laid off, but she and her partner have split up and he has moved out.

    Caroline's mother's dementia has almost burned the house down. She now needs more care and they move her to a nice facility. And that necessitates boxing up their lives to ready the house for sale.

    They find an heirloom quilt that came from her grandmother, and stich by stich the stories begin to intertwine and understanding is found with the fabric, the stories and the lives spaning the better part of the laast century.

    To me, this was a fascinating read, especially in the use of the quilt's workmanship. This is the metaphor I used thirty years ago in my ordination paper. With each carefully made stitch, the whole truely becomes the sum of its parts. The story of the forgotten seamstress is wholly fictional according to Ms. Trenow. However, she writes it as if we know the characters, and in the end, which is a bit predictable, if not "soap opera-y", we might have a hard time detaching from them

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  • Posted May 24, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The Forgotten Seamstress is a bittersweet story about a time whe

    The Forgotten Seamstress is a bittersweet story about a time when women had very little control over their lives and if born in a lower social class, the little control they had was easily taken away. Historical fiction is a great way to learn about history and Liz Trenow does an outstanding job of bringing two aspects of history into the forefront through the character of Maria Romano.

    Caroline Meadows is going through a personal crisis when she begins helping her mother clean out her childhood home. She finds a quilt that had been left to her by her grandmother and as she looks for answers to her questions about the quilt’s heritage, she realizes how little she knows about her family. Sadly, her mother has Alzheimer’s Disease and her moments of lucidity are becoming fewer and farther between. With the help of a local reporter, Caroline is able to turn over some interesting information about a former mental hospital and begins searching for information about a past patient, Maria Romano. Through research and a little luck, she is able to find a set of tapes on which Maria had recorded her story, thus shedding light on Caroline’s own family history and revealing the sad world of women who found themselves in trouble and powerless at the turn of the twentieth century.

    Liz Trenow does a wonderful job of revealing the sad story of mental hospitals and the abuse of power that resulted in many healthy, normal women being institutionalized for being a potential embarrassment to high society people with money and connections. The history of mental institutions is one of which is not common subject matter for novels, and Trenow educates us while entertaining. She also examines the story behind a unique form of quilting, an art form that provides a historical record. Her style of writing moves between two time periods allowing the reader to experience the story of Maria and her quilt while celebrating with Caroline as she searches for her own path to fulfillment . It is also a sad reminder of how little we can know of the stories of our grandparents and parents once they are gone physically or mentally. The Forgotten Seamstress is a beautiful story and a strong second novel by an author who has a gift of using history and art to tell stories about people.

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  • Posted May 13, 2014

    The Forgotten Seamstress is a unique, intriguing, amazing and fa

    The Forgotten Seamstress is a unique, intriguing, amazing and fantastic read. I love how the characters and their story just came to life. Liz Trenow really knows how to grab your attention throughout the novel. I'm definitely going to be looking for more by her. Great book! 5+ stars.

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