The Hatmaker's Heart: A Novel

The Hatmaker's Heart: A Novel

by Carla Stewart
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The Hatmaker's Heart: A Novel 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
For fans of Downton Abbey and Mr. Selfridge, you will absolutely adore the latest novel from best selling author, Carla Stewart, The Hatmaker's Heart! With extraordinary talent and coming from a wealthy family background in London, milliner Nell Marchwold is making a name for herself with her unique and sought after hats under the Oscar Field's brand. Hoping that one day she might have her very own label, she knows that patience will be required working as an assistant designer for Mr. Fielding. He seems pleased that her hats are flying off the shelves and buyers are increasing their demand for them in private consultations but realizes that Nell is a virtual goldmine to his millinery and without her, he would be penniless. He will do whatever it takes to ensure her permanent employment even if it means less than scrupulous management techniques to keep her there. When a fashion designer spots Nell's uncanny talent, he offers her a chance of a lifetime to showcase her hats alongside his dress designs at a fashion show. Even though he wants to spotlight Nell's designs, Mr. Fields wants to ensure that these hats can be purchased at Oscar Field's Millinery and no where else. He seems a bit fearful to let Nell to gain any popularity for her hats but when a royal wedding in London requests hats to be designed by Nell, she will have to leave the comforts of New York City and head to London. Nell will have to face her long lost childhood friend, Quentin and hopes that she can find a place in his heart as more than a friend. Mr. Field's has other plans in store for the time Nell will be spending in London and that will have very little time for visiting with Quentin or even her ailing grandmother. Will Nell make the right decision or will she have to place her dreams on hold for love? I received The Hatmaker's Heart by Carla Stewart compliments of Faith Words, a division of Hachette Book Groups and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. Being a fan of historical fashion, I loved Carla's attention to detail in capturing the very essence of New York City during the 1920's at the height of the jazz movement when styles were constantly changing. Nell's character undergoes quite the transformation from being a women with a beautiful talent that she can't appreciate because of a stammer she developed as a child. While she struggles to overcome adversity and find self acceptance both in the working world and as woman in the 20's, she has a longing for love and strong commitment to her family that will be tested in profound ways. This is a must read for those that love fashion, historical and romantic fiction! I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars and can't wait for her next novel A Flying Affair to debut!
Woodsever More than 1 year ago
I think this would have been quite a charming book if the author hadn't repeated the main character's thought process over and over again......we get it! Also, the intricate description of each hat....there were many....was unnecessary and took up room on the pages period! The storyline was pretty good, but it was to the point of ad nauseum to describe the angst of lost love. It could have been a very good book without all the adjectives and surplus feelings of a supposed stoic young woman.
millstreetreader More than 1 year ago
The Hatmaker's Heart by Carla Stewart takes readers to New York City and London in the 1920's era, a time when the world of high couture meant not only wearing fashionable dresses, it also meant topping the outfit with just the right hat, itself a creation worthy of a designer label, much the way the today's fashionistas select elite shoes and bags.  Prunella (Nell) Marchwold has been given the opportunity to apprentice at the New York Oscar Fields Millinery.  When her unique creations, each styled to flatter a woman's best features, begin to be noticed by the fashion industry, Nell begins to believe that someday she may have her own designer label.  Her boss, Oscar Field, has other ideas, and Nell finds herself the subject of first his impatience and criticism, especially regarding her frequent stuttering, but later she becomes the center of his oppressing attention.  The tension between the two escalates when Oscar Fields Millinery is summoned to London to create one of a kind hats for the social event of the year, a royal wedding.  Readers will enjoy their look into the millinery world and the twenties in general, as Nell works, travels, and even visits a speakeasy.  The story behind her stuttering and her attempts to overcome it add another layer to the story, as does her childhood friendship with Quentin, now a London banker.  The part of the book which takes place in 1922 London, with its flutter of excitement over the royal wedding, has the flavor of Downton Abbey, post WWI era, while the New York segments signal the changes women will demand over the next few years. All these social change and cultural references are so smoothly integrated into the overall story that it is only when one stops to discuss the book does a reader realize just how much there is to process. If you check other books written by Carla Stewart, you'll see she is the type of author who makes each book its own unique creation with characters, plot, and details carefully chosen to best capture that particular story, much the same way Nell selected her fabric and beads to capture each woman's own beauty.  I suggest you read them all.  I received a copy of The Hatmaker's Heart from Litfuse and the publisher for my honest review.
MaureenST More than 1 year ago
The Hat Maker was such an enjoyable read, and brought me back to 1920’s in New York City. How different life was, the world was coming out of a devastating war, and hadn’t hit the world depression yet. Prunella, Nell Marchwold is an immigrant from Brittan, with quite a lineage, who is trying to make her way as a hat maker. She is actually more than a hat maker, she is behind the design, and she is a genius at it. She has been taken under the wing of Oscar Field, and his label, feeling she has hit the jackpot with this opportunity. While reading this I had funny feelings about Oscar, he didn’t seem kosher, could be wrong and maybe my first impression was off. There is another struggling designer, that you will love, Calvin, enjoy the banter between he and Nell. Then there is Nell’s childhood friend Quinten, he has always been there for her and defended her. So now there are three possibilities for romance, an employer, a co-worker, and an old friend who lives in England. Once you open the covers you are transported back to a time when woman are not fully dressed unless they have their hats on. In some ways with the new Royal family in England, hats are making a come back, but here everyone wore one. There are a few unprofessional things that happen, and Nell gets herself in some rather serious situations. Will Nell fulfill her dreams? I also wondered if she would end up moving back to England? Or will she stay with Oliver, and end up as his wife and main designer. Or does God have something else in mind for her? Come and enjoy this different story of a vanishing profession, and enjoy some of the really warm and loving people who are put in her path. I did! I received this book through Litfuse Publicity Book Tours, and was not required to give a positive review.
Laura_Pol More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this novel! The rich detail and the 1920s setting brought this story to life in such a exciting way! Nell was such a fun character and her job was so amazing! I really enjoyed reading about her work at bringing hats to life for each woman who wears it! I never realized just how important it was to have a perfect hat at different functions or how how stressful it could be in making that perfect hat! The story itself was fascinating and at times slightly heart-breaking! It was interesting to read about the different clubs/speakeasies and Nell's time in London (which I thought was unique)! All the characters in the different places helped bring the setting even more to life! Overall I throughly enjoyed this fun, but sometimes stressful situations in Carlas's latest! It was a fun adventure to join Nell on as she grew and changed throughout the story! After finishing this novel it makes me want to go get a hat! I give The Hatmaker's Heart a 5 out of 5 stars! *(I received a complimentary copy of this novel from Litfuse Publicity in exchange for an honest review! All thoughts expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review!)*
VicG More than 1 year ago
Carla Stewart, in her new book, “The Hatmaker’s Heart” published by Abingdon Press takes us into the life of  Nell Marchwold. From the back cover:  For Nell Marchwold, bliss is seeing the transformation when someone gets a glimpse in the mirror while wearing one of her creations and feels beautiful. Nell has always strived to create hats that bring out a woman’s best qualities. She knows she’s fortunate to have landed a job as an apprentice designer at the prominent Oscar Fields Millinery in New York City. Yet when Nell’s fresh designs begin to catch on, her boss holds her back from the limelight, claiming the stutter she’s had since childhood reflects poorly on her and his salon. But it seems Nell’s gift won’t be hidden by Oscar’s efforts. Soon an up-and-coming fashion designer is seeking her out as a partner of his 1922 collection. The publicity leads to an opportunity for Nell to make hats in London for a royal wedding. There, she sees her childhood friend, Quentin, and an unexpected spark kindles between them. But thanks to her success, Oscar is determined to keep her. As her heart tugs in two directions, Nell must decide what she is willing to sacrifice for her dream, and what her dream truly is. Who would have thought the life of a Milliner, someone who makes hats or just sells to women, would have been so interesting?  Obviously Carla Stewart.  Welcome to The Jazz Age.  It is 1922 and everyone wears hats and it seems that Nell’s hats are in high demand.  Now the issue comes down to whether or not Nell will be able to fulfill her dream or just be a part of Oscar’s store.  I enjoyed the exploration of a woman’s role by Ms. Stewart.  It was great to walk the streets of New York as it was back then and see how women were treated and how they wanted to be treated.  Nell is such a great character and it is terrific the way she interacts with all the other characters that are in this book.  And of course there is the romance.  This is a delightful book that you will not want to end. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
amybooksy More than 1 year ago
I loved The Hatmaker's Heart. I really felt like I was transported back in time to the 1920s era New York City. I thought the character of Nell was great. This is the first book from Carla Stewart I have read and it will not be the last. Great read! 5 stars.
Its_Time_Mamaw More than 1 year ago
Nell Marchwold was interested to learn the art of hatmaking.  She watched and learned as one of her grandmother's employees created hats for friends and family.   When Nell's father unexpectedly passed away she watched her mother struggle to make a living to support their family.  Nell decided she was going to become a famous hatmaker.  She was very talented and many overlooked her stuttering speech and took notice of her talent, especially Oscar Fields, of Oscar Fields Millinery in New York City.   He offered her an apprenticeship in his prominent place of business where the wealthy frequented for quality handmade hats for men and women.   She has big dreams of becoming a famous designer with her own label.  But her boss is a little old fashion and was slow to approve her new designs.  He feared customers would be offended by her speech impediment. The changing times of the roaring twenties had changed his mind as customers became intrigued by Nell's modern designs. When Nell takes a trip for her job close to her hometown it gave her opportunities she never dreamed possible.  She started to question herself and her love for the young man she has loved since childhood. This reunion left her contemplating whether she should seek love and family life or rather stick with her dream to become a famous hat designer? I found this to be a most intriguing story.  The author reveals the struggle of one woman looking for women's rights not only in the workplace but to vote and having a say in future. No matter if a woman is married raising a family and/or seeking a career this era was a time for many changes.   Women no longer wanted to sit quietly in the background.   I read this book in one night.  It was a real page turner.  It made me think of stories my grandmother shared with me.  My grandmother was also a widow with a small daughter and had no one to help like in this book.   She moved to Houston and made a good life for her and my mother. The life she had before she was a widow was not a good life as women did not have many rights.   Wet must remember the sacrifices and movements women made to give us the life and rights we now take for granted. I highly recommend this book. I rated this book 5 out of 5. Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group for an honest review.
Wanda_Barefoot More than 1 year ago
1922, New York City 1923, London "...Not all women have perfect features, but they all have inner beauty, and it's pure bliss to see the transformation when someone with, say, plain features gets a glimpse in the mirror in one of my hats and feels beautiful. For some, I suspect it may be the first time. It's not about my happiness, but other women discovering their own beauty and carrying themselves with poise." ~Nell Marchwold The Hatmaker's Heart is about Nell Marchwold who managed to secure a job as an apprentice hatmaker for Oscar Fields Millinery in New York City after some hats she made for patrons at the Kentucky Derby were discovered by Oscar Fields himself. Nell is British and left London after her father died. Once her hats are discovered by the famous clothes designer Soren Michaels her career takes off, eventually leading her back to London where she left her best friend, Quentin Bledsoe, behind four years earlier. Seeing Quentin makes her realize her feelings for him were stronger than she once believed but Oscar has a reign on Nell and is forcing her to stay with his company and do things his way, even resorting to threats to keep her from leaving. Finally, Nell has to make a decision about what's most important in her life. The one thing that I could really relate to in this book was the fact that Nell stammered when she spoke. I have several people in my family with this same problem so I understood the way Nell felt during her most difficult battles with it. I loved the idea that, even though Nell had trouble communicating easily with her speech, she communicated through her designs. Her reason for being a hat designer was so touching. Once a lady tried on her special creation she realized her inner beauty and the outer beauty that usually remained hidden became evident. It was a boost to their self-esteem and I relate it to what the Bible says when it calls us God's masterpiece. Regardless of how plain we think we are, God sees only beauty. "We all have a bit of good and evil in us. Let your words and your deeds show the world what dwells in your heart." ~Nell's Grandmama It includes a little mystery in regards to Nell's speech once she starts seeing a doctor at the Addison Avenue Speech Center because he relates her stammer to a tragic event from her past. I always enjoy a little mystery and thought it complimented the story well. The entire scene is set in the "Roaring 20's" and the story holds true to this time frame. When I think of the "Roaring 20's" I think of the Lindy Hop, the Charleston, beautifully decorated hats and dresses that bounced when they danced and gangsters. This book had all of these things and more. I got a real feel for that time period while reading it but, when I think of the Lindy Hop and those bouncy dresses, I think of something that is fast-paced and full of pizzazz. This book was very enjoyable and entertaining but it seemed a little slow to me for a book set during that time period. That is really the only negative thing I found. I will say that the characters were so life-like they brought out a variety of emotions in me. But none more so than Oscar Fields. I wanted to throttle him but that's only because I took his high-handedness personally. I loved Quentin's boyish charm and his character really helped deflect that icicles coming off of Oscar. So, in my opinion, the characters were very engaging and well balanced and I really loved the "Roaring 20's" theme. The use of such quips as "Isn't this just the gnat's whistle?", "It's the berries." and "It's copacetic." really makes the story more authentic. I feel that anyone that enjoys historical romances will get a kick out of this book, it's setting and it's well developed plot. I certainly recommend it! Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review and no monetary compensation was received.