Monday, May 19, 2014

The Novel Bakers Present "The Forgotten Seamstress"

I'm joining The Novel Bakers today for an edible review of a remarkable new novel,
The Forgotten Seamstress
Liz Trenow.

Two memorable eras . . .
Two extraordinary women . . .
Two unraveled lives bound by a beautiful and mysterious quilt 
with secrets stitched into every seam.

When I described this book to my 86-year old mother, she said, "I've got to read it!"
Like me, Nanny loves a good love-gone-wrong story, especially if it has a mystery at its core.
Here's a description from the publisher:
"A gripping tale spanning three generations, The Forgotten Seamstress by Liz Trenow unravels the intertwined stories of Caroline, a young, modern-day London designer who is struggling to make ends meet, and 74-year old Maria, a remarkable seamstress who had once been employed by the royal household in the early 1900s but ended up in an asylum. 

"While Caroline pokes through her grandmother's attic, she finds a quilt that has a mysterious verse stitched into the lining. As she traces its history, she discovers a  story of forbidden love, a royal scandal, and long-held secrets."

I can't remember when I've enjoyed a book this much.
In fact, it's one of the best novels I've read this year.
If you're a fan of Downton Abbey, you'll fall under the spell of this book, too. It has a twisty romance, an intriguing puzzle, and memorable characters.

The Forgotten Seamstress weaves truth with fiction: several characters were real-life royals (Edward VIII is a prominent figure--you may recall that he abdicated the throne for thrice-divorced Wallis Simpson).
The novel is meticulously researched (Trenow's family were silk weavers for 300 years), and the details are spot on: the author collaborated with Lynne Edwards, an internationally acclaimed quilter. As a gift to readers, Ms. Edwards created guidelines for anyone who wishes to make "Maria's quilt." The instructions are available for free download (see below for the link).

Tangled threads-- and the "ties that bind"-- are metaphors that wind through the narrative.

Tidbits about quilting and textiles are sprinkled through the pages.
If you'd like to peek at the book, four chapters are available (free) on Kindle and Nook Book
(see below).

Find a comfortable chair and surround yourself with refreshments, because once you start reading, you won't want to leave the story.

The book pairs beautifully with hot tea and lemon-pansy cake.

For more edible reviews of The Forgotten Seamstress, visit The Novel Bakers: 

You're invited to visit the NB's "The Forgotten Seamstress" board on Pinterest.


If you'd like to make "Maria's quilt," free, downloadable instructions are available HERE. 
You can also view photographs of the quilt.

The Forgotten Seamstress is available anywhere books are sold, including:

The first four chapters are free on Kindle  and Nook Book.


Thanks to Sourcebooks for providing a galley.
A Metamorphosis Monday   contribution.

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  1. Thanks SEW much for bringing this book our way! I'm always up for a good mystery and the quilting details and story were the icing on your beautiful lemon-pansy cake! I know your men were happy with a delicious food pairing for our reading fun.Your flowers and garden glimpses have me filled with trepidation with garden week on the horizon :) Hope your weather is beautiful and perfect for gardening!

    1. Yes, I am enjoying the sun after last week's rain. Hope it's lovely in NC. xxoo

  2. So happy to have the Novel Bakers back and what a wonderful book to review. You've put together a wonderful post for colorful and bright. Looking forward to reading this book!

  3. Thank you Michael Lee, for your high recommendation of the novel. Your photos of the patchwork quilt, the flowers, the beautifully garnished lemon cake and the tea are just gorgeous. Now I'm off to download the free chapters on my kindle to get started......xo

    1. Kitty, I think you will love the book. Thanks for visiting me today!

  4. You've captured my interest and I definitely will have to read this book. It sounds like just the kind of book I love and I am a quilter. Beautiful photos on this post too!

  5. be still my heart... i try not to get on the computer until my morning chores are done, i look on my cell phone to check the news and make sure all is well in the world, but when your first pic popped up on my reader, i quickly shut of my phone and thought to heck with the dogs walk i am falling into the black hole of the laptop so i can see your pics BIG AND BEAUTIFUL!

    your colors are GORGEOUS! each photo is stunning in coloration, love love love it! and of course leave it to an author to wax on about another author, me, i go mum for the readers experience, but without your prose how would others truly know if this is the book for them, and your words make me want to read it again! i am SO happy you picked this book for us, i relish that day i sat outside and enjoyed, it was out of my norm, something i would have missed and i really did enjoy it.

    did you buy those dozen mandevilles for the book ;-)

    love your quilt...

    love your cake...

    love your styling...

    loved the book, dang that was just a good ole fashion love fest!

    thank you so much for inviting us to play with this book!

    1. No, the mandevillas were bought for my horrid front "beds." My DH calls it Candyland. :-0 But I have a worse "bed." I had high hopes for it, but it is a dead ringer for a grave-yard. This is only my 2nd year to garden, so I'm just taking notes--"to do" and "don't do."

  6. It's so interesting to read another blogger's take on this book, after reading about it on another site. Your cake looks wonderfully moist and delicious!

  7. Thank you so much for brilliant blog based on my book The Forgotten Seamstress. I loved it.
    Liz Trenow

    1. So happy you were pleased. The Novel Bakers loved your book.

  8. Thank you so much for a brilliant blog based on my novel, The Forgotten Seamstress. I loved it!
    Liz Trenow

  9. Michael Lee, I'm off to B&N today to pick up a copy. I have to read this one! Love your quilt and that beautiful cake with the delicate pansy garnish. Always happy to see the Novel Bakers share. Bravo!

  10. I have it downloaded on my Kindle as a read this, now all I need is the lemon pansy cake~thanks for bringing us another wonderful Novel Bakers experience, a lovely way to kick off the summer~

  11. Thanks for the recommendation on the book Michael Lee. I'll be downloading on my Kindle for the weekend. Perhaps I can whip up a pansy cake too :-) Your quilt is beautiful, and I really need to get mine out of storage.

  12. Oh, the book definitely sounds intriguing! The cover is gorgeous and the way you display it for photos, Michael Lee, makes it all the more amazing! Wishing you a beautiful week!

  13. Beautiful photos, Michael Lee, and your styling is wonderful too. I do love lemon cake, but I have never yet been able to bite into a little pansy. Something about those little faces...but I am determined. I'm happy to see the Novel Bakers back again! Linda

  14. I'm addicted to Downtown Abbey so I know I would love this book. Your photos, as always, are fabulous and so is your cake.