"An intriguing patchwork of past and present, upstairs and downstairs, hope and despair."—Daisy Goodwin, New York Times bestselling author of The American Heiress
A moving story of two women tied together by an heirloom despite the decades that separate their times in England, The Forgotten Seamstress quilts layers of history into one astonishing mystery.
In the early 20th century, Maria knows that, as a shy girl with no family, 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 glamorous and intense Prince of Wales. 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.
Page-turning and heartbreaking, The Forgotten Seamstress stitches together past and present in an unforgettable quilt of English historical fiction perfect for fans of Jennifer Chiaverini and Pam Jenoff.
An heirloom patchwork quilt hiding a scandalous royal secret is the link between the generations separating an orphaned seamstress and a modern-day single woman, in Trenow's (The Last Telegram) solid second novel. Maria Romano, an inmate at the Helena Hall mental hospital, comes to life through a series of taped conversations from 1970, when she was interviewed by a young research student. Fast forward to 2008, when Caroline Meadows, made redundant at her bank job and recently broken up from her boyfriend of five years, discovers she's pregnant and suddenly becomes curious about the quilt she inherited from her grandmother. The novel pairs the stories of the young women a century apart: Maria, an orphan whose artistic needlework gets her placed in a royal household where she has a dalliance with the Prince of Wales; Caroline, whose own artistic talents and ambitions jump-start her career as an interior designer. Unfortunately, Maria's saga is much more interesting than that of her modern counterpart, who, as the reader discovers through a convoluted plot thread, has more of a connection to Maria than just her grandmother's quilt. But nevertheless, this is a page-turner with eye-opening details about the conditions of mental hospitals in the 20th century, as well as the provenance of royal fabrics, the art of quilting, and the vagaries of modern interior design.
The Forgotten Seamstress
Mesmerizing, could not put it down.