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Review: The Seamstress

August 13, 2009

The Seamstress

Emilia and Luzia are two young sisters being raised by their Aunt Sofia, in the backcountry of Brazil, since both of their parents have passed away.  Their aunt has taught them to sew and they both sew beautifully.

Emilia is the older sister and she has romantic longings.  She dreams of falling in love and enjoying society in the big city with her husband.

The younger sister, Luzia, dreams of escape too.  As a young girl, Luzia falls from a mango tree and when her arm doesn’t heal right, she is dubbed “Victrola” by everyone in town, even the priest.  She longs to get away from the constant teasing.

Their lives change forever when bandits invade their town and take Luzia with them upon their escape.  Aunt Sofia dies shortly thereafter and Emilia submits to a loveless marriage since it wouldn’t look right for her to live on her own.

The sisters live very different lives – one as a bandit and one as a member of a wealthy, well-respected family in the city – yet their lives and their love for each other remain forever entwined.

The Seamstress by Frances de Pontes Peebles started a little slow for me, but I think that was more a reflection of some things that were going on in my life, rather than of the book itself, because once I got into the book, I didn’t want to put it down.  The story is told from the point of view of Luzia and Emilia in alternating chapters, and the author did a wonderful job of showing how the same event affected each sister.  The sisters are very different and yet so similar and I could relate to them both.  The character development and storyline in this book are fantastic!  This book is set in the late 1920’s to mid 1930’s and it is historical fiction at its best!  It is obviously very well researched and I found the historical details to be fascinating.  The Seamstress is the author’s first novel and I sincerely hope she is busy working on another one.  You can hear an interview of Frances de Pontes Peebles on Blog Talk Radio.

Review copy provided by Book Club Girl.

40 Comments leave one →
  1. August 13, 2009 6:54 am

    Great review! I think we felt exactly the same about this book. It was actually one of my favorites so far this year!

  2. August 13, 2009 7:26 am

    I’ll have to get this one – sounds great. Love the cover too.

    • August 13, 2009 7:38 am

      I just finished a book myself that started slow and I was so glad I kept going. This sounds great! Thanks for such an intriguing review!

  3. August 13, 2009 7:37 am

    Wonderful review, I would love to read “The Seamstress.”

  4. August 13, 2009 7:43 am

    This looks great! (and reminds that I really want to learn how to sew…) I also would like to read about Brazil, so off I go to add this to the tbr! Thank you.

  5. August 13, 2009 8:06 am

    This sounds like a good book. I like when an author alternates the chapters with different characters taking the lead. I think it would be interesting to read each of their take on the same event.

    I will be adding this to the TBR. Thanks Kathy!

  6. August 13, 2009 8:10 am

    I really enjoyed this one, too! Thanks for the lead on the interview. I’m going to listen to that after work.

  7. August 13, 2009 8:12 am

    I like it when authors tell us the story from two different perspectives. This one sounds very good. I’m off to listen to the interview.

  8. August 13, 2009 8:32 am

    This is one of the best books I have read in the last year. I loved it! I certainly hope Ms. de Pontes Peebles is hard at work on another saga like this one.

  9. August 13, 2009 9:56 am

    I just love books with alternating POV chapters. I think I’ll have to check this one out.

  10. August 13, 2009 10:56 am

    I’d like to read this book one of these days plus I love the cover. Hope you’re doing ok Kathy-I’ve noticed you mention that stuff is going on in a few posts, hope it’s nothing serious.

  11. August 13, 2009 11:07 am

    This sounds like one that I would definitely enjoy Kathy…thanks for the review!

    p.s. I also wanted to let you know that another definition of sultana is a concubine of a sultan! lol

  12. August 13, 2009 11:17 am

    I have this book. I wanted to read it this summer but that’s not going to happen! Great review, Kathy!

  13. August 13, 2009 11:47 am

    This book is on my wishlist as I love historical fiction and reading books based in the early 1900’s. I am glad that you found it a fantastic story.

  14. August 13, 2009 12:13 pm

    It sounds really good. I hesitate to add big books to my wishlist, but I might have to make an exception. 🙂

  15. August 13, 2009 2:13 pm

    A good review. I read this book back in January after Kaye from Pudgy Penguins recommended it to me, and I loved it.

  16. August 13, 2009 2:37 pm

    sounds awesome. i so want to read this! 🙂

  17. August 13, 2009 2:47 pm

    This sounds like a good one.

  18. August 13, 2009 4:07 pm

    I think I’d enjoy this one a lot! Great review!

  19. August 13, 2009 4:20 pm

    I have this book Kathy. I want to read it, but I’ve been put off by its many many pages LOL

    Great review.

  20. August 13, 2009 6:59 pm

    I have this – now I just need to read it! It sounds fabulous.

  21. August 13, 2009 8:08 pm

    Great review! I’m glad you enjoyed this one, you made me want to read it!

  22. August 13, 2009 8:25 pm

    This one just sounds terrific.

  23. August 13, 2009 9:26 pm

    I just adore the book cover. Thanks for the review.

  24. August 13, 2009 9:37 pm

    Oooh, that sounds marvelous. Great review! Must find a copy.

  25. August 13, 2009 11:45 pm

    Wow, so much high praise. I didn’t even have this book on my radar. Looks like that was a mistake. It fits into my favorite reading genre, I guess I just went brain numb. Thanks for rectifying my error in judgment 😀

  26. August 14, 2009 2:15 am

    I definitely want to read this one! Great review.

  27. August 14, 2009 4:39 am

    I could never guess what the book is about from the cover. I have 2 sisters so anything about sisters interests me. Thanks for the review.

  28. August 14, 2009 9:09 am

    “This book is set in the late 1920’s to mid 1930’s and it is historical fiction at its best!”

    Yay! I like the sound of that! I can’t wait to read it.

  29. Carol permalink
    August 14, 2009 1:40 pm

    Sounds like a good one. Two such different lives. I’m interested in how they still stay entwined. Thanks for the review.

  30. stacybuckeye permalink
    August 14, 2009 2:34 pm

    I really like the sound of this and the cover feels very homey.

  31. August 14, 2009 3:45 pm

    I loved this too, great review! I think you’re right that the beginning is at least slower than the rest.

  32. August 14, 2009 11:52 pm

    I keep forgetting this one is set in Brazil…and since I’m a sucker for foreign settings I’m sure I’ll end up reading this one.

  33. August 15, 2009 8:02 am

    This one sounds really good, and I just love the cover!

  34. August 15, 2009 9:04 am

    This one sounds good.

  35. August 15, 2009 11:55 am

    Wow! You’ve really made me want to read this one.

  36. August 15, 2009 12:24 pm

    I started reading this one, but had to take it back to the library before I could finish – I really want to get it back!

  37. Maria G permalink
    August 15, 2009 4:36 pm

    Great review.
    I plan on reading this one.

  38. August 15, 2009 6:39 pm

    Good review! Sounds like a great read, in a country you don’t read too muich about.

  39. August 19, 2009 12:33 pm

    I had forgotten all about this book! I remember seeing it somewhere a few months ago, and thought it looked interesting, but I put it out of my mind and went on with other things. After reading your review I think I would really like this book, and will be looking to grab a copy when I can. Thanks for reminding me of this one.

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