The Forgotten Seamstress reviews

Article in Patchwork and Quilting Magazine May 2014 issue.

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From Suffolk Life, February 2014


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Great review here from Lancashire Evening Post Megan ReadingInTheSunshine: I was originally introduced to Liz Trenow’s novels when I had the opportunity to read her first book The Last Telegram, which is a truly stunning book, so if you haven’t read it already then please do! Knowing how much I’d enjoyed The Last Telegram, I was very much looking forward to The Forgotten Seamstress. Caroline Meadows discovers a stunning quilt whilst she is clearing her mother’s attic, and begins a search to find out the origins of this mysterious quilt, who made it? And what is the meaning of the message embroidered into the quilt? Many years earlier – Maria, an extraordinary seamstress, is employed to work for the Royal Family. Maria is young and attractive, and soon catches the attention of the Prince of Wales, and she is equally as intrigued by him. But this connection soon leads to trouble for Maria and her life takes a sudden unexpected turn. Will Caroline be able to find out about the quilt and discover what happened to Maria? I LOVED this ever so much. The detail in this story is STUNNING. It is rich with description and the historical aspect is so very well written, I felt as though I had been transported back in time with Maria. The concept of the quilt was fantastic. The descriptions were so beautiful and I could almost feel the textures of the quilt and I could picture it so vividly in my mind. I was so fascinated by the quilt and the history and meaning behind it, and I was hooked to the story wanting to read on to find out how the quilt came to be made, how it came to be in Caroline’s mothers attic – I wanted to know everything about it, and then hold it close to me and never let go! Maria was such a great character, even though we were reading things in the form of old cassette tapes and taped interviews, I felt very close to Maria and it was like I was sat next to her, hearing her talk about what had happened in her life. There are so many emotions that I went through whilst reading this. Maria’s story is so intriguing, fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time. There came a point in the book where I went from shock to tears in my eyes to full-on sobbing in a matter of minutes, my heart ached so much for her. Liz Trenow is SUCH a talented writer, she effortlessly weaves in many characters and connects their lives together to create a story that is truly exceptional. I would thoroughly recommend this. Meg Reid, organiser of Felixstowe Book Festival This book weaves together the stories of a contemporary young professional woman, an elderly woman in 1970 telling the story of her life lived in an orphanage, a palace and a mental hospital. An unusual character in the book is a very special patchwork quilt and Liz Trenow stitches together the different strands of her story with a skill equal to the finest quilter. The finished product, as with the best quilts, is deeply satisfying. Again like all the most interesting quilts the way the pieces fit together has an element of surprise but an entirely believable one. Each character’s story is engrossing and memorable. It is easy for the reader to become deeply involved with them and to care about the characters. Once you have met them it is hard to put the book down. These are people who will live on in your memory as vividly as if you had known them in real life.  

28 thoughts on “The Forgotten Seamstress reviews”

  1. I have just finished reading this I started 4th Jan 2014 Saturday night about 8pm and could not put this book down, I got up Sunday morning and have just finished it midday, this book touched me deeply as my granddad was put into a mental home in the 40’s because of things he saw in the war, when I was about 4-5 years old I was taken to see him by my nan and never forgot him, I was in tears at the end of this story and by coincedence my son is also called Richard James, this is a wonderful book with so many twists, I enjoyed this book immensely and will be recommending it to my friends and the magazine that does book reviews
    I also intend downloading The Last Telegram to my kindle next, I don’t think much will get done again in the house for the next day again
    Wendy from France

    • Dear Wendy
      How wonderful that my story has resonated so much with your family history and I very glad you enjoyed it. Do let me know if any reviews appear in magazines and websites – it is always helpful to keep track.
      I hope you enjoy The Last Telegram, which is very much based on my own family history of silk weavers in East Anglia.
      With best wishes

  2. Linda Jenkins said:

    I have just finished reading The Forgotten Seamstress and really enjoyed it. I was first attracted to the book because I am a quilter and,incidentally,have met Lyn Edwards who is a lovely lady. Apart from the quilting side of the story I was interested in the fact that Maria had been taken to the asylum. During the 1990’s I worked for a team resettling people from Hensol Castle asylum. I was taken there one day by my boss. The grounds were beautiful but the buildings were very austere. There were no longer any residents there but my boss told me that some ladies had been there for about 50 years for no other reason than that they had got pregnant and were hidden away there by their families. Thank you for such a moving story which made me cry but which I enjoyed reading.

    • Dear Linda
      what a lovely email, thank you so much. You may be interested to look at the website I mention in my acknowledgement which has some fascinating photos. With very best wishes Liz

  3. Sue Crawte said:

    I read this fabulous story to and from London on the Marks Tey train to Liverpool Street. I was so engrossed in it, that I missed the Marks Tey stop on he return journey! I was particularly interested in reading about the Asylum. I worked at Severalls, twelve years ago in the HQ building and have also read the Diana Gittings book. Such dreadful times and it was hard to believe when I worked there, that Hess things happened. I also enjoyed your previous book, myself being Sudbury based. Looking forward to the next.

  4. siouxsiestrange said:

    I read this fabulous story on a train journey from Sudbury to Liverpool Street yesterday. I was so engrossed on the return journey that I missed the Marks Tey stop and therefore my train connection to Sudbury. It was also interesting to read about the asylum as I worked at Severalls Hospital 12 years at the Trust HQ! I have also read the Diana Gittings book. Dreadful times and it was so hard to believe whilst working there that these things happened. I also enjoyed your first book and am looking forward to your next!

  5. I just finished it as well…LOVED it.

    A beautiful story.

  6. Marília Moraes said:

    I have just finished reading The Forgotten Seamstress and I enjoyed it immensely. It was a present from my daughter who recently went to the USA. Now I’m your new Brazilian fan!
    Thank you so much for writing such a beautiful story. I’m so thankful to all of you writers who are so inspired, so dedicated and come up with books that involve and entertain us.
    I took a look at the quilt devised by Lynne and I was impressed. The pattern is so elaborate, so
    romantic. Quilts are like paintings, pictures created by an artist! And your book is as fascinating as the quilt which inspired it.
    I am looking forward to reading The Last Telegram!!!!

    • Dear Marilia
      I am thrilled to have a fan in Brazil – you are the first (at least, the first to write!). I am so pleased you enjoyed The Forgotten Seamstress. I also have a third book out now, The Poppy Factory. Not published in the US I am afraid, but available on UK Amazon.
      With best wishes

  7. Ruth Campbell said:

    I have just finished The Forgotten Seamstress. As many reviewers have stated, I too, could not put it down! The book is such a sweet story! My mother was a seamstress and quilt maker. Although her life was very different from Queenie’s, there was a real thread that brought back many memories. My mother is gone now, but I was reminded of the many trials she experienced and her love for family. Thank you for writing such a poignant story!

  8. Thank you so much for writing such an enthralling book which I promised myself to read after the review last year in one of the patchwork magazine. I could not put the book down once it was opened and although I did read it over the weekend I rather think it will be well thumbed and reread several times. Just finished printing the instructions for the quilt so here goes. I have also bought your other 2 books and look forward to reading these & am recommending the forgotten seamstress to friends but I am being mean and keeping the book for myself, afraid they will have to part with their own money or wait for birthday/Christmas pressies.

    • Hi Janis
      Lovely to hear from you and I’m glad you enjoyed The Seamstress. Do send me a photo of your quilt once you have completed it and I will post it on this website! Hope you enjoy the other books, too.
      With very best wishes

  9. Matilde said:

    I read your book when I was doing a quilting course, so it has been the perfect companion to the pieces I have done so far. I am definitely going to have a go at Maria’s quilt, perhaps with my own interpretations too.

    A truly enjoyable and inspirational story. I look forward to reading The Last Telegram now.

    • Dear Matilde
      Thanks for getting in touch – I am so glad you enjoyed The Forgotten Seamstress. If you do make Maria’s Quilt, please send me photos for this website.
      Thanks so much

  10. I really enjoyed reading The Forgotten Seamstress and it was really interesting and exciting! I read it within four days because I wanted to find out more about Maria and the quilt. I borrowed it from my boyfriend’s mother and we both like to know whether you think about a movie of The Forgotten Seamstress. I really think that lots of people would watch it, especially myself. It was one of the best books I have ever read.
    Best wishes from Germany,
    Alina (19 years old)

    • Hello Alina
      Thank you for your kind message. I am very flattered that you think it one of the best books you have ever read! I would love to have it made into a film but I am afraid it is not for me to decide. My literary agent works with a film and tv rights agency which tries to sell books to producers, but so far no-one has come forward to ask for the rights to The Forgotten Seamstress (or my other books). So I am not very hopeful. Meanwhile you may like to know that my next book, The Silk Weaver, will be published in Germany some time during 2017.
      With very best wishes

  11. Charlotte said:

    The forgotten Seamstress is another Amazing book! I couldnt put this one down either. (Ive already read The Poppey Factory and The Last Telegram) You are a truely amazing writer. Please continue to write more and more. I will forever read any book you write. Thank you for a truely fabulous read!
    I am eagerly awaiting The Silk Weaver.

    • Thank you for your lovely comment. Only a week to wait for The Silk Weaver!

      • charlotte said:

        I have just bought The Silk Weaver and cant wait to read it on my holidays. I just know it is going to be another addition to your amazing books!
        Eagerly looking forward to another good read.

  12. Eileen said:

    Thank you so much for writing. I have loved The Hidden Thread and now The Forgotten Seamstress. The later caused me to go to sleep later and get up earlier in order to read more of this book. Even burned a pot of beans on the stove, while totally engrossed. I never have burned anything this bad. In keeping with a sense of humor, it was worth it. Unforgettable read.

  13. Hi Eileen, thanks for taking the trouble to write. I’m so pleased you enjoy my books. Sorry about the beans! Best wishes

  14. Dianne Morris said:

    Dear Liz, just finished The Forgotten Seamstress . A brilliant novel ! I enjoyed it immensely. I will look for other books by you . I recently retired from thirty years of working with The Sisters of the Holy Cross,. The winding mystic story of Maria ,reminds me of many confidences shared by the Sisters . Thank you, a great book is one you are sad,for,it to end !

  15. Hi..just want to commend you on The Poppy Factory and The Last now 143 pages in on The Last Telgram..and am really enjoying but this is being hindered by several editing issues. approx 4 so far and I am a speed reader so possibly more.Sorry to appear critical but with such good writing it’s a shame that the flow keeps being interrupted..but fortunately not as annoyng as Nicholas Sparks’ more recent novels..dreadful typos and grammatical errors. For you to use or lose.Don’t read him anymore as so distracting. Keep up the great themes and storylines.

    • Dear Ellen
      Yes I was also very disappointed in the number of typos in The Last Telegram. It was my first novel and I didn’t have the courage to ask my publishers for a second proof version, when these should have been picked up. I’m older and wiser now, but when you are writing 90 thousand words is is very difficult indeed, despite several proof reads, to eliminate all errors.
      Best wishes

      • Aww, what a shame. I had such a strict Enlish language teacher! Her red pen was infamous. She was a real stickler. It really affected me. Ha. Keep up the good work. Have read every day since I was three and have enjoyed all your novels so far…smiles

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