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The Seamstress

4.20  ·  Rating details ·  451 ratings  ·  151 reviews
A story that breathes life into the cameo character from Dickens' classic A Tale of Two Cities.

France, 1788
It is the best of times . . .

On a tranquil farm nestled in the French countryside, two orphaned cousins―Renée and Laurette―have been raised under the caring guardianship of young Émile Gagnon, the last of a once-prosperous family. No longer starving girls, Laurette an
Paperback, 480 pages
Published February 5th 2019 by Tyndale House Publishers
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Average rating 4.20  · 
Rating details
 ·  451 ratings  ·  151 reviews

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Joanne Bischof
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Glory this novel is stunning! Set amid the tumultuous French Revolution, The Seamstress is unabashedly profound and yet crafted with such care, that I relished every heartrending word until the very last one. Through the lives of vibrant and genuine characters, notes of love, faith, and loyalty rise from its pages—all striking with one unanimous chord of courage. Allison Pittman has woven a novel that fortifies the spirit brick by brick so that as a nation is broken and transformed, so takes new ...more
This is beautiful. Heartbreakingly beautiful.

“Do you think that it will seem long to me, while I wait for her in the better land?”
“It cannot be, my child; there is no time there, and no trouble there.”
Jocelyn Green
Destined to be a classic in its own right, The Seamstress is everything I love about historical fiction. The robust characters not only interact with real and pivotal events, but they embody the attitudes of the day in ways that are accessible for the modern reader. Pitman’s power of language drew me deep into revolutionary France, and her accurate and sensitive portrayal of the turmoil earned my undying respect. The Seamstress is an intricate tapestry hemmed in truth and grace. A masterpiece.
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book! I am still thinking about it, its characters and the decisions they made. That, my friends, is the sign of a well written book (in my opinion).

“The Seamstress” by Allison Pittman is truly a masterpiece and the story is epic! Ms. Pittman’s writing is phenomenal. It is set during the French Revolution, with nods to “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens and “Les Miserables” by Victor Hugo.

I love the lessons Ms. Pittman includes on faith and life in general. She shows through her wr
Rachel McMillan
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"The Seamstress is a study in nostalgia: carefully evoking a classic while establishing itself as a classic in its own right. Deftly and intelligently nodding to its magnanimous source material, A Tale of Two Cities, it remains confident as its own entity. Appealing equally to Dickensian readers and the uninitiated, The Seamstress is a lush, moving and brilliantly sewn world. The thinking reader’s inspirational read, it is at once rich, beguiling and accessibly readable. Its aftertaste will spoi ...more
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
Beautifully woven tale about two orphaned cousins that are taken in by a sheep farmer in late 1700s France. It's a time of uprising against the monarchy. The two cousins, Laurette and Renee, follow different paths. Their story parallels the revolution taking place in France and the life of Queen Marie Antoinette.
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
A sad story...but a very moving one! It really brings the French Revolution to life!
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"God of heaven, see me now . . . . "

France is on the brink of a revolution, while two orphaned cousins are rescued by a man of faith and unprecedented generosity. As Renee and Laurette grow into lovely young women, their paths seem destined to either flourish in the idyllic village of Mouton Blanc, where sheep produce fine wool and the air is crisp and clean; or to diverge into a place where dreams are made, only to be forever lost in the middle of a nation's nightmare.

Renee's natural talents as
Fiction Aficionado
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book went on my TBR as soon as I finished reading the first line of the description. I knew exactly which cameo character the description was referring to, despite having no recollection that said character had mentioned she was a seamstress in Dickens’ tale, and I wanted to know her story. It meant that I also knew a major spoiler about the end of this novel before I even began, but in the hands of a skilled story-teller like Allison Pittman, that becomes irrelevant. It’s the journey that ...more
Cathy Daniel
Jul 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Terribly sad book (surprise! It's the French Revolution and quite grisly) but beautifully written and even though, some of my favorites were killed off, I still loved this beautifully written book! Read when you're in the mood for a meaty, richly historical book.
Oh my...this book is outstanding!!!

Certain to remain one of my all-time favorites, this epic novel and its characters will haunt the reader long after the last page has been read. Ms.Pittman, as a new-to-me author, blew me away with her beautiful prose that masterfully told a story set amidst the turbulent times surrounding the French Revolution. Giving a nod to Charles Dicken's Tale of Two Cities, Ms. Pittman has crafted a story with memorable characters who face the harsh realities of the time
Mar 22, 2019 rated it liked it
This is one of those strange books that I can acknowledge is really good--something one could read in class for excellent discussion on the French Revolution--and yet I didn't really like it. Part of that, I admit, is a stylistic thing--I'm not a fan of stories written in the present tense (and this was even more strange by having Renee's parts in first person present, with Laurette's in third person past), but more, I just didn't like most of the characters (especially Marcel. At all.). Gagnon ...more
Heidi Chiavaroli
Aug 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
In the midst of revolution and royalty, Pittman weaves a captivating tale of two cousins whose humble beginnings birth remarkable journeys. A beautiful, rich tale of love, loss, and amazing faith, The Seamstress is a book that haunts, satisfies, and inspires all at once. I loved this book!
Kelly Bridgewater
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was ok
I have read a number of Allison Pittman's historical romances, and they were okay. The Seamstress sounded like a wonderful read, but sadly I was disappointed. The characters appeared flat and had no personality. They appeared to be cardboard characters flitting around on the pages of the story. I had a hard time empathizing with any of them. As for the plot, it started out with a wonderful synopsis, but Pittman drags the story along for a LONG time, getting to the good part of the uprising. I h ...more
Jun 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Seamstress by Allison Pittman is one of those books you can't stop thinking about long after you've read the last page. Pittman's lovingly drawn characters grab hold of your heart and won't let go. The fierce poverty and hunger suffered by the lower classes and the excesses of the ruling class are drawn with a fine pen against the backdrop of the French Revolution. So finely drawn I found myself hungry and cold along with orphans Laurette and Renee. As the story moves inexorably toward a den ...more
Sep 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
I'm ashamed to admit I've never read Tale of Two Cities, but this novel, which is based on some of the characters from Dickens's book, has made me add it to me to- read list! This is the first book I have read by this author and I was impressed by the skill and the story. The characters were true to life, and as such, not necessarily always likable, and prone to making big mistakes. The ending... well, I won't spoil it, but it took me by surprise. Apparently if you've read A Tale of Two Cities, ...more
Apr 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Mouton Blanc, France, 1788. At the age of 10 Renee and her cousin Laurette at 12 are orphaned. Emile Gagnon at 22 inherits a farm after his parents die of fever. He also loses his wife and newborn. He provides shelter for the two orphaned girls. In return, they shepherd his sheep. On rainy days and while shepherding, Renee occupies herself with needlework. Laurette lazes off.

A royal carriage passes through their village. Due to heavy rains, it overturns the carriage and breaks one wheel. In near
Jessica Baker (A Baker's Perspective)
It’s always exciting to find a book by an author you haven’t read before. My first thought after reading the first few chapters of this book – why have I not read any of Allison Pittman’s books before? It certainly isn’t because they do not exist, only because I had not yet come across them. To say this book caught me by complete surprise would probably be an understatement. As with any book you read from an author unknown to you, you aren’t sure if their writing style is going to be your cup of ...more
Apr 06, 2019 added it
Shelves: audio
Ever since I saw this cover I was excited. What a beauty!!! And it’s so unique. It is an era that I don't read in often but I was sure the writing would be great because I have read all of Allison Pittman's books. ⠀
This book was breathtaking. I hung on every word and because I listened to the audiobook I heard the narrator's voice in my head even when I wasn't listening to it because she just had one of those voices I could've listened to for a long time...even though I had to speed her up a t
Susie Finkbeiner
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've long been a fan of novels set during the French Revolution and so I was very much looking forward to reading The Seamstress. Pittman's telling does not disappoint. In fact, it far exceeded my expectations.

Lyrically written, peopled with true to life characters, and infused with hope, this book is absolutely gasp-worthy. This deserves a second and third read and will find a home on my classic literature shelf.
Mar 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Two orphaned cousins are taken in by sheep farmer. They grow up together but in the end have very different lives. Renee is taken to the palace to become a seamstress for the queen, Marie Antoinette. Laurette is caught in the arms of a French Revolutionary. Renee remains loyal to her Queen and Laurette is disappointed and returns home where she finds true love and forgiveness. This is an incredible and beautifully written book.
Anna Lee Huber
Apr 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Enthralling! Brilliantly executed, in The Seamstress Pittman borrows a minor character from Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities and attempts to answer the tantalizing questions that arise in her brief, but pivotal appearance in that literary classic. Rich in historical detail and filled with tremendous heart, I was swept up by this gripping tale of the little seamstress and her cousin, and their struggles to survive and to maintain their faith. Highly recommended.
Sep 15, 2019 rated it liked it
I find myself having mixed feelings about this book. The parts talking about redemption in God were lovely, even that heartbreakingly beautiful last scene where Renee asks God for a gift and is given more than she could have imagined. However, Laurette's choices before the Revolution were difficult to read, and often almost too graphically stated.
Overall though, I did like the book.
Nov 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh my goodness this book. I really had no idea what to expect with this novel. I have been reading Pittman's books for years so I know how talented she is as an author. This book is her best work in my opinion. The story flips between two cousins and this was so well done. The history is fascinating and the setting, Versailles and the countryside, are perfection. Having been there it made this book all the better! There are so many layers to this story but I will tell you that it is so well done ...more
Mar 20, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
I received this novel as a Goodreads Giveaway and would like to thank the publisher for sending me a copy.

Entertaining and moving, Allison Pittman's The Seamstress tells a tale that pits the powers of selfishness and selflessness against one another during the era of the French Revolution. Taking a minor character from Charles Dickens's A Tale of Two Cities as its inspiration, the story moves from the famished fields of rural France and the grand halls of Versailles as two cousins raised in rur
Carole Jarvis
Feb 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed at The Power of Words:

Sometimes a novel inspired by a famous classic achieves classic status in and of itself, and that is what I believe The Seamstress by Allison Pittman is destined to become. Intrigued by the cameo appearance of a seamstress in the closing pages of A Tale of Two Cities, Pittman fleshes out an epic and haunting tale of two young orphan cousins, their kind guardian, and the life-changing choices they made during a bloody and turbulent time. Perso
What an amazing, epic, and powerfully moving historical fiction set during the earlier years of the French Revolution. This is the first book I’ve read by Allison Pittman and she has garnered another devoted reader! The author’s writing style is hauntingly melodic and nostalgic; the combination of first person and third person narrative works well to bring a cohesive and well-constructed plot that spans quite a few years and takes place in several places. The characters are wonderfully layered, ...more
Maureen Timerman
Feb 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019
We follow two cousins back at the time prior and during the French Revolution, living on a farm, having been given sanctuary by their guardian.
One is a talented seamstress and we follow her to the royal court and watch her win favor there. What a hard time in history for the French people, and we put faces on what leads to the over thrown of their government.
Surprises are found here, and all the way to the end I was hoping for different answers, but once you start on this story you will have to
Cheryl Barker
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the first book I've read by Allison Pittman and I absolutely loved it. Pittman did a masterful job with everything from storytelling to structuring the novel to creating memorable characters. I loved the depth of the characters, the story itself, and the glimpse of French history it provided. I especially loved how Pittman opened the novel with a prayer poem and then went on to structure the book using each line of the prayer as the basis for each subsequent part of the novel. So effecti ...more
Apr 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Quite possibly the best piece of Christian fiction I have read. And that’s high praise considering I’m usually rather harsh on this genre. The ending was beautiful and the prose lovely. I’d like to reread A Tale of Two Cities now even if only for Sydney Carton.
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Allison Pittman is the author of For Time and Eternity, Stealing Home, the Crossroads of Grace series, and her nonfiction debut, Saturdays With Stella. A high-school English teacher, she serves as director of the theater arts group at her church. She is also the co-president of a dynamic Christian writers group in the San Antonio, Texas area, where she makes her home with her husband and their thr ...more

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