Saturday, February 9, 2019

Review + Tour GIVEAWAY: The Seamstress by Allison Pittman

About the Book

Title: The Seamstress  
Author: Allison Pittman  
Genre: Historical Fiction 
Release date: February 5, 2019  
Publisher: Tyndale

A beautifully crafted story breathes life into the cameo character from the classic novel 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 and Renée now spend days tending Gagnon’s sheep, and nights in their cozy loft, whispering secrets and dreams in this time of waning innocence and peace. 

It is the worst of times . . . 

Paris groans with a restlessness that can no longer be contained within its city streets. Hunger and hatred fuel her people. Violence seeps into the ornate halls of Versailles. Even Gagnon’s table in the quiet village of Mouton Blanc bears witness to the rumbles of rebellion, where Marcel Moreau embodies its voice and heart. 

It is the story that has never been told. 

In one night, the best and worst of fate collide. A chance encounter with a fashionable woman will bring Renée’s sewing skills to light and secure a place in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette. An act of reckless passion will throw Laurette into the arms of the increasingly militant Marcel. And Gagnon, steadfast in his faith in God and country, can only watch as those he loves march straight into the heart of the revolution.  

Click here to purchase your copy!

My Thoughts

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. Personally, I have never read, nor wanted to read, this Dickens novel, and only chose to read The Seamstress because I’ve enjoyed Pittman’s writing so much in the past. The result was to become totally immersed in this moving and compelling story.

Pittman’s prose and storytelling are exquisite, vividly drawing readers into the heart of the French Revolution. The four main characters – Renee, Laurette, Gagnon and Marcel – are richly drawn and reflective of the times. With the exception of Gagnon, the guardian, faith seemed to be either ritualistic or nonexistent. It was an era of hunger, heavy taxes, hatred for the ruling class, and a court blind to the plight of its people. The setting is not one that bodes happiness, yet inspiration and hope are found in this story of honor, grace, and forgiveness.

Renee’s chance encounter leads her to the court of Marie Antoinette and brings this historic figure to life. But while The Seamstress came to be written because of Renee, it was the storyline revolving around her country cousin, Laurette, that I loved most. The young Laurette had a wildness about her, a desire to seek love in the wrong ways, and Gagnon’s strong faith, patience and influence were exactly what she needed.

The Seamstress is a captivating story, relevant for today, and contains much to reflect upon. I look forward to much more from the pen of Allison Pittman.

Very highly recommended.

I received a copy of this book through Celebrate Lit. The opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.

About the Author

Allison Pittman is the author of more than a dozen critically acclaimed novels and a three-time Christy finalist—twice for her Sister Wife series and once for All for a Story from her take on the Roaring Twenties. 

She lives in San Antonio, Texas, blissfully sharing an empty nest with her husband, Mike. 

Connect with her on Facebook (Allison Pittman Author), Twitter (@allisonkpittman) or her website,


Guest Post from Allison

My dream of being an author began by “finishing” other author’s works, fleshing out the stories of neglected characters. When I read the final books in the Little House series, I was far more interested in Cap Garland than I was in Almonzo Wilder, and I imagined all kinds of stories in which he was the hero. 

This, The Seamstress, is one of those stories that came to me in a single burst of thought. I was teaching my sophomore English class, discussing through the final scenes in A Tale of Two Cities, when the little seamstress in those final pages reached out to me. She is a nameless character, seemingly more symbolic than anything. Dickens, however, gives her an entire backstory in a single phrase: I have a cousin who lives in the country. How will she ever know what became of me? I remember pausing right then and there in front of my students and saying, “Now, there’s the story I want to write.” 

Now, years later, I have. 

While every word of every Charles Dickens novel is a master class in writing, what he gave to me for The Seamstress is the kind of stuff that brings life and breath to fiction. I have to convey the fact that any character on my pages—no matter how much story space he or she is allotted—has a life between them. Every man was once a child; every woman a vulnerable young girl. 

So, Dickens gave me the bones of the story. A seamstress. A cousin in the country. A country ripped apart; family torn from family. I did my very best to put flesh on those bones, but no writer can ever bring the life and breath. Only a reader can do that.  


To celebrate her tour, Allison is giving away a grand prize of a $25 Amazon gift card, a hardcover copy of The Seamstress, and this copy of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the image above or the link below to enter.

Blog Stops

Fiction Aficionado, February 9
The Lit Addict, February 9
The Power of Words, February 9
Lis Loves Reading, February 10
Maureen’s Musings, February 10
Carpe Diem, February 11
All-of-a-kind Mom, February 12
Emily Yager, February 12
Mary Hake, February 12
Stories By Gina, February 13
Inspired by fiction, February 14
Remembrancy, February 14
Inklings and Notions, February 16
Bibliophile Reviews, February 17
Texas Book-aholic, February 17
Margaret Kazmierczak, February 18
A Reader’s Brain, February 18
By The Book, February 18
Multifarious, February 19
Pause for Tales, February 19
Bigreadersite, February 20
Simple Harvest Reads, February 20
Janices book reviews, February 20
For the Love of Books, February 21
Book by Book, February 21


  1. Thank you for the great review and the guest post. Thanks also for being a host in this giveaway. Good luck everyone.

  2. Thanks for being part of the tour.

  3. "The Seamstress" sounds like a fascinating read. I'm looking forward to reading the book.

  4. The book sounds like an historical gem. I was a French and English major in college and love reading about French history.

  5. Allison Pittman's work is always so beautiful. Her writing style is polished and smooth without being too stuffy. Really looking forward to reading The Seamstress!

  6. Thank you for being a part of this tour. I look forward to reading The Seamstress!

  7. I am enjoying these tours and finding all the terrific books my family is enjoying reading. Thanks for bringing them to us and keep up the good work.

  8. Wonderful review, Carole! The Seamstress sounds so fascinating!

  9. Thank you for your thoughts on this one. I am really looking forward to reading it.

  10. Would love to read this book. Thank you for sharing.