It’s a great pleasure to be hosting today’s stop on the blog tour for The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie, which is published in paperback tomorrow (7th February) having sold over sold over 100k ebook copies to date. Thanks to Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part and to Unbound for my review copy.
Described by Herald Scotland as ‘A tapestry of strong characters and accomplished writing’, you can read my thoughts on The Sewing Machine below. Do check out the tour banner to follow the other fabulous book bloggers taking part in the tour.
About the Book
It is 1911, and Jean is about to join the mass strike at the Singer factory. For her, nothing will be the same again.
Decades later, in Edinburgh, Connie sews coded moments of her life into a notebook, as her mother did before her.
More than 100 years after his grandmother’s sewing machine was made, Fred discovers a treasure trove of documents. His family history is laid out before him in a patchwork of unfamiliar handwriting and colourful seams.
He starts to unpick the secrets of four generations, one stitch at a time.
Format: Paperback (342 pp.) Publisher: Unbound
Published: 7th February 2019 Genre: Historical Fiction
Find The Sewing Machine on Goodreads
Focusing on the lives of three characters – Jean, Connie and Fred – along with the people close to them, The Sewing Machine transports the reader from 1911 to the modern day. In telling the stories of the various characters, the author provides a wealth of domestic detail relevant to the specific period giving a real feeling of authenticity. On the other hand, at times the narrative skips over significant periods of and momentous events in their lives, with the gaps only filled towards the end of the book. I had a few “When did that happen?” moments. There were some events, such as the strike at the Singer factory, that I would actually have liked to learn more about.
There were details in the book that I absolutely loved such as the entries in the notebook recording garments made on the sewing machine that often told their own sad story. The introduction of a new character later in the book cleverly brings the various stories together. I also liked how the sewing machine is shown to represent different things to different people: a solace, a distraction, a source of employment, a symbol of frugality, a key to friendship and a source of artistic inspiration.
The author possesses an obvious gift for creating realistic characters. I loved Jean and Connie but I have to say I struggled a bit more with Fred initially. I was even tempted to sympathise with his girlfriend, Samantha, at one point but that quickly passed! And the author did eventually her work her magic on me. As the book went on and Fred is gradually drawn out of himself, particularly with the help of the family next door, I began to warm to him. In a way, he is the character who grows the most during this charming, heartwarming book.
I received a review copy courtesy of publishers, Unbound, and Random Things Tours.
In three words: Gentle, emotional, intimate
Try something similar…Entanglement by Katy Mahood (read my review here)
About the Author
Natalie Fergie is a textile enthusiast, and has spent the last ten years running a one-woman dyeing business, sending parcels of unique yarn and thread all over the world. Before this she had a career in nursing. She lives near Edinburgh.
Connect with Natalie