Hello I’m delighted to welcome you to my stop on the blog tour for The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie. Thanks so much to Anne Cater for the invite and to Unbound for my gorgeous paperback copy. Before I share my review here’s what the book is all about:
“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.”
This was such a fabulous book that had me shouting at the characters when I was only 12 pages in. It’s always a really good sign to me if I’m interacting with characters in this way, because it means I can identify with them and the story.
This was a wonderful historical fiction book with multiple timelines, full of characters who all are connected somehow. I loved the weaving together, (or should that be sewing together?) of their stories through the years, with short chapters that made me race to end to discover those connections.
I felt for Jean right at the start of the book with the uncertainly of the strike and all that that encumbered. I was intrigued by Connie’s strange notebooks and I fell in love with Fred as he gets to grips with his family history.
Fred was definitely my favourite character. He made me laugh as he got to grips with living with the cat in his Granddad’s old flat, getting to know his neighbour with her small boys, popping to the corner shop for chocolate and advice, plus learning to use his Grandmother’s sewing machine.
If you love historical fiction or just books full of family secrets, you’ll definitely enjoy this fabulous story, that had me on the brink of tears as I read the final words.
From the Author’s Website
“I live in a village near Edinburgh, with my husband and our elderly Labrador, Boris. Much of the book is set in the city, and also in Leith (which any Leither will tell you is a separate place). I spent many hours walking around the streets, visiting locations, looking at museum exhibits, working out how long it takes to walk from where my characters live to where they work, and standing in the library they use. You’ll note the present tense, these people are my friends now.
I’m a former nurse, and I trained in the old Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, before it was sold off for housing. The apprentice in the first chapter of the book walks along the corridors I used every day, and later in the book, we visit the Uniform Room on the top floor of the Jubilee Pavilion where I collected my own uniforms when I started my training. If you have a minute, read the Acknowledgements at the back of the book, there’s plenty of background information there, as well as a huge list of people and organisations who helped with my research.”
Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour