If Barbara Taylor Bradford’s Woman of Substance were set it Spain at the time of the Civil War, its tale of rags to riches and poverty to power might read like Maria Duenas’ The Seamstress. But there’s far more to heroine Sira Quiroga than a head for money and a knack for creating beauty, and far more to this tale than first meets the eye.
Apprenticed to a dressmaker at age 12, Sira is the daughter of a single mother. She’s quick to learn and lives contentedly until a chance meeting turns her life upside down. Love, power and betrayal follow in quick succession, and soon Sira’s stranded alone in a foreign land. A keen sense of detail and well-honed powers of observation lead her to new friendships and alliances. The world spins from one war to the next, and Sira’s observations of politics and fashion lead in curious and surprising directions.
With a great protagonist, well-drawn history and evocatively exotic locations, author Maria Duenas cuts and shapes her scenes, sewing them together into a masterpiece of intrigue and romance that satisfies the reader on multiple levels—a thoroughly enjoyable novel.
Disclosure: My sister-in-law loaned me a copy of this novel.
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About the reviewer
Sheila Deeth (SheilaDeeth)
Sheila Deeth's first novel, Divide by Zero, has just been released in print and ebook formats. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc. Her spiritual speculative novellas can be found at … more
Maria Duenas is a true storyteller. Read this book and prepare to be transported -- Kate Morton, Author Of The House at Riverton Maria Duenas's ambitious debut belongs to that increasingly rare genre: the historical epic...a richly satisfying novel -- David Evans Financial Times A magnificent novel that flawlessly brings together history and intrigue -- Juan Gomez-Jurado, Author Of The Moses Expedition A wonderful novel with intrigue, love, mystery and tender, audacious and clean-cut characters -- Mario Vargas Llosa A literary cocktail that mixes adventure, espionage, glamour, aristocracy and passion La Vanguardia How can a novel be both cruel and tender, dark and luminous all at the same time, and keep the reader glued to its pages with a complex, captivating narrative? Maria Duenas's novel manages to make this possible with a tale that is destined to become a literary classic -- Javier Sierra, Bestselling Author Of The Secret Supper and The Lady in Blue