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.
I’d seen reviews and praise from other bloggers about The Sewing Machine, so it’s been on my radar for a while. I leapt at the chance to be on this blog tour and to finally read it! I was not disappointed at all. This is an engrossing, wonderfully written book, inspired by an item of true outstanding beauty – the Singer sewing machine. My Nan has one of these machines and they are so stunning, they hold a magic around them and I always find myself captivated by my Nan’s. It makes sense that I was equally captivated by this novel.
This story takes place over the sweeping course of over a hundred years, we start in 1911 with Jean and end in 2016 with Fred. And during that epic time period we meet the people who have created the tapestry of Fred’s family history. I felt a little like a detective whilst reading this, I spent a lot of my time trying to work out how everyone connected to each other, who was related to who and when I reached the final chapter and everything had fallen into place, I was deeply satisfied.
Each era that we visit in this book is brought to life, Natalie Fergie has a magical way of transporting you from your chosen reading spot and effortlessly dropping you into another time and place. Some readers may not like the timeline jumping around or the different character perspectives, but for me I enjoyed it. Natalie Fergie’s skilled writing meant that within a few sentences of each chapter I immediately knew where I was and who I was with. These characters grew to be a part of me and I was a little bereft when I reached the end of the tale.
The character I enjoyed the most though, has to be Fred. Funnily enough at the start of the book he was my least favourite character but he grows a lot as a person and he grew on me! I adored the memories of him with his grandparents, there is something truly special about a relationship with our grandparents and The Sewing Machine gives a nod to that. I also loved that he becomes a deft hand with the Singer sewing machine he finds at his Granda and Nana’s flat, such a perfect way to conclude the story.
Captivating, beautifully written, clever and full of emotion, this was a book I couldn’t put down and it’s a book I truly loved.
The Sewing Machine is out now in paperback published by Unbound. With thanks to the publisher for my reading copy and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for inviting me on the blog tour. Make sure you check out the other fantastic bloggers on the tour.