Anne, Friends of Bookends panel
‘This is a captivating, beautifully written story told over two timelines.
Florence’s marriage is in tatters and if that is not distressing enough, her beloved Grandmother has just died pulling her down even further. Among her Grandmothers possessions Florence finds various vintage dressmaking patterns and a photograph of her younger Grandmother with three other friends. She recognises two of the faces staring back at her, but who is the third young woman ? Florence discovers from one of her Grandmothers friends in the picture that the unknown woman is called Nancy and that she went to Paris, then travelled in Europe, in the summer of 1962 but no-one knows what happened to her. Do the patterns with dated momento’s enclosed in the envelopes, hold the key to who Nancy is and why her Grandmother never spoke of her ? With her life in shreds and her future uncertain, there is nothing to hold Florence back so she sets off on a journey across Europe, using the little information she has to fill in the missing parts of the jigsaw of Nancy’s life.
This is a captivating read of secrets untold, romance, disappointment, love and hope. There are many layers to this story and twists and turns enhanced this gripping novel and kept me enthralled. It is a moving and complex story which I read in one day. There is a real authentic feel to the places visited in this book. I have been to many of them myself and could almost smell the flowers, fruits, herbs and food which were so beautifully described.
There is a strong theme of dressmaking, vintage patterns and materials, which weaves Florence and Nancy’s stories together in a seamless way, threading a connection which was unknown. If you like to sew or have an interest in 1960’s fashion, you will enjoy the pathways taken in this novel.
This is the first book I have read by Sarah Steele and I look forward to my next read by this author.’
Maria, Friends of Bookends panel
‘When someone we love dies we always try to know more about them; unknown friends, adventures, histories… That’s how everything starts for Florence Connelly, she just lost her loved grandmother and she only wants to curl with their shared memories. When she starts digging at her past memories she finds some photos of her grandmother and a mysterious friend, Nancy Moon, who is she? And why did her grandmother never talked about Nancy Moon?
The author will make the reader to take a trip back to the past with Flo to Europe and, like sewing a dress it will not be easy to choose all the fabrics and best patterns for the moment. Stitch by stitch the dress will be made and all the secrets will be revealed, creating an astonishing outfit to keep in our memories forever and a story to keep near our heart.
I know that all families have their own dark secrets, so in this case the poignant question would be, does anyone have the right to share them if the main person involved is dead? It’s not an easy answer, because if it’s not your secret you wouldn’t be talking about it… So? What would you do in this situation? Reveal it or keep it quiet? There are so many questions and themes to talk about this
book that I couldn’t stop but arguing by myself while I was reading the story. Flo is not a happy woman, but I think that now is time for her to be brave and follow her heart, it will not be easy, she has always been a follower but I think that losing her grandmother will prompt her to take the big step that she was never eager to do.
I’ll admit that I was interested in this story since the beginning, I love sewing and this story had so many secrets to discover and interesting characters to fall in love that it was impossible to put it down!’