Book Review: The Sewing Machine by Natalie Fergie

“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 came across this book through a Facebook writers/arts group of which I am a member, and am I glad that I did?! I read this book in a couple of days – it hooked me so completely. This novel brings together the stories of Jean and Donald, Connie and Alf, and Fred, all taking place across different periods of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, but all connected by one thing – A Singer Sewing Machine.

Fergie is a skillful storyteller, weaving the story together through chapters which deal with snapshots of these characters’ lives without the plot becoming heavy or confusing. The characters are engaging and sympathetic, especially Fred, for whom I had an enormous soft spot by the end of the novel. I loved the novel’s unique telling-point, the way that it is an object rather than a person which acts as a sort of inanimate protagonist, grounding the story and cementing the history which brings these characters together. The pacing of the plot is nice and steady, and the links and secrets are revealed in a timely and interesting fashion which spurs the reader on to find out more – in short, I couldn’t put this down.

A highly enjoyable read. Five stars.

Available at:Amazon UK

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