The Seamstress of Sardinia: A Novel (Paperback)
A bestselling Italian writer makes her American debut with this delightful dramedy of manners, family, romance, and fashion that is set on the island of Sardinia at the end of the nineteenth century—a dazzling and original literary blend of Jane Austen and Adriana Trigiani.
In 1900 Sardinia, a young woman’s remarkable talent with a needle earns her a position as a seamstress with a wealthy family. Inside this privileged world far different from her own humble beginnings, the skilled sewer quietly takes measurements, sketches designs, mends hems—and in the silence, hears whispered secrets and stories of all those around her.
Through the watchful young seamstress’s eyes, this small Italian city and its residents emerge in all their vitality, vanity, and fragility—flawed yet congenial people who are not quite what they pretend to be. There is the Marchesa Esther, who rides horses and studies mechanics and ancient Greek; Miss Lily Rose, a spirited American journalist who commissions a special corset—with pockets to hide more than just her flaws; the Provera sisters with their expensive Parisian fashions that belie their financial hardships; and Assuntina, the wild child. There are men, young, old, and in between; love affairs and broken hearts; and even a murder (or was it suicide?). And at the center, watching and waiting is the seamstress herself, an intelligent, ambitious girl with a tender heart and her own impossible dream.
An irresistible literary confection rich in atmosphere and period detail and packed with compelling characters. The Seamstress of Sardinia transports us to a long-ago world not so removed from our own—to a society rigidly divided by wealth and shaped by passion, hope, ambition, and love—the elemental forces that drive human lives.
Bianca Pitzorno is well-known in Italy as a writer who usually focuses on female characters with complex personalities. While her books often have comic elements they are also often focused on issues of politics and social class.
"The Seamstress of Sardinia will sweep readers away to post-unification Italy with the twists and intrigue of Italian nobility." — Diana Giovinazzo, author of Antoinette's Sister
“Will be a hit with readers seeking a historical novel with a protagonist to root for: a strong young woman who hopes to succeed despite having few advantages.” — Library Journal
"This sumptuous costume drama has a great deal of heart." — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"This feminist fairy tale is sure to be a book-club favorite and will appeal to fans of Laura Esquivel, Adriana Trigiani, and Elena Ferrante." — Booklist