REVIEW: The Sewing Girl’s Tale

Anyone who was shaken, heartbroken and empowered by Chanel Miller’s Know My Name should pick this one up and see just how long women in America have fought to get their rapists to be punished for their crimes. How long women in America have fought for their humanity and autonomy. For their words to be heard, acknowledged and believed.

Lanah Sawyer is a young woman living in post Revolutionary War New York, she makes a horrible mistake by going for a walk with a man. Harry Bedlow lies to her from the very start, purporting to be someone he isn’t and offering to safely get her home. His true intention was to seduce her, when she resists he takes what he wants and leaves her in ruin. She does something women of the time just did not do, she fought back. With the help of her step-father, a prominent ship pilot, they take their rape case to court. Your outrage at how long Lanah must suffer publicly because of Harry’s evil actions will be unmeasured.

We see the court case which is more than a ‘he said’, ‘she said.’ As the rape occured in a bawdy house with a well known proprietess who takes Harry’s side. As do many white men who argue that her actions were not enough to indicate that she did not consent. We get a lot of information on how women were viewed at the time as “pure creatures” (only if they were white and affluent of course) and that they were simply property of the men in their lives. Only those men could fight for compensation should a woman be “seduced” (read raped) and her reputation and therefore marriage potential be ruined or her ability to work be disrupted. The lengths a man would go to bamboozle and ruin a woman only to try to convince the woman it was her fault will absolutely astound you (or maybe not…)

I learned a lot from this book, I did it on audio so it helped in the drier sections where we get color on the issues of the time. But the fact I learned that will help you understand the book the most is the original definition of a rake, we think of it as a bachelor who just has a way with the ladies, a player, the original definition indicated that the man was what would come up after you raked the coals of Satan. True evil, not just light debauchery with a wink. Harry Bedlow was exactly that. If you like history, especially early American history, check this one out – there is quite the cameo by one Alexander Hamilton. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐

Thanks to Netgalley for advanced access to this book. All opinions above are my own.

Published by openmypages

I am the Vice President of Clinical Affairs for a medical device company where my job is to promote the utility of the device to doctors. I have science and business degrees and have editorial experience in medical communications. In college, I served as an Editorial Assistant for a healthcare communications company and have served on two editorial boards for peer-reviewed journals. In my free time, I always have a book in my hand... or two or three! On average, I read 20 books a month. I have looked to combine two of my skill sets to review on Goodreads and promote books on Instagram that I love to other readers. I'm open to partnering with publishers as an influencer for book tours, giveaways etc.

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