The Seamstress of Sardinia tells us the story of a young girl growing up with her Nonna in the early 1900’s. Orphaned by disease, she shadows her grandmother as she works sewing for the people in their little town. Nonna is wise and does what she can to keep a reputation as a skilled and reliable person. The two live in a small set of rooms at reduced rate for taking care of the building. When Nonna dies she works hard to establish herself in the same position, all the while dreaming of all the things she wants in life… like an education, to see the world and maybe even love.
We get glimpses of the town through scandals that she is peripherally or directly involved in. Most of these revolve around the rich and what this book focuses on the most is the severe divide between classes. The power the rich have over the regular townsfolk is atrocious and our seamstress finds herself embroiled in quite the heart wrenching situation in the last quarter of the book.
I loved the glimpse of small town Italian life, knowing that my own forebears would have lived in villages much like these made the book resonate that much more with me. This is a translated novel, I could just imagine that the text lost a little beauty being transformed from the native language but it still evoked a lot of emotion.
If you are looking for a solid piece of historical fiction (based on the author’s own ancestors stories) that is not about WWII, check this one out!
Thanks to Harper Perennial for the gifted copy. All opinions above are my own.
Have you been to Italy? Is it on your travel bucket list?