FEMME FRIDAY: BOOK REVIEW
The Last Honest Seamstress
by Gina Robinson
I love historical fiction and historical romances are by far one of my most guilty pleasures. With this book’s setting, Seattle—a city near and dear to me—I was hooked. The story is set in Seattle 1889, the year of the great fire that leveled Seattle and thus began its rebuild on a grid, raising it higher above the tideline and the final fixing of the sewers so that the privvys didn’t gush at high tide. Simple things. Our heroine is an actual seamstress, as opposed to you know… “a seamstress.”
First things first: the good
There’s great storytelling in this book. She does a great job of weaving of history and fiction in a Seattle 1889 scenario. That’s the year of the great fire that leveled Seattle. The capable heroine is well drawn and likable. The hero is an unusually enlightened man of his time which. as a reader, I automatically like and enjoy reading.
The premise? Like in all historical romances, our super smart no-nonsense heroine (what, not all?) must find a husband in order to succeed with her plans because the world is stacked against an unmarried woman. She’s had her heart broken. She’s moved out West to get away from bad memories and start her business anew. Enter hero who is an upstanding fellow and of high moral value. We like him. He’s got a successful business.
Then comes the great Seattle fire of 1889. And the story really takes off. The scenes written around this are well executed. It brings the right tone to the inciting incident. It’s all going to hell in a handbasket and things are steaming along neatly in three nicely braided plots: Heroine, Hero and Redemption.
Now the stuff you need to hear: the not so good as opposed to the bad… because I’m loathe to dis a fellow author
But then, then the fourth plot comes in and that’s where I feel that it went pear shaped. It wasn’t the fourth plot so much as the polishing that was involved in adding it weakened the other storylines and did not add to the tension between the two main characters. If I describe this plot it’s spoilery so I won’t.
The author did her research. It read like she went through a thorough edit process (good descriptions, tight writing), and the pacing was spot on. The excellent pacing and wordcrafting came to an abrupt halt, like the pavement on a back country road, the line is unmistakable. It made me sad.
This book was thoroughly enjoyable until the last third. That’s when it gets rough. It t lacks the smooth ride of the previous two thirds.
Gina Robinson has great writing chops. This is me, begging her to re-visit and revise the last third of this book to make it flow. Pretty please?