Published: May 6, 2014
Genre: Historical Fiction
Recommended for fans of early-20th century British historical fiction
It is 1910 and Maria, a talented young girl from the East end of London, is employed to work as a seamstress for the royal family. As an attractive girl, she soon catches the eye of the Prince of Wales and she in turn is captivated by his glamour and intensity.
But careless talk causes trouble and soon Maria’s life takes a far darker turn. Disbelieved and dismissed she is thrown into a mental asylum, shut away from the real world with only her needlework for company.
Can a beautiful quilt, discovered many years later, reveal the truth behind what happened to Maria?
This is one of those cases that, while I wasn't overly wild about this book, I do think others would enjoy it. It is another dual-narrative novel, and frankly, I think I've just read too many of those to look at this objectively. That being said, the two interweaving stories are interesting and Trenow has a pleasant writing voice.
While the story is fiction, I don't doubt that people who were "embarrassments" to the Royal or other noble families may have been hidden away in mental institutions and I found that an effective jumping off point for this novel. I did feel that the ending was a bit too neat for me, but--again--I don't think most people would have that problem.
One thing that I did find annoying was that Trenow didn't really vary the voices of the different characters. During Maria's narrative, she started having an East End dialect, but it quickly morphed into something more standard and something that was not differentiated from the voice Trenow uses for Caroline's narrative. I would have preferred that Trenow had carried the East End dialect, while a little harder to read, throughout Maria's narrative.
As I said, this book didn't really work for me, but I do think others would enjoy this book and I've already recommend it to a few other people.
I received an electronic copy of this book in return for an honest review. I received no other compensation for this post.