Author Interview and Giveaway – The Seamstress – Allison Pittman

23 Comments on Author Interview and Giveaway – The Seamstress – Allison Pittman

If you loved The Tale of Two Cities, or just want something out of the ordinary, Allison’s new book looks like a winner. I’ve heard great things about it already, and it’s cheap on ebook at the moment–if you don’t want to wait to see if you win, snap it up right away!

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The Seamstress

It is the best of times . . .

On a tranquil farm nestled in the French countryside, two orphaned cousins—Renée and Laurette—have been raised under the caring guardianship of young Émile Gagnon, the last of a once-prosperous family. No longer starving girls, Laurette and Renée now spend days tending Gagnon’s sheep, and nights in their cozy loft, whispering secrets and dreams in this time of waning innocence and peace.

It is the worst of times . . .

Paris groans with a restlessness that can no longer be contained within its city streets. Hunger and hatred fuel her people. Violence seeps into the ornate halls of Versailles. Even Gagnon’s table in the quiet village of Mouton Blanc bears witness to the rumbles of rebellion, where Marcel Moreau embodies its voice and heart.

It is the story that has never been told.

In one night, the best and worst of fate collide. A chance encounter with a fashionable woman will bring Renée’s sewing skills to light and secure a place in the court of Queen Marie Antoinette. An act of reckless passion will throw Laurette into the arms of the increasingly militant Marcel. And Gagnon, steadfast in his faith in God and country, can only watch as those he loves march straight into the heart of the revolution.

Allison’s Website



Questions about Allison’s Story

What character in your book turned out to be your favorite?

My favorite character turned out to be Gagnon, the young widower who brought these two orphaned cousins into his home. That was a little surprising for me, because I don’t usually enjoy crafting the more godly characters in my novels. Usually they just stand as stalwart examples who serve as a gravitational pull for my more interesting “sinners.” While Gagnon certainly fulfills that role, he is a bit more dimensional than that. I loved the moments when his anger and frustration bubbled to the surface. I couldn’t wait to get to the part of the story when we learn of his struggle with sin. Most of all, I enjoyed crafting his love for his country—faults and all. He lives in the grip of poverty but refuses the call to revolution. He recognizes the monarchy’s faults but will not allow slanderous talk at his table. In fact, “Gagnon’s table” becomes a metaphor in itself throughout the novel. It is a place of peace and welcome and plenty, even when that plenty doesn’t seem like it would be nearly enough.

Which scene is your favorite, the one you never tired of working with? Give us a reason to look forward to it.

I’d have to say it’s the chapter that depicts the attack of the women on Versailles. Chapter 25. This is a favorite scene of mine from A Tale of Two Cities, with the infamous Mme Defarge at the forefront. To think, these were women driven by poverty and starvation, who had held their dying children and watched the life drain from their husbands. They took up what weapons they had and took action. I’m not one to ever (really, ever) condone violence, but this gives us a picture of what happens to a society pushed too far. Often, men are credited for the dramatic shakes in history. In this case, women—housewives, mothers, widows—delivered a terrifying message to the monarchy, a taste of the murderous regime to come. I loved taking that momentous event and whittling it down to three women: Renée, the seamstress, an innocent observer to the chaos; Marie Antoinette, the queen, a wife and mother herself, cowering in the face of homicidal rage; and Anne, a persona pasted to a nameless, forgotten figure, who may have struck the first mortal blow of the revolution.

What research book or website used to write this book was your favorite to peruse?

I had this great book called Versailles (Tony Spawforth, 2010) that went into exquisite detail about the history, architecture, floor plan, and functionality of the palace at Versailles. Early in planning the book, I desperately wanted to actually go to Versailles, but now I wonder if I would have gleaned as much from that trip as I did from this book. Today, it is a museum; in the days of my story, it was a working home, a public place, a government workplace, a warehouse. So I incorporated a lot that I learned in that book into the plot, of course, whenever Renée is running around the halls, zipping in and out of rooms. But certain details also wormed into my understanding and depiction of historical characters. For example, I learned that Louis XVI’s office was in a room still depicting murals and other decor in deference to the god Poseidon. I’ve always felt Louis XVI was unprepared, and maybe a bit unwilling, to be a king—literally underwater, out of place, drowning in the rising sea of revolutionary violence.


Questions about Allison’s Reading


What other Christian Historical Novels are similar to yours in setting or storyline?

This one came out a couple of years ago, but A Refuge Assured by Jocelyn Green takes place in the years immediately following the French Revolution. The heroine is a lace-maker spared the violence of the regime (they executed anyone associated with the excesses of the aristocracy), and the story highlights one of the great mysteries of the royal family: Whatever happened to the dauphin, Louis-Charles? It’s a fantastic read, bringing the survivors of the violence in France to the newly formed United States.


Which was the last Christian Historical Novel you read, and what was your favorite thing about it?

The last Christian Historical Novel I read was Sons of Blackbird Mountain by Joanne Bischof. It’s actually been out for a while, but I was waiting to read it when it was my turn for book club pick! My favorite thing about it is the same as my favorite thing about her previous novel, The Lady and the Lionheart—Bischof is unafraid of crafting physically imposing heroes—with almost brutish physiques—and giving them true, deeply buried, heartbreaking vulnerability. In this novel, Thor—a totally deaf man who struggles with alcoholism—has carried a hatred for his younger brother, blaming him for their mother’s death. It’s something he cannot reconcile and, given the limits of language, has no recourse to really work it out. Nobody writes men better than Joanne. They are interesting and dimensional, their stories crafted so individually to themselves. She’s fearless that way.


What Christian Historical Novel in your To Be Read pile is begging you to make time to plop down with it right now?

There are so many! But two that stand out as an actual challenge are the final titles in the Price of Privilege series by Jessica Dotta. These, too, have been out for a while and just came to my attention in the past year through the gushing of my friend and agent, Rachel McMillan. There’s an urgency here, because the three books comprise a single story arc, and I’ve let far too many other reads get in the way of finishing the series!

Allison is giving away a paperback book (USA entrants only). Enter the Rafflecopter below!

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