Monday, February 9, 2009

24 - The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard; Erin McGraw

The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard: A Novel was a great historical novel based on the life of the author’s grandmother.

From the book...."I couldn't cook, but I could sew. It would have been better the other way around."

At the turn of the 20th century, Nell is just a young teenager when she marries a rancher, moves in with her in-laws and soon after has two little girls –all within a couple of years. Nell is depressed and unhappy with her life in Kansas, but she has no one to share her feelings with. She convinces her husband to let her have a sewing machine, so she can have a creative outlet.
She finds that she has real talent, and she begins to earn some money sewing beautiful dresses for wealthy women in the area. She quickly finds sewing is her passion, not cooking, cleaning, and mothering her daughters. She puts the money she earns from sewing dresses away, and dreams about a different and more exciting life.

Before long her mother-in-law begins to interfere, and her husband begins to criticize her mothering skills. Nell is infuriated when Jack also sells her sewing machine. So much so that she leaves her husband, young daughters, and the mother-in-law in Kansas and heads for California.

In California Nell begins a new life. She works as a shop girl and soon begins sewing again for wealthy clients, and then for the motion picture industry. Nell remarries and she neglects to tell her new husband about her past. She even has another child. Nell can run, but she cannot hide, soon her past catches up with her.

I enjoyed the character of Nell very much, and it was interesting reading about Hollywood in the early 20th century. I did have a bit of a problem with the ending as I think it seemed unrealistic given the time when this novel was to have taken place. I won't elaborate as I do not want to give away the ending. All in all The Seamstress of Hollywood Boulevard: A Novel was still an enjoyable read.

RATING - 4/5 - COMPLETED - 2/8/09

1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a good one, Diane. I always wish I had paid more attention to my mother's attempts to teach me to sew. I've tried to pick it up as an adult, but I just don't seem to have the knack for it no matter how much I practice and try.


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