If Susanna Bavin ever needs an alternative career, I think she should consider being a hypnotist.
I’m sure she must have had some training already because the minute I see one of her books, it’s impossible to look away; anything could be happening around me and I wouldn’t notice.
Her third book, The Sewing Room Girl, is a powerfully written story, full of twists and turns, heartbreak and smiles, that will stay with me for a long time.
Here’s the blurb:
Born into service, sixteen-year-old Juliet Harper has always idolised her mother, Agnes. But Agnes is haunted by what could have been, and the glamorous life she might have lived if she stayed in Manchester rather than settling down in the Lancashire moorland with her husband.
Life takes another unexpected turn when Juliet’s father suddenly dies. Agnes’s reputation as a seamstress leads to her being taken on by local landowners the Drysdales, where she is proud to work. But it will be a bumpy road for both of them as they settle in to their new lives.
Will Juliet ever be able to choose her own path? And what will become of them when Agnes falls ill?
Every single character pulls their weight. As usual, Susanna’s villains are enough to make me shiver when I think about them, even now. Also, I think plucky, courageous Juliet might just be my favourite of Susanna’s leading ladies (and I don’t say that lightly).
The time period (1890s) and location seem meticulously researched. Susanna has the perfect touch when it comes to weaving in interesting little titbits of the time without making it seem like a history lesson.
Her wonderfully warm writing style lured me deeper and deeper into the tale until I felt like I was there living it with them.
I pre-ordered this one and I will be doing the same with book four.
Price: £2.48 (via Amazon).
My rating: Five stars.
Susanna was one of my first Behind The Book interviewees last year, talking to me just before debut was published. You can read more here.