THE SEWING ROOM GIRL

 

1892. When her beloved father dies, 15-year-old Juliet Harper and her mother, the difficult but vulnerable Agnes, are left to fend for themselves. So when Agnes finds a job as a seamstress in the Drydales' ancestral home on the Lancashire moors and the pair start their work, things appear to be looking up. But with their new life comes new challenges, and just as Juliet begins to find her feet, Agnes falls ill, leaving her daughter defenceless and alone.

 

Without her mother to protect her, Juliet finds herself the victim of a traumatic incident and is left to face an impossible dilemma. In her vulnerable position and with the life she worked so hard to build hanging in the balance, she flees to Manchester seeking support from her estranged family. She comes up against her formidable grandmother, the ruthless businesswoman Adeline Tewson, who is determined to bend Juliet to her will and harness her natural talent as a designer.

 

It will take all Juliet's ingenuity to stand up to Adeline and set up her own dressmaking business. But someone is out to destroy her. Is it Adeline... or could it be an old enemy from the past?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UK hardback         (8 Nov 2018)

 

UK Kindle              (22 Nov 2018)

 

UK paperback       (23 May 2019)

 

US hardback         (2 Feb 2019)

 

US Kindle              (22 Nov 2018)

 

US paperback       (23 May 2019)

 

Canada Kindle      (22 Nov 2018)

 

Australia Kindle     (22 Nov 2018)

 

 

REVIEWS OF THE SEWING ROOM GIRL

 

After the Rain Comes the Sunshine - link

"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. 

 

"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."

 

Places in The Sewing Room Girl

 

Market Street in Manchester

 

 

This is Market Street, where Juliet finds work, designing costumes for Ingleby's to make for their middle-class clientele.

 

Here is her first visit there, when she has made the momentous decision to prepare some dress designs to send them in the hope of impressing the legendary Miss Lindsay.

 

Two interminable days crawled by before she could rush to Market Street in the city centre. Although she was used to the crowded environment now, the sight of the line of smart shops on either of the long road was bewildering, but she soon found Ingleby’s, a spacious shop spread over three floors, selling everything a needleworker could possibly want.

 

She examined fabrics, making notes on colour, texture, weight and width; she used a few precious coins to purchase samples of ribbon, braid, piping and lace trim. She drew a selection of buttons, then went into Ladies' Accessories to make more notes. She already had one costume pretty well complete inside her head. Before she left the shop, she bought some off-cuts so she could start work on new samples.

 

 

St Ann's Square

 

 

This is St Ann's Square, off which, in Caroline Street, is Mademoiselle Antoinette's exclusive dressmaking salon, where Juliet goes to find her aunt Clara.

 

 

St Ann’s Square housed handsome buildings several storeys high, all of which seemed to have a shop on the ground floor. What all those upper floors were for, she couldn’t imagine. In Birkfield, shopkeepers lived above their shops, but perhaps that was something that happened only in the provinces. Hansom cabs were lined up along one side, ready for customers, and over there was St Ann’s church, in front of which was a statue of a man, but she didn’t get to see his name because she came to Caroline Street.

 

It was a blind alley with three shops on either side and another at the end, each with a diamond-paned bow window. Above the middle window on the right-hand side was a green-and-cream striped awning with a scalloped edge, an ornamental touch that didn’t conceal the name of the shop, which was painted in elegant script above the window: Mademoiselle Antoinette.

In the bow window stood three pictures on small easels, each a detailed drawing of a lady in a fashionable costume. Behind was a green-and-cream panel, so Juliet couldn’t see into the shop. She didn’t want to go in if there were customers. Should she have written after all? But she hadn’t wanted to give Auntie Clara the opportunity to say no.

 

She peered through the glass panel in the door. A smartly-dressed woman was seated at an elegant table, her head bent over something she was writing. There weren’t any customers. She pushed open the door, automatically listening for the bell to tinkle overhead, but there was no sound – except for a sharp intake of breath across the room.

 

‘Good afternoon,’ she said. ‘Please may I see Mademoiselle Antoinette?’

‘How dare you enter this establishment?’ The woman came to her feet. ‘Depart this instant!’

Juliet felt panicky. The woman swept towards her.

‘Please – I must see Mademoiselle Antoinette.’

'The presumption,' snorted the woman. She grasped Juliet by the arm.

Her head felt odd and swirly. ‘You don’t understand. Mademoiselle Antoinette – Miss Clara Tewson – I’m her niece.’

‘I beg your pardon?’

And then –