A Remarkable Historical: Read Our Review of The Seamstress of Sardinia by Bianca Pitzorno

A Remarkable Historical: Read Our Review of The Seamstress of Sardinia by Bianca Pitzorno

The Seamstress of Sardinia is the irresistible story of a young woman seeking freedom and happiness.

Born into poverty, the seamstress spends her days sewing in the houses of wealthy families. Her work is simple and honest; taught by her nonna, she skilfully prepares nightgowns, undergarments and children’s clothes, leaving the finer work of dressmaking to the ateliers in Paris.

Her story weaves in and out of the lives of the people she works for, whose secrets and scandals she is privy to. Some are kind and generous, others blinded by their desire to climb the social ladder. She dreams of freeing herself from the hardscrabble life she has inherited but can’t help being pulled back in by the love of the people around her.

Set at the dawn of the twentieth century, The Seamstress of Sardinia follows the girl as she grows into a woman, strives to educate herself and falls in love – always fighting for her independence in a world dominated by men and old social conventions.

Bianca Pitzorno is a household name in Italy, having written seventy works of fiction and non-fiction for both adults and children since the seventies. Remarkably, The Seamstress of Sardinia is the first of her adult novels to be translated into English (by Brigid Maher). What a joy it is for English-speaking lovers of Italian fiction and historical fiction to be able to read Pitzorno’s work.

The novel follows a strong female protagonist through her younger years, as she grows up living with significant hardship. Like her nonna, she becomes a sartina, a live-in seamstress, at a time when the wealthy often paid for this service. Pitzorno’s novel is interwoven with commentary about class relations that were prevalent at the time in Sardinia, with the exploitation of the working class and poor working conditions of garment workers a pressing issue. It is also a feminist work, as the seamstress eschewed many conventional women’s roles. For anyone interested in fashion and sewing, not to mention stunning Italian landscapes, this book is filled with beautiful descriptions.

The Seamstress of Sardinia is an inspiring work of historical fiction with themes of class and gender roles that transcend the time in which it is set. I strongly recommend it to readers of Elena Ferrante and Isabel Allende, as well as lovers of Italian culture and history.

Buy a copy of The Seamstress of Sardinia here.

Reviews

Inspiring: Read an Extract from The Seamstress of Sardinia by Bianca Pitzorno

Review | Extract

11 May 2022

Inspiring: Read an Extract from The Seamstress of Sardinia by Bianca Pitzorno

    Publisher details

    The Seamstress of Sardinia
    Author
    Bianca Pitzorno
    Publisher
    Text Publishing
    Genre
    Fiction
    Released
    03 May, 2022
    ISBN
    9781922330536

    Synopsis

    The irresistible story of a young woman seeking freedom and happiness.

    Born into poverty, the seamstress spends her days sewing in the houses of wealthy families. Her work is simple and honest; taught by her nonna, she skilfully prepares nightgowns, undergarments and children’s clothes, leaving the finer work of dressmaking to the ateliers in Paris.

    Her story weaves in and out of the lives of the people she works for, whose secrets and scandals she is privy to. Some are kind and generous, others blinded by their desire to climb the social ladder. She dreams of freeing herself from the hardscrabble life she has inherited but can’t help being pulled back in by the love of the people around her.

    Set at the dawn of the twentieth century, The Seamstress of Sardinia follows the girl as she grows into a woman, strives to educate herself and falls in love—always fighting for her independence in a world dominated by men and old social conventions.

    Bianca Pitzorno
    About the author

    Bianca Pitzorno

    Bianca Pitzorno was born in Sardinia in 1942. Since 1970 she has published seventy works of fiction and non-fiction, for adults and children. Her books have sold more than two million copies in Italy and been translated into many languages. The Seamstress of Sardinia is the first of her adult works to be translated into English. Pitzorno has also translated into Italian books by J. R. R. Tolkien, Sylvia Plath, Tove Jansson and David Grossman.

    Books by Bianca Pitzorno

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