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The Tailor's Girl by Fiona McIntosh
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The Tailor's Girl

by Fiona McIntosh

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The Tailor’s Girl by Fiona MacIntosh
This is another delightful historical story from the author of The French Promise and Fields of Lavender. This book could probably be best described as an historical romance with the wounded soldier and his wife as the central characters. The horrors of war and attendant memory loss are as central to this story as is the womens’ movement for equal rights.
The Tailor’s Girl of the title is Edie the daughter of a Jewish tailor based in London. Her desire to lead a life as an independent woman, more than wife and mother, provides an ongoing focus when the hero Tom changes direction through an accident that is no fault of his own.
Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed this tale, the somewhat convenient ending was rather contrived, but having said that it was an enjoyable read with an ending that suggests love conquers all. ( )
  crgalvin | Jan 23, 2014 |
I’ve been eager to read The Tailor’s Girl, having liked everything I have read by Fiona McIntosh, in fact a glowing quote from my review of her last novel, The French Promise appears on the book jacket of this novel. Yet I have to confess that I was disappointed by this story that is essentially a historical romance, which is not my favourite genre.

The characters are appealing, ‘Tom’ is a charming wounded war hero who inspires sympathy as he struggles with amnesia after fighting on the front. Eden is a sweetheart with an innate core of strength who wants more than to be just a wife and mother, with dreams of being a successful designer and seamstress. I desperately wanted them both to find happiness and I was invested in their relationship, which is wildly romantic.

The setting and period are vividly drawn from the English countryside, to the streets of Paris, and the grandeur of London’s Savile Row. McIntosh touches on the post Great War challenges faced not only by the returning soldiers but also the women whose new found freedoms were curtailed upon their return.

But I was dissatisfied with the story of the The Tailor’s Girl. I found the plot to be entirely predictable, and its major turning points were horribly cliche, though I can’t reveal them without risking spoilers. The entire story also felt oddly familiar but it wasn’t until another reviewer pointed out the strong similarities of this story to an old movie, ‘Bitter Harvest’ (based on a novel) released in 1942 (starring Ronald Colman and Greer Garson)that I realised why. To be fair though the details are McIntosh’s own, different from the film’s, and the amnesia trope is common in both film and fiction.

I want to be clear that my disappointment with the novel is purely a matter of genre preference, the writing is of McIntosh’s usual high standard and I found the characters and setting appealing. As such, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend The Tailor’s Girl to any reader who enjoys historical romance, but I have to admit this isn’t a favourite of mine. ( )
  shelleyraec | Dec 9, 2013 |
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A humble soldier, known only as 'Jones', wakes in hospital with no recollection of his past. The few fleeting fragments of memory he glimpses are horrifying moments from the battlefield at Ypres. His very identity becomes a puzzle he must solve. Then Eden Valentine comes gliding into his world, a stunning tailoress who has a dream of her own business in high fashion but whose duty to her family may never permit her to fulfil. Her fiance resents the intrusion of the disarming Jones who is in desperate need of her help to unravel his past. Surrounding the mystery is Alex Wynter, the influential heir to an industrial empire and country manor Larksfell Hall. With his aristocratic family still reeling from a recent tragedy, he brings news that will further rock the foundations of their privileged lives. When their three very different worlds collide, the pieces of the past finally fall into place and lead them into wildly unexpected futures. What they discover will bring shattering consequences that threaten to tear apart far more than just the heart of the tailor's girl. From the bustling streets of post-Great War London to the idyllic 1920s Sussex countryside, this is a breathtaking story of passion and persistence from a phenomenal Australian storyteller about how true love can overcome incredible odds, even in the most extraordinary circumstances.… (more)

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