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The Seamstress | [Sara Tuvel Bernstein, Louise Loots Thornton, Marlene Bernstein Samuels]

The Seamstress

Told with the same old-fashioned narrative power as the novels of Herman Wouk, The Seamstress is the true story of Seren (Sara) Tuvel Bernstein and her survival during wartime. This powerful eyewitness account of survival, told with power and grace, will stay with listeners for years to come.
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Publisher's Summary

Audie Award Winner, Biography and Memoir, 2013

Told with the same old-fashioned narrative power as the novels of Herman Wouk, The Seamstress is the true story of Seren (Sara) Tuvel Bernstein and her survival during wartime. This powerful eyewitness account of survival, told with power and grace, will stay with listeners for years to come.

©1999 Sara Tuvel Bernstein (P)2011 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"There are many recent accounts of Holocaust victims, but this work stands alone as a testimony to personal strength and an independent spirit." (Library Journal)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.5 (617 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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4.5 (561 )
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Story
4.6 (568 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
 (32)
2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Jennifer United States 06-11-12
    Jennifer United States 06-11-12 Member Since 2014

    Hi there! My name is Jen! One of my New Years Resolutions is to read more! I'll try to review all I can!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "another great account!"
    What did you love best about The Seamstress?

    It's hard to love a story about the holocaust. So much stress and depression the reader has to endure, one has only the imagination to figure out what it really must have felt like. Wth every story of this massacre i read, my love only grows for the strength that the writer had to of had to get through it. In that sense, i love how this book reminded me of tye things that matter in life, and how it reminded me that my probelems are mere ant hills compaired to those that had to live years like this.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    My favorite character, of course, is sara. She may have been tried to the very end, but she didn't loose who she was; keeping her personality and morals strong until the very end, not afraid to atand up for the truth in what she believed, and didn't succumb to what the nazi's wanted her to become.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I loved her flashbacks to her child hood. The moments in life she could remember to keep her going.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I had my happy moments and sad momeits throughout the book, but the strongest was that mokent when it ended and i was reminded of all the little good things in ky life. These stories never fail to make me count my blessings, no matter how smll.


    Any additional comments?

    Highly recomended! The narriation is great, althoufh sometimes hard to decipher between the haracters, her accents made the story more believeabl and

    5 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 03-17-14
    Linda Lou Cave Creek, AZ USA 03-17-14 Member Since 2014

    Obsessive reader, 6-10 books a week, chosen from Member reviews. Fact & fiction, subjects from the Tudors to Tookie, Harlem to Hiroshima, Huey Long to Huey Newton.  In-depth fair reviews - from front to BLACK!!! 

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    "NOT BUYING INTO THIS PARTICULARLY STORY!"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    Not as a true story. This story is too contrived. Overall it's a good emotionally charged read. I just don't believe it as an actual account. I can't find anything about Sara Tuvel Bernstein except as it refers to this book.


    What could the authors have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

    Just call it what it is - FICTION! I don't doubt that Ms. Bernstein suffered some oppression at the hands of the Nazi's. I just don't believe that she was the only survivor among millions to have the kind of resolve - and luck - that she claims in this book.


    What does Wanda McCaddon bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Wanda McCaddon is masterful as always.


    Was The Seamstress worth the listening time?

    Only if you think of it as either fiction or a historical account in which the author has taken considerable literary license. The story IS moving and inspiring - it's just not believable.


    Any additional comments?

    I've read all of the reviews both here and on Amazon.com. Only one other reviewer feels like I do. I know I'm going to take a lot of flack for this, but I wish someone had given me a less emotional review of this book. I'm black and I'm used to Jewish friends claiming to "understand the pain of slavery". Well, no! "Your blues ain't like my blues"! But I always read books about Holocaust survivors out of respect for THEIR plight. However, there was something just not right about this account. Sara seemed to always have the answer or solution to some really horrific situations while her reaction to the deaths of her family members, one by one, was like "Ho hum!" I just didn't believe that one person in millions had the survivor instincts that this writer claimed to possess. It's easy to say you've done this and that when there's no one to refute your assertions.

    The story is well-written and well narrated. But when you "pull the seams apart", it just doesn't fit. There's no way to fact-check the claims of the author. Plus, she was only in that concentration camp for a few months right before the war ended. I found her account of her early life and the years leading up to her so-called "arrest" much more interesting. Living like a hunted animal with no country to call "home" had to be awful. It's when she gets to the camp and on the trains that the story falls apart. Who can go WEEKS without water while doing back-breaking work? Or eight days without food or water packed into a boxcar like sardines? One minute everyone is freezing to death inside the boxcar, then in the same week, the train is sweltering from the weather outside. While the first 75% of the book tells an interesting account, the last becomes overly dramatic and predictable. And, again, I found Sara's total apathy towards the death of her family and camp friends bordering on sociopathic. Why? Because nobody died like she claims.

    Notice that Sara is the only person who repeatedly manages to "save the day" by stealing, smuggling, or hiding enough food for her companions. Under those severe and harrowing circumstances, I know I wouldn't take up with a bunch of losers who never bring anything to the table to help in the survival of the group. When Sara is given a lice-ridden coat in the camp-wide clothing swap, she somehow gets one full of paper money hidden in the lining! And she just happened to have squirreled away a needle and thread in the tightly secured camp so she can rip up the lining to get the money, then sew it back up expertly. Really? As if all of those SS guards were too stupid to notice that the already thin garment just might be a little heavy or bulky! Then she and her friends used the money for TOILET PAPER for several weeks but, again, no one in the camp, prisoners included, noticed them "Benjamins" in the crapper! You haven't wiped your butt in months and that's all you could think to do with a large amount of money? C'mon!

    What I DO believe is that some opportunistic writers saw a KERNEL of a good book after meeting a Holocaust survivor, likely in her dotage. I thought this book would be a first-hand account by an actual survivor who had gone through one horrific act after another during World War II as a Jew in occupied Europe. It turned out to be a compilation of everything that could happen to several people in a "perfect storm" of terror and persecution. Kind of like "Forrest Gump Meets The Fuhrer"! There's something that just didn't pass the "smell test" for me. I almost didn't write a review because I knew others would be upset with my reaction to this book or they would say, being black, I just don't understand the plight of Jewish people. That's absolutely not true. I sympathize and empathize with the hatred endured by Jews THROUGHOUT the history of the world. How could I not when my own ancestors were oppressed, murdered, beaten, lynched, and raped for centuries as recently as the 21st century? Here, I'll just have to take the hit because I'm calling "a spade a spade" - Sara is "shoveling" it a bit deep!

    9 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Huntington Beach, CA, United States 01-27-15
    Laurie Huntington Beach, CA, United States 01-27-15 Member Since 2010

    Love to listen and walk or run and knit, knit knit

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    "Unbelievable great story"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Seamstress to be better than the print version?

    Don't know. I am an audio book fan


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Who else but Sarah. She is the story.


    What about Wanda McCaddon’s performance did you like?

    Her voice portrayed the strength and emotion of the main character. One of my favorite reads of all time.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I did have a reaction to this book and so this is why I am writing this review. Yes, it made me cry and I mean big ole tears.


    Any additional comments?

    I love books that bring strong, warm characters, historical perspectives and facts. This book had it all. One of my all time favorites, can't be missed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen West Linn, OR 01-26-15
    Kathleen West Linn, OR 01-26-15 Member Since 2013
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    "Small triumphs and enormous greatness of spirit."

    A very well written story of a woman, whose story predates, survives and continues after the holocaust. Often a sad, sad story, but strangely mixed with triumph, admiration and some joy.
    Well presented by a matter of fact reading that parallels the matter of fact, unprepossessing manner of a woman who had neither the time or inclination to feel sorry for herself.
    Story only four star as an indication of concern for those who might struggle with depression while reading this.
    Chillingly apropos for the war-torn time and world in which we live.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Dona Ana, NM, United States 01-25-15
    John Dona Ana, NM, United States 01-25-15 Member Since 2008

    Powakee

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    "Slow to start; Hard to Put Down"

    This book contains some real nice hidden gems. I ordered the paper version when I finished. read it! Your life will be enhanced.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Book Lover 01-16-15
    Book Lover 01-16-15

    Book Lover

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    "A Beautiful Woman"

    I wish I could hug and thank Sara for her sacrifice and for enduring the horrific terrors brought by the SS. An inspiring story by a true survivor. It's a miracle she survived. Her determination and mothering instincts kept her, Ellen, Esther and Lilly alive for so long. Thank you for sharing her story.

    Loved the narrator. Fantastic job.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laurie Henson 01-13-15 Member Since 2015

    Mrs. Larr

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    "Open your eyes America!!"

    Nice story. However I think it's an injustice slightly because a lot was withheld on what they were put through and how badly the suffering really was. I think this was due to the author being severely haunted by the memory of it all and couldn't discuss it because it brought it all flooding back giving her nightmares. Her being a positive person in the face of death to keep herself and loved ones alive prevented her from being truly honest and telling a full account about the whole event. It was engrained in her to survive and got in the way. A Lovely woman. How sad to think she couldn't talk about the holocaust because of the horrors and murderous losses and living in fear for the little bit of family to survive. She had to be strong so others wouldn't give in and die. People are already forgetting what happened. We cannot forget because if we do, it will happen again! They are already prepping for it. This time a plan is in effect so the outcome is in their favor this time. The control won't be lost. We need to open our eyes and see the obvious and prepare! Take your head out of the sand it doesn't go away just because you choose to live in ignorance. Doing this only makes it a death penalty for your grandchildren and a future of slavery for their children.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 01-13-15
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    "An amazing tale of survival"

    This is the true story of a woman's survival. Not did she survive but she helped others to survive. Her courage to survive was truly amazing. This is a must book to listen to.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 12-28-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Stopped playing"
    Would you try another book from the authors and/or Wanda McCaddon?

    Yes, I would try other books by the author.


    Any additional comments?

    Audio stopped playing in the middle of the book. I have tried numerous times with different strategies to finish listening without success. A big disappointment.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Linda 12-22-14
    Linda 12-22-14 Member Since 2010
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    "we should never forget."

    I miss the characters now I have finished the book. I will recommend this book to all esp. the young.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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