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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 (767 )
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4.6 (696 )
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4.6 (703 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Meryl CUMBERLAND CENTER, MAINE, US 05-16-13
    Meryl CUMBERLAND CENTER, MAINE, US 05-16-13 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Overcome with Emotion"

    My grandfather had a premonition and fled Germany before the war. My mother was ten when they emigrated to the United States. Our family lost a lot of family and friends.

    When I listened to this memoir Wanda McCaddon's voice brought back memories of my grandmother's voice. My grandmother taught me to sew.

    This is a truly riveting story of one woman and her family's survival during the Hitler regime. I've read a lot about the war. I have to keep reading about it. It's part of the fabric of my people. This history must be kept alive.

    I am a seamstress and sewed the whole time I listened to this audiobook. My latest quilt got wet from all the tears I shed listening to Sara Turvel's story. I'm so glad she had her story finally published.

    22 of 24 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary roselle, IL, United States 03-06-12
    Mary roselle, IL, United States 03-06-12 Member Since 2009
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    "One of the most moving books..............."

    An incredible story of a survivor both of the holocaust and post-war Germany. And one of the most moving depictions of how the events unfolded that convinced the Jewish people to pack their valuables peacefully and surrender. There is a point in the book when Sara and her sisters dig in the dirt for tiny grass roots to eat and another where they risk their lives to steal a radish. And, you feel a small glimpse of what it must be like to experience true hunger.... I cried. I was outraged and ultimately uplifted by this one woman's courage to want to live and to do her work.

    18 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 10-03-14
    Debbie Toney, Alabama 10-03-14 Member Since 2013

    Retired CFO, Army wife, Mom of five, Grandma of six, two sons who served in combat, love to read books that reflect my values and faith, love mysteries, historical, military stories, and books that don't waste my time . . . if it doesn't have an ending that was worth the wait, I'm not a happy camper.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Romanian Jews and the Holocaust"

    I gained an education on many levels while listening to this incredible book, one of the most descriptive accounts of life in concentration camps that I have ever read/heard. First of all, I did not know about Romania's involvement in WWII and that it joined with the Axis countries in the war (Germany, Japan, Italy). The persecution of the Jewish people began long before the war as young Seren and her siblings were routinely called "dirty jews" by their school mates, and it was ignored and accepted by her parents, who felt blissfully safe in Romania . . . even as the years, months and days grew near to the German invasion. I also first learned about the Hungarian invasion of Romania (near the border in Transylvania) from listening to The Seamstress. I was stunned to learn that part of Romania was split off from the rest and actually was reclaimed by Hungary, as Seren had to flee from Bucharest to her home near Transylvania, only to find it was surrounded by border guards. She got in. That was Seren. DETERMINED. She took the skills she had learned as a seamstress in Bucharest with her to Budapest, Hungary, where her blue eyes and light colored hair did not automatically mark her as a Jew. I never knew that Hungary was an Axis nation either until I listened to this book. Following Seren's journey from Romania to Hungary and then to Auschwitz in Germany, I was totally engrossed in her story. In telling it to her daughter-in-law, her biggest regret was the waste of all those years . . . not anger or bitterness . . . but what she could have done with her life if she'd had those years back. Oh, but what she DID for her sister, her future family, herself and for all humanity in surviving and LIVING through one of the darkest times in history.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen United States 05-26-12
    Karen United States 05-26-12 Member Since 2015

    I've just gotten hooked on audio book this last year & I love them. Now I can "read" a book & do other things like walk or hobbies.

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    "Thankfully a happy ending to the nightmare"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Seamstress to be better than the print version?

    yes, because the narrator was wonderful, wonderful, wonderful and she could read it better to me than I could ever read it to myself!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Seamstress?

    I guess it would be the end of the war right before the rescue


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

    her great voice and enthusiasm and expression
    she gives the main character a personality and spunk


    Any additional comments?

    This book was published after the author died and I just wish she knew how many peoples lives she has touched with her writing. She had so much hope and endurance and positive attitude in the middle of a nightmare. She also went on and didn't dwell on her nightmare. She actually had a good life afterwards.

    19 of 23 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 08-14-13
    Kathy Davis, CA, United States 08-14-13 Member Since 2008

    Newly retired, I am a reading fiend! I like many types of books, both fiction and non-fiction, with the exception of romance and fantasy

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    "Seren Tuval, you are my hero!"

    The holocaust period certainly brought out the very worst in very many people. However, it also brought out the very best in others, Seren Tuval, in particular. What made this story so listenable and wonderful was Seren's personality. She exhibited such strength, such compassion, such intelligence, and such hope. There was never any question in her mind that she might not survive. There was never a moment that she felt sorry for herself. Her optimism and strength is something for us all to emulate or aspire toward.

    The narrator is simply amazing and actually became Seren in my mind. I can't imagine anyone doing a better job of a narration. She nailed it perfectly.

    This is a very intense story. Yet, you can come away from it with a good feeling. I am not sure how that can be, but it is true. Don't be afraid to read another holocaust story. This one is very special. For myself, I will remember this book for a long time. I am so glad I got to know Seren's story!

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jasmine New York, NY, United States 09-08-12
    Jasmine New York, NY, United States 09-08-12 Member Since 2009
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    "Love and survival in equal measure"
    What made the experience of listening to The Seamstress the most enjoyable?

    Wanda McCaddon. I agree with other readers. This is the best account of life in the camps I have read. Whether it was the fact that it was from a female perspective or that love features so heavily in Sara's tale, I don't know whether it would have touched me quite as much if I had read it or it'd had another narrator. When ever I started listening, I became lost in the story, and I find that happens with all of Wanda's narrations.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Seamstress?

    The behaviour of the Auschwitz survivors in the hospital after liberation. It brought home how ferociously these human beings had had to fight for their own survival. How long did it take for them to trust other human beings again?


    Have you listened to any of Wanda McCaddon’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Yes. The usual fabulousness.


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

    Not laugh nor cry but certainly sadness and relief.


    Any additional comments?

    I started listening again as soon as I'd finished it.

    10 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 11-24-12
    Daryl Edmonton, Alberta, Canada 11-24-12
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    "Engrossing, gripping, powerful"
    What did you love best about The Seamstress?

    Yes. It is the story of an unassuming young woman who, despite all the odds, survived one of the deadliest camps in Germany. It is written in such a wayt that you are amazed at her endurance, but she is portrayed as a human, not a heroine.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Saran, Joseph, Ellen and Esther


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

    She had a slight eastern European accent. I know she is British, but her narration is understated and frank without being flat. I did not like her "American" accent in the end of the book, but other than that it was a great read.


    12 of 16 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.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ellaine Santa Fe, NM, United States 03-25-13
    Ellaine Santa Fe, NM, United States 03-25-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Great book"
    If you could sum up The Seamstress in three words, what would they be?


    I enjoyed this book very much. The story kept you wanting to know more and the characters very interesting. The time in history - I enjoyed. The raw emotions captivating.


    5 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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!

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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

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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