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The Sewing Machine  By  cover art

The Sewing Machine

By: Natalie Fergie
Narrated by: Angus King,Ruth Urquhart
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Publisher's summary

It is 1911, and Jean is about to join the mass strike at the Singer factory. For her, nothing will be the same again.

Decades later, Connie sews coded moments of her life into a notebook, as her mother did before her. More than 100 years after his grandmother's sewing machine was made, Fred unpicks the secrets of four generations, one stitch at a time.

©2017 Natalie Fergie (P)2017 W. F. Howes Ltd

What listeners say about The Sewing Machine

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Historical perspective

In the beginning of this book I had difficulty figuring out who was who as the story jumped back and forth into three different time frames. Once I got that down, I became very intrigued. I am a seamstress and I collect and refurbish old sewing machines and take them to Third World countries and teach sewing classes. The old metal sewing machines are the most sought after because, as it says in the book, “They were made to last forever“. Singer machines are the real prize.
I did not know there was a Singer sewing factory in Edinburgh. Following the lives of these people was engaging. Their history represents many others during these times. I appreciated delving into their Family Tree’s because that is something I am also very engaged in. I would like the story to have gone deeper, but enough hints were given to put the pieces together.
The narration with male and female helped bring the characters to life.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in history.

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31 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

1911 to 2016 Scottish Tale of Families and Sewing

This is an amazing tale of the Singer Sewing Machine factory in Kilbowie, Scotland, which was finished in 1885 and was the largest sewing machine factory in the world, employing over 7,000 workers. By 1911, there were 11,000 employees, when twelve women were asked to take on more work for less money, and who eventually went on strike, bringing along the majority of the other employees within a couple days. However, the muscle of the management and long time employees prevailed, and the strike failed. This story begins with two sweethearts who worked at the factory, Jean and Donald, whose lives are changed forever by the strike, and the choices they made. But their lives are also impacted by the sewing machine . . . as Jean continued to take in mending and sewing to supplement the household income . . . as the machine was passed from one generation to the next, lovingly, a history of the work it produced was also passed along . . . until it came to Fred in 2016, whose grandmother owned it . . . the stories from each generation touched me, from the oldest in 1911, to the hardships during WWII to the ones of Fred's childhood and when Fred's grandfather died, leaving him his house and belongings, which included his grandmother's sewing machine . . . as the granddaughter of two sewing grandmas myself, this book will long stay in my memory . . . there is something so down-to-earth and wholesome about learning to sew at the knee of your grandmother . . . its a gift and a skill that is almost gone in this too-busy world we have today . . . I appreciate the frugal nature of those who lived through hard times, saving every scrap of fabric, mending, and re-mending every article of clothing and "making do" with what they had . . . this book is a blessing in so many ways, for the historical value, for the celebration of a bygone art and for the reminiscing of all of us who really miss our grandparents . . .

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16 people found this helpful

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There better be a next book

As an avid pro quilter and seamstress, the title caught my eye. I couldn’t stop listening as the threads of story were woven together so carefully. And then the ending!!! I do hope a next installment is forthcoming as it was an excellent, albeit cliffhanger of an ending.

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9 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Disappointing

I loved the promise of this book. I laboured through in the hope that it was just a slow burn but it would be worth it in the end. It wasn't. The performance was wooden, the characters, who had so much potential, were dull and dare I say boring. This is one of those books that I feel I wasted my time listening to.

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9 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Beautiful story, highly accurate ind detail

There are few books which, at the end, cause grief at the loss of a dear friend, who whispered a sweet story to me as I worked in house and garden. This story enchanted me and filled in a social history of my Scottish forbears. The narrators’ voices and accents conjured the times and places described in a gentle magic.

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7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Recommended, even if you don't sew

I listen to audiobooks to pass the time while I sew. I sew for work and I didn't set out listening to The Sewing Machine for any sort of deep connection to the vocation, despite the obvious connection in the title, but here we are. I enjoyed every part of the story from the labor issues to the family connections and long hidden secrets. I'm better at sewing than I am writing reviews, but I warmly recommend it.

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6 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Painfully boring...

I only finished this book because i paid for it. The story was unbelievably boring ..

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6 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Intricately Woven Plot that satisfies the reader.

History, Legacy and Mystery intertwine as this tale of wartime survival encapsulates seemingly random players in life's game of destiny.

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5 people found this helpful

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An ordinary sewing machine bobbin...

An ordinary sewing machine bobbin that connects people & events beginning in 1911. It all started with the passion of workers & continues with the passion of families.

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4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful historical novel

I love this book and the narrators. I love a book to go to sleep by, and this one is it. And so many mysteries and links between people, and the narrators have such lovely voices. Just great!

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4 people found this helpful