Review: The Last Honest Seamstress by Gina Robinson

The Last Honest Seamstress Book Cover The Last Honest Seamstress
Gina Robinson
Historical Fiction, Romance
August 4, 2012
Amazon's Top 100

Seattle in 1889 is a hard frontier town full of rough men and prostitutes who call themselves seamstresses.


After too many business setbacks and unwanted marriage proposals, beautiful and ambitious men's tailor Fayth Sheridan desperately needs to find a husband of convenience. Now if she can only convince handsome sea captain Con O'Neill, the one man in Seattle who's shown no interest in her, that he's the one...


When Seattle burns to the ground, taking Fayth's shop with it, Con vows to do anything to protect her. Even marrying her although she's not in love with him. When he's forced to make a deal with Seattle's notorious madam, he risks losing everything, including any chance at love with the last honest seamstress in Seattle.

My Review

I found this book for free on Amazon’s Top 100 and being a fan of historical fiction and romance, I naturally gravitated to click the download button. I’m sad to say this novel left me disappointed. Don’t get me wrong. The Last Honest Seamstress by Gina Robinson has promise. The story just fell short in some areas.

Set in historic 1889 Seattle, Washington, the story begins with the main character Fayth Sheridan meeting a younger girl in prison. Fayth’s been mistaken for a harlot and rounded up with the other “seamstresses,” a title that prostitutes use for cover in the city.

However, Fayth is a real seamstress and has trouble running her dress shop as the last honest seamstress in Seattle. Unable to buy the property she needs to keep her shop, Fayth takes up the desperate idea of marrying the right man in town to acquire a business partner and collateral. Here’s an excerpt from the book:

Fayth’s heart skipped a beat as she recognized the taller of the two as one of her customers, Captain O’Neill. Of good height, with broad shoulders and a narrow waist, he was a tailor’s dream. And if she were honest— a woman’s. Anything looked good on him. Too bad she’d written off good-looking men as disloyal, unfaithful, and untrustworthy…

At first read, I thought Fayth and Con O’Neill made a cute couple. Con is a sea captain who’s had his eye on the little seamstress for some time. Fayth, on the other hand, is strictly looking for a husband to better her business and decides that the captain is the best choice in town.

Of course, every romance needs some tension, and Fayth and Con don’t see eye to eye at first. But at the risk of losing the woman he loves to another man in town, Con agrees to marrying Fayth. At this point, I thought this story was really going to pick up. It didn’t.

From the prologue to Fayth’s date with Mr. Toad and then her meeting with Con and the subsequent long, drawn out financial problems Fayth has in town, personally, I thought the story could have been summed up in far fewer chapters. Describing Fayth’s day to day work, her doubts about the captain, and the captain’s similar doubts about her makes the story seem too much like real life. Sadly, it’s rather dull.

You can call it a pet peeve of mine but reading questions on nearly every page got on my nerves. Does Con need to question everything? Do I need to know Fayth’s every doubt? Do you find too many questions unnerving? Here’s an example of the many questions found in the book:

Twenty minutes later, Con reined his horse in just short of the driveway to his home. The house looked surprisingly quiet. Where was Fayth? The shop was closed. Out making a delivery? Where was Drew, and why wasn’t he running the shop? A cold wave of fear lapped over him— had they run off together?

Another example:

Fayth’s stomach tightened involuntarily. The letter trembled in her hand. Not pay Captain Bailey? How could the Captain abuse his friendship by not paying Captain Bailey for making his mail runs? Who could blame Captain Bailey for his terse anger? But it didn’t seem like something the Captain would do. Were things worse than she knew?

Do you see my point? The numerous questions were one of the reasons I struggled to read to the end. I can understand the occasional question adds tension but the overuse can also seem condescending to the reader. With all the questions, I kept wondering why these characters didn’t know answers to the obvious.

The only reason I finished this book was because I took stock in the characters and, to be honest, I wanted to find out when Con and Fayth would see some action. That brings me to my next point, the awkward sex. Do I really want to go there? Let’s not question this.

I’ll just say that the sex scenes in this romance weren’t your average ilk. There were only a few intimate moments. A kiss on the captain’s ship, a brief scene in the captain’s quarters, which I have to admit was pretty nice until it was interrupted. Then there’s the big finale towards the end and, boy, is it unusual.

I have never ever heard of a comparison between intercourse and the workings of a sewing machine, of needles and such going in and out. I’ll spare you the details. Simply, the awkward analogy just destroyed the moment.

While I liked the characters, I have to say I was disappointed by the repetitious questions, the length of the story, and the dull goings on. The Last Honest Seamstress can be an enjoyable read depending on your personal preference but, in my case, I can’t say I recommend it.

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