Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Sunday, June 1, 2014

The Pre-Raphaelite Seamstress by Amita Murray (2014)

The Pre-Raphaelite Seamstress by Amita Murray is a very exciting atmospheric novel set in mid-19th century London, focusing on a Rachel Faraday, a seamstress of Anglo-Indian Heritage.   Among other things it is a fascinating murder mystery which kept me reading on eagerly to see what would happen next.  Murray well depicts the Hogartian horrors of the streets of London.  She makes her living as a seamstress, specializing in fabrics painted in the style of the Dante Gabriel Rossetti, the center of the artistic world with a rock star magnetism for London Ladies.  Rachel is looked down on by her affluent lady clients as a "tradeswoman".  

One seemingly lucky day Rachel meets in an interesting way a quality gentleman and a mutual attraction develops.  She sees a possible way out of her lonely life. The next day he is arrested for murder.  The rest of the novel focuses around Rachel 's efforts to prove he is innocent before he hangs.  She only has thirty days.  We follow her and her cousin Gil as they transverse London, from society mansions to very rough dock side taverns.  We go along on her prison visits.

Rachel meets and becomes a pupil of and model for Dante Gabriel Rossetti.  He promises to help her raise her income through lessons if she will pose for him.  Much of the power of Rachels's personality comes out through her interaction with Rosseti.

The Pre-Raphaelite Seamstress is a first rate historic murder mystery romance novel with some sex and well researched London lore thrown in for good measure.  The ending is really good and took me quite by total surprise.  We also learn a bit about Rachel's Indian heritage. I hope Amita Murray will write a set in India novel dealing more with this soon.

Official Bio

Author of Confessions of a Reluctant Embalmer and The Pre-Raphaelite Seamstress

Amita Murray has worked as a dancer, arts writer, fashion editor, seller of Christmas flowers, PR assistant for supercomputers, counsellor for a jobs website and hen party host. She was working as an academic when she did what you're never supposed to do - she left her full-time job to do more writing.

Even when she tries to write serious stuff, it tends to come out a bit funny, so she tries not to write about serial killers. She loves chocolate, dysfunctional families, and world peace. Her short stories have been published in Brand, Inkspill, and other platforms. Her novels are available on Amazon. For updates, check out @AmitaMurray and

Amita Murray has kindly agreed to a Q and A session so please look for that soon.

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