Friday, March 27, 2015

Cut from Strong Cloth by Linda Harris Sittig:Book Review with Excerpt

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Title:  Cut From Strong Cloth

Author:  Linda Harris Sittig

Published:  November 21st, 2014

Publisher:  Freedom Forge Press

Genre:  Historical Fiction

Content Warning:  Non-graphic sexual content

Recommended Age:  18+

Synopsis:  At nineteen, Ellen Canavan lives for the dream of her late father: to succeed in business. But being a woman in 1861, she finds the path to entrepreneurship blocked many times over. The threat of war, her mother’s disapproval, and even a malicious arsonist threaten to limit the aspiring textile merchant to the status of impoverished Irish immigrant. As she travels from the factories of Philadelphia to the riverfront wharves of Savannah with her business mentor, James Nolan, the Civil War explodes amidst their blossoming love, and the two are separated. Can Ellen’s undaunted, fiery strength guide her through a divided nation, or must she abandon her dream in order to save her own life? 

Excerpt from Cut From Strong Cloth by Linda Harris Sittig: 

“Then you don’t know me as well as you think. Remember when I told you I wouldn’t let disappointments interfere with my dreams of success? Weaving is my legacy from Da. I was meant to become a textile merchant all along. And I don’t need anyone taking care of me. I can take care of myself.”
“Ellen, your Da’s been dead for years. You don’t owe him a thing.”
Her eyes stormed as she held her head high. “I’ll succeed for him because he never got the chance.”
James shook his head. “If I canna talk you out of this foolhardy scheme, then I won’t be giving you my blessings for the trip.”
“I dinna ask for them.”


I enjoyed this historical fiction book about an immigrant woman with the gumption and fortitude to dream big and create a successful business despite setbacks at every turn.  Set during the tumultuous dawn of the American Civil War, I found the historical detail particularly interesting.  I loved the way in which Ellen’s story was woven into the fabric of the divided country.   Ellen worked hard to educate herself about the various textiles and had a burning desire to provide quality material where the need was greatest.  Always at odds with her mother, she was determined to fulfill her deceased father’s dream. Capitalizing on her charm and wit, Ellen cultivated a small group of mentors and friends who helped her in her endeavors, but when honey failed, she had no qualms employing other methods when the stakes were high enough.

Ellen kept her goals in sight by remembering her beloved father, so when setbacks occurred she tended to roll with the punches then devise a better, alternate strategy to accomplish her mission.  Overall, I liked Ellen and cheered her triumphs right along with her.  I thought the cast of characters seemed authentic and their interactions natural.  There was, however, a firebug twist that in my opinion was superfluous.  For me, it added nothing of consequence to an already fine story.  Of particular note, Ellen’s small party had a harrowing journey home at the onset of the war that gave me chills.  Finally, I especially liked the author’s notes at the end of the book explaining the source and inspiration for the novel.  If you love American historical fiction featuring a strong-willed female lead then I bet you will like this book.

This book was provided to me in exchange for my honest review.

Reviewed by Laurie-J

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About the Author:

Born in New York City, and raised in northern New Jersey, Linda’s love of history and a commitment to family and literacy led her to a career in writing articles and books for parents, grandparents, and teachers on how to instill the love of reading in children of all ages. Twice recognized for her journalism by the Virginia Press Association, Linda and her husband live in western Loudoun County, Virginia, where the Blue Ridge Mountains are the first to greet the dawn.

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Freedom Forge Press Publishing Links:

Giveaway Details:

There is a tour wide giveaway. Prizes include the following:

  • Print copy of Cut From Strong Cloth (US)
  • Ebook copy of Cut From Strong Cloth (INT)
  • $10 Amazon Gift Card (INT)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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