☼ Delighted to host today's blog tour stop on Publication Day ☼
6 August 2020
My thanks to the publisher for my copy of this book
and the invitation to be part of the blog tour
To unravel the story of that long-lost summer, she had to follow the thread... Florence Connelly is broken-hearted; her beloved grandmother has just died and her marriage has collapsed. But things change when she opens a box of vintage 1960s dress patterns, discovered inside her grandmother's wardrobe. Inside each pattern packet is a fabric swatch, a postcard from Europe and a faded photograph of a young woman wearing the hand-made dress. Why did Flo's grandmother never speak of this mysterious woman - Nancy Moon? Her life in tatters, Flo decides to remake Nancy's dresses, and to head across to the Continent to recreate Nancy's Grand Tour of 1962. As she follows the thread, Flo begins to unravel an untold story of love and loss in her family's past. And perhaps to stitch the pieces of her own life back together...
What did I think about it..
"Some goodbyes last merely a few hours, but some will have to last a lifetime"
Thus starts the story of the search for the eponymous Nancy Moon in a story that takes us on a fascinating journey into the Europe of the 1960s and the hedonistic pleasure places where champagne flowed and golden sunshine made everything shimmer with light and promise.
When Peggy, Florence’s beloved grandmother dies, she discovers amongst her possessions, hidden away at the back of the wardrobe, a set of vintage dress patterns and tucked inside the packets are tantalising clues to a woman who Florence has never heard of and who, it seems, had mysterious connections to Peggy, and her friends, in the 1960s. What then evolves is a wonderful dual time story which follows Florence in the present as she begins a journey, which takes her from London and Paris, to the beautiful island of Capri, and then on into Italy to discover more about the mysterious Nancy Moon.
I just loved this story from the beginning, it’s one of those immersive sort of reads which wraps itself around you so comfortably that you stop wondering where reality ends and the story begins. I travelled every step of the modern day journey with Florence, delighting when she recreated Nancy’s beautifully chic fashions and rejoicing when she discovered another small clue into what happened to Nancy. I enjoyed very much the delightful way the dual time element blended seamlessly so that when Flo’s chapters take a rest, Nancy’s story is allowed time to unfold in beautiful detail, and it’s all done with a lovely light touch and a clever eye for picking out the small nuances which make the characters such a pleasure to get to know.
The author’s passion for story telling shines through with every well written word. No small detail is left unexplored, from the imagery of 1960s fashion, to the painstaking attention to detail as Florence recreates the beautiful fashion items handmade by Nancy from McCall’s and Butterick’s dressmaking patterns. These are brands I know well as my late mother, herself a dressmaker, would use similar patterns in the sixties, laying the paper pieces on the floor in order to cut out and create for herself, or for me, wonderful clothes from pretty cottons and crisp linens.
It’s been an absolute delight in this lockdown summer to be able to travel to continental Europe on the train from Waterloo station with Nancy and to alight at the Gare du Nord in Paris with Flo. Family secrets, hidden heartbreak, love, loss and friendship all combine to make The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon into something very special indeed and one of my favourite stories this year.
About the Author
Sarah Steele trained as a classical pianist and violinist in London, before joining the world of publishing as assistant at Hodder and Stoughton. She was then for many years a freelance editor. She now lives in Stroud and in 2018 was the director of Wordfest at Gloucester Cathedral, which culminated in a suffragette march led by Helen Pankhurst. The Missing Pieces of Nancy Moon is her debut novel.
Twitter @sarah_l_steele #FollowNancyMoon