I'll shoot straight: I wanted to read The Hatmaker's Heart because of what I'd heard about Carla Stewart's precise and layered storytelling, not because of the subject.
Did I expect to be swept up into the story of a girl whose passion is exclusive hat design, when the only hat I wear is a baseball cap? No, I did not.
Did I expect to smell, taste, and feel the 1920's like I never had before? No, I did not. I'd never cared much about that era, or its luxury and pre-Depression invincible-prosperity attitudes. (The only other Jazz Age book I'd read was Karen Halvorsen Schreck's Sing for Me.)
Was I very surprised and impressed with this novel? Yes! Carla Stewart's book never felt like modernity shoved back into history. It just felt right.
Young Nell Marchwold's talent and dedication could find full expression in the thriving fashion world of the Jazz Age.... if her boss would allow her creativity some freedom. Nell is dedicated to crafting headpieces that finish lovely outfits and make a woman's natural beauty shine forth. Why can't Oscar Field's see that? At some level, Nell is content with her life whether or not her dreams are realized.... but is there more in store for her?
So... historical settings, the day to day life of a promising designer, Nell's personal history slowing unfolding, and Nell's own blossoming as a confident and assured person... it makes for great reading!
Thank you Litfuse for my review copy!
Carla Stewart’s writing reflects her passion for times gone by as depicted in her first highly-acclaimed novel, Chasing Lilacs. Carla launched her writing career in 2002 when she earned the coveted honor of being invited to attend Guidepost's Writers Workshop in Rye, New York. Since then, her articles have appeared in Guideposts, Angels on Earth, Saddle Baron, and Blood and Thunder: Musings on the Art of Medicine.
In her life before writing, Carla enjoyed a career in nursing and raising her family. Now that their four sons are married and they’ve become empty-nesters, she and her husband relish the occasional weekend getaway and delight in the adventures of their six grandchildren.