At the Seams

Fiction - Literary
217 Pages
Reviewed on 06/10/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

I'm a long-time journalist, having written for The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, The Dallas Morning News, Slate, Salon, The Huffington Post,
Child, Medium, Elle, D Magazine, Creators Syndicate and numerous other publications. I began researching an incident in my family's past--the mysterious death of my grandparents' newborn--intending to write a memoir. But with so few available sources and records, I got only so far. So, I turned the story into fiction, and At the Seams is the result.

My short stories have appeared in Folio, The Woven Tale Press, The Barcelona Review, The Concrete Desert Review, Doubleback Review, Brilliant Flash Fiction, Round Table Literary Journal, The MacGuffin and Book of Matches.

I began my career as a television reporter in Biloxi, MS and have held assorted magazine editorships in New York and Dallas. I graduated from Brown University and Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and was selected to attend the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. A native New Yorker, I live near Philadelphia and have two daughters.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Lynda Faye Schmidt for Readers' Favorite

At the Seams by Pamela Gwyn Kripke is a story about family secrets. Told from the main character's perspective, Kate Nichols, it begins with an impactful life-altering scene. Kate is eight years old when she learns from her mother that she’d had an uncle who died in a hospital four days after his birth in mysterious circumstances, a secret that will haunt her for the rest of her life. Interspersed among everyday events, like attending classes at Miss Kellerman’s school of ballet and the fiasco of Changing the Desk Day, are the tumultuous emotions of coming of age and tensions that develop between Kate’s parents. Anxious and curious, Kate struggles to let go of the past, obsessed with the story of the baby who died. Her search culminates in a satisfying ending that hits the sweet spot between feelings of closure and lingering questions.

I liked how the title of this book hints at the unraveling of family secrets while paying homage to the lineage of tailors that Kate Nichols is born into. Pamela Kripke writes effective descriptions that had me picturing every scene in vivid detail. Masterfully utilizing the craft of showing, not telling, I was pulled into the characters' lives by the author and resonated with the complex interweaving of their relationships. Jealousy, insecurity, misunderstanding, unrealistic expectations, and the inability to accept one another and their differences are described with insight and perception. If you like character-driven stories about family ties that bind, blind, and undo us, you’ll enjoy reading At the Seams.


Can’t wait! Sounds like a powerful read!
Love a book that is character driven and uses language to move the story forward and make you think.


Elaine from NY and CO

Very impressive writing! I rarely read this type of book but it fell into my lap. Wow, it had me laughing,crying and learning. Anyone who grew up with a family will be reviewing their first 20-30 years and how you became You a bit more as you read this new book.


As someone who grew up in a Northeast suburb in the sixties, I connected as much with the author’s visual and social details as with the powerful emotional story about family secrets and their affects on future generations. If you enjoy family stories with very relatable details like hot pink carpeting, conflicted parents and loving grandparents you will be touched and possibly forever affected by this story.


This is one of the best Books I have ever read. Smart. Funny. Sad. Emotional. I did not want the book to end but that was the only way to get to the fabulous ( and unexpected) ending. Pamela Kripke is a special writer. Do yourself a favor and read this Book. You can thank me later.


A page turner that draws you in immediately!
A story one can truly relate to.
At The Seams tells a family tale. I’m constantly
re-thinking their story.
She did a brilliant job of sharing a tale of family life.

Steve Oskie

This book is wise, well observed, and suspenseful from its original premise to the moment its final surprise is revealed. Along the way, the author’s understanding of childhood and adolescence (and how our early thought patterns evolve and shape us as adults) - makes for a truly meaningful experience.

Debbie Zager

Such an interesting novel! Written with precision and grace, not a wasted word among them. Stylistically different from anything else I have ever read. The characters are exquisitely detailed and by the end of the book you feel as if you know them personally and feel the joys and the sorrows as if they were your own. A fine first novel. A gem! I was sad when the book ended but the ending was absolutely perfect, if unexpected, and that made it all the better. Read it! Enjoy it!

James L

Such a good book, so brilliantly written: I loved it and its characters, and I hope Ms. Kripke writes many more about them. In the meantime, I'm going to have to read it again.


A terrific book – emotional without being cloying, and so very perceptive about the “blood lines” that weave a multi-generational family together.

Amazon Customer

With a needle and thread on the cover, I wouldn't have thought this book would be for me, but the first pages drew me in and kept me hooked. Not just a story for women, At the Seams is a journey of discovery, duty and love, and at its heart a tale of people trying to do the best with what they've been given.

The specificity of the details--of the tragic incident, the dressmaking, the culture of the 1960s--was particularly enthralling. I felt that I was right there with Kate, the charming, off-center and memorable protagonist, both awkward and secure, tenacious and playful, smart for her years.

Kripke's writing is approachable yet artistic, just the right mix of literary and commercial appeal. Definitely would recommend to both men and women.

Dennis C. Burns

There is a certain grace to the writing, and intelligence to her approach. Time spent with the writer and her work can only be good for a soul.


The writing in this book is wonderful! A heartfelt story where the author was able to capture every emotion. Could not recommend reading this more. Looking forward to the sequel!

Barbara M

At the Seams is an intriguing and heartfelt story of uncovering a family secret and understanding how family relationships so reflect those who came before us. Such a well written read by this talented author.


This book is incredible! I loved the voice of the young girl and the complex relationships between all the characters. This is a must read, and I enjoy everything this author writes.