Cut From Strong Cloth, Linda Sittig's debut novel was inspired by a real woman, Ellen Canavan, a young Irish immigrant herself as a businesswoman in the cut-throat textile industry of 1861 Philadelphia. As she fights to establish her credentials for the design of a superior cloth for soldiers' uniforms, the Civil War erupts, and a malicious arsonist sets out to destroy her. Ellen's design incorporated Pennsylvania wool and Georgia cotton to produce a strong cloth comfortable for soldiers to wear, yet sturdy enough to survive a battle. She travels from the factory floors of Philadelphia to the cotton wharves of Savannah with her business mentor, James Nolan; then Fort Sumter is fired upon as their love for each other starts to blossom. On the perilous journey back north, the pair stop in Manassas, Virginia and Ellen is forced to draw upon her fiery strength to guide her through a divided nation. Just when her safety finally seems to be a reality, she finds herself alone and trapped in a factory with the fire-setter. As the arsonist ignites a flame, Ellen is confronted with a choice of abandoning her dream in order to save her life. Sittigs says of the novel," I was so impressed with the tenacity and courage of the real Ellen Canavan and her heritage as the daughter of an Irish weaver, that I had to write a story that would showcase her as the strong woman she had to be ."
Cut From Strong Cloth has received praise from the textile industry itself. Jeanne M. Cumiskey, Director of Fabric Research and development at Abercrombie and Fitch says of the novel, Sittig has brought the past to life with a fascinating look into the textile industry of pre-Civil War Philadelphia and the unshakeable spirit of a young woman who fought to change the status quo. Superbly researched, this is a story that you will not forget and will leave you longing for a sequel."