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Ratings and Book Reviews (11 43 star ratings
11 reviews
)

Overall rating

4.3 out of 5
43
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  • 9 person found this review helpful

    9 people found this review helpful

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    A master tale of master weavers

    Many thanks to NetGalley, Blackstone Publishing and Sonia Velton for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. My opinions are 100% my own and independent of receiving an advance copy. This story is inspired from the real life of Anna Maria Garthwaite, a prominent designer of Spitalfields silks in the mid-eighteenth century. This story tells the tale of two characters, Esther and Sara who come from very different worlds. Esther is married to a Hugenot master silk weaver and although she is kept busy doing charity work and running the household, she craves something more. She loves to paint but what she really wants to do is design silks. But these are not times when women should want things and Esther has not done her most important job, which is to bear children, especially a son. Only a son can inherit his father’s trade and making silks has been in the Thorel family for generations. Sara, on the other hand, has been sent by her mother to London to try and make a better life for herself. She is quickly taken advantage of and before she even knows what is happening to her becomes a prostitute. Sara also yearns for more and doesn’t see why she shouldn’t have a good life. One day Esther takes notice of Sara and reaches out to help her. Sara goes to work for the Thorels and before long becomes Esther’s lady maid. This is not the life Sara envisioned for herself, emptying her lady’s chamber pot and doesn’t understand why, because of birth, she is relegated to a life of servitude. Esther is so ignorant of Sara’s life, yet she also wants to break out of the chains set upon her by the world. Esther dares to take up with Lambert, who is using Mr. Thorel’s loom to create his masterpiece and hopefully one day become a master weaver. Slowly he teaches Esther how to create a pattern and weave silk. Both woman yearn for a different life, but can they make it happen? This one caught me by surprise. I wasn’t quite sure what I was in for but boy was I surprised. Then, to find out that it was inspired by real events - really incredible. This story is beautifully laid out, really exploring both women’s desires and the many sides there are to women. Velton stays true to their characters and never do they fall into some neat package, behaving as you would expect. You have the class struggle between Sara and Esther. Esther feels Sara should be so grateful to her for “rescuing” her, but Sara has a different perspective. Both women are pushing back against the narrow role of women in that century and have forward thinking views. The men in their lives, sadly, don’t care to see them for anything other than what they should be. So you have all of these different things at play and as a backdrop you have a volatile story of the weavers revolting against the masters. There is a strict hierarchy of weavers, similar to class structure and Lambert is striving to be something more. Then the master weavers are trying to keep their trade alive amongst the influx of new fabrics from India and China. I loved learning about the silk trade and never does the story become convoluted. There is a clear pace that accelerates with the heightened fervour of the tradesmen with time running out for both Sara and Esther. I enjoyed this read so much and was very engrossed in the story. Strong writing kept this story intact and I couldn’t put it down.
  • 3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    Excellent read

    Historical novels are a great place to learn about a small point in time. It still amazes me though how women were viewed as second class citizens. This book is about a woman married to a master Weaver with a talent of her own. The story knits the upstairs upper class people with the downstairs help into a story I couldn’t put down. This is a well written novel that I highly recommend!
  • 0 person found this review helpful

    0 people found this review helpful

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    An excellent read!

    This novel was detailed and believable. Well written. Had trouble putting it down! Historically accurate. Thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

    0 people found this review helpful

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    Blavkberry and Wild Rose

    A very interesting story about silk weaving in England. Along with being entertained, I learned a lot.
  • 0 person found this review helpful

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    Wonderful

    The author has done a very good job of invoking authentic time, place and ideas while keeping the story focussed on very real characters. I feel some of the story could have used a little more filling out but overall a great read and interested in seeing more from this author.
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