Printed Length: 416 pages
Published: January 10, 2019, by Quercus
Besides reading, my other main hobby is knitting, so I am always interested in fabric arts. When I saw this historical fiction book about weaving silk in England, I knew it was a book I’d enjoy.
The story revolves around two women characters. Esther Thorel is the wife of a Huguenot silk-weaver, and Sara Kemp is a young woman who is tricked into working in a brothel. Esther rescues Sarah from her situation and hires her to work in her household as her ladies maid. She looks upon Sara as her charitable cause in pursuing God’s will, not realizing the hypocrisies she holds. Esther has a creative vision and longs to design the fabrics for the silk weavers. She approaches her husband about designing for his fabrics, but he tells her that it is impossible because she is a woman. Not to be thwarted, Esther secretly works out a deal with one of the journeymen to have her design woven. There are plenty of secrets in the Thorel household, and trouble is brewing because the journeymen weavers are becoming unhappy because of the unfair treatment in the industry of weaving silk.
This is another book about a talented woman who is denied the opportunity to use her skills because of her gender; She perseveres anyway. Sara is also a strong and feisty character. The comparison of their lives from different socio-economic stations highlights that there were little opportunities for any women during that time. Esther’s husband was not a nice man, and there was nothing redeemable portrayed about him. He was not kind to his wife or the journeymen who worked for him. The story is interesting, but I didn’t feel I learned as much about weaving silk as I would have liked. It was fascinating learning about the competition developed during the time because of cheaper fabric that was being sold “under the counter,” causing the silk weavers to lose money.
I did listen to the audiobook version of the book and enjoyed Esther Wane and Shiromi Arserio’s narration.
My Rating: 3.5