Blackberry & Wild Rose by Sonia Velton
Summary: WHEN ESTHER THOREL, the wife of a Huguenot silk-weaver, rescues Sara Kemp from a brothel she thinks she is doing God’s will. Sara is not convinced being a maid is better than being a whore, but the chance to escape her grasping ‘madam’ is too good to refuse.
INSIDE THE THORELS’ tall house in Spitalfields, where the strange cadence of the looms fills the attic, the two women forge an uneasy relationship. The physical intimacies of washing and dressing belie the reality: Sara despises her mistress’s blindness to the hypocrisy of her household, while Esther is too wrapped up in her own secrets to see Sara as anything more than another charitable cause.
IT IS SILK that has Esther so distracted. For years she has painted her own designs, dreaming that one day her husband will weave them into reality. When he laughs at her ambition, she unwittingly sets in motion events that will change the fate of the whole Thorel household and set the scene for a devastating day of reckoning between her and Sara.
THE PRICE OF a piece of silk may prove more than either is able to pay.
4 stars. Blackberry and Wild Rose tells the stories of two young women in eighteenth-century London. Sara has just arrived in the city, where she is manipulated into becoming a prostitute at a tavern. She is rescued by Esther Thorel, the wife of a master silk weaver who wants to design silk herself. But the Thorel household is not as perfect as it seems. I thought that Blackberry and Wild Rose was a very interesting, well-researched book. I enjoyed learning about how silk is made, and about the revolts of the silk journeymen in London. The plot was unpredictable, and the characters were well-developed, though the two main characters seemed very similar at times. This is a book that I think a lot of historical fiction readers would love. I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.
This book will be released on May 7th.
Note: I was provided with a free ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.