I really enjoyed this book, one of the reasons I like to read historical novels is in the hope that I can learn something new. This book ticked the box on that one, the research that Debbie Rix has done is obvious. She has explored the silk manufacture process from moth to cloth, there is not an overload of information, but has used her characters well to explain, as her characters learn things, then so does the reader. I found Debbie’s writing to be very readable and well set pace, there are a lot of stories within stories in this book, but they have been organised and well laid out so as not to confuse the reader at all. Also included in this are actual artists, designers and weavers there is a very handy section at the back that lists the fact and fiction characters as well a note about how Debbie weaves the two together.
This is a wonderful book written across two-time lines, 1704 and 20017. In 1704 we are introduced to Anastasia and her family from near Verona in Italy. In 2017 we meet Millie on a break with her sort of boyfriend Max.
Millie, a journalist, has been asked to write an article on the regeneration of Italy’s silk trade. She stays at the House of Cocoon, or Villa di Bozzolo, it has been part of the silk trade for many generations and has a deep history. The she meets owners Lorenzo and his sister Elena, they run the villa as a Bed and Breakfast guest house. Lorenzo provides her with much information for her article and is her contact for meeting various other people in the silk trade. She finds Lorenzo very easy to get along with, and has her questioning her life with Max, Lorenzo is her age, attractive and a widow.
Anastasia and her sister Mariette live under the iron rule of their father, their mother doesn’t have the strength to stand up to him so they all live under the threat of a beating from him. Anastasia has two loves, Marco and painting, both are things that her father will not allow, if he knew. He believes painting is not a thing a woman should do, he is of thought that they should be at home doing productive things.
As Millie discovers more about the history of silk manufacture process, Anastasia’s journey runs alongside with her journey into the world.
I would recommend this book to readers of historical fiction, womans fiction and romance. I wish to thank Netgalley and Bookouture for my copy in exchange for my honest and unbiased opinion.
‘On the way back down the grand staircase to the hall, her eye was caught by a portrait, hanging in a particularly dark corner of a landing. It was of a young woman, seated at an easel; she was painting a silk moth, its eggs nestling on a mulberry leaf.’
1704: Anastasia is desperate to escape her controlling and volatile father and plans to marry in secret. But instead of the life she has dreamed of, she finds herself trapped in Venice, the unwilling wife of a silk weaver.
Despite her circumstances, Anastasia is determined to change her fate…
2017: Millie wants more from her relationship and more from her life. So when her boss Max abruptly ends their affair, she takes the opportunity to write a feature in Italy.
Staying in a gorgeous villa, Millie unexpectedly falls in love with the owner, Lorenzo. Together they begin to unravel an incredible story, threaded through generations of silk weavers.
And Millie finds herself compelled to discover the identity of a mysterious woman in a portrait…
BOOK DETAILS & LINKS:
- Paperback: 372 pages
- Publisher: Bookouture (5 July 2017)
- Language: English
- Amazon Link
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