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The Hidden Thread by Liz Trenow

The Hidden Thread by Liz Trenow

New to me author Liz Trenow is on the blog today with the US release of her story about the silk weavers in 18th century Britain, and based on family history. Please read on for my review of

The Hidden Thread

George III (the one who lost the colony of America) is on the throne and luxury for the rich and well-to-do is always in demand. While some manufacturers of luxury goods are still in operation, most significantly, those who weave and sell silk are in the early years of labor uprisings: domestically woven silk is still in production, but the cost savings in importing and reselling French made silks is a boon to the bottom line, so jobs are few and wages are poor. These sorts of labor issues are slowly gaining footholds, with riots that turn violent and a resurgence of the us v them mentality that is so integrally ingrained with the social class system in Britain at the time. Into this mix of conflict and increased adherence to societal norms enters Anna, niece of the Sadlers, on her first journey to London to make an advantageous match. The Sadler business is silk: and they have built a successful business, and are willing to sponsor Anna on her search for a husband.

But all does not move smoothly: Anna arrived at Spital Square, expecting to meet her cousin William. But, no one is there to greet her, and overcome with heat, nerves and lack of food, she faints: regaining consciousness with a young Frenchman, Henri, who is kindly caring for her until her cousin arrives to berate Anna and cuff Henri for his ‘liberties”. Of course, the contrast between the two men couldn’t be more clear, and Anna is interested in the young man who showed her such kindness. While there is Anna’s budding romance with a very unsuitable man, due to his working class status, she is also overwhelmed and bored with the restrictions of her place and position in her new home. While she and her cousin Lizzie get on well, Anna’s sketches and paintings are suffering as she isn’t free to roam the fields or gardens drawing inspiration.

Throughout the story, Trenow brings in factual and historical elements: we learn about the silk weaving and trade, the labor difficulties, and plenty about the societal expectations that so burdened Anna in her new London home. Descriptions are lush and deceptive: adding depth and visual imagery that is easy to access, highlighting the materials, decorative elements and lines of dresses, stitching and embellishment. From the different silks, to the weave that affects sheen and feel, the processes are explained with clarity. A clear reference to the title comes with Henri’s masterpiece weave, the one he hopes will elevate his work to Master level, through to the simple beginnings of the thread through to the final sales and creations of items with the silk, few areas are untouched. Adding political and societal changes that will affect both the fortunes of the merchants and the weavers, Anna’s struggles with the new restrictions placed on her life and her continued interest in Henri, immigration issues with the influx of French weavers and even the questions regarding her choice, the story keeps moving forward. Neatly tied with an epilogue that helps to answer some of these questions not addressed directly in the text, the story was engaging, unique and informative, perfect for those interested in the history and feel of a newcomer to mid 18th century London.

The Hidden Thread by Liz Trenow

Title: The Hidden Thread
Author: Liz Trenow
Genre: British, Georgian, Historical Romance
Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark
ISBN: 1492637513
Published on: 1 May, 2017
Format:eARC
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Pages: 336
Rated: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
Get Your Copy: Amazon Barnes&Noble Kobo IndieBound Google

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About the Book:

The Hidden Thread is a breathtaking novel about the intricate craft of silk and the heartbreak of forbidden love.

When Anna Butterfield's mother dies, she's sent to live with her uncle, a silk merchant in London, to make a good match and provide for her father and sister. There, she meets Henri, a French immigrant and apprentice hoping to become a master weaver. But Henri, born into a lower class, becomes embroiled in the silk riots that break out as weavers protest for a fair wage.

New York Times bestselling author Liz Trenow weaves a luminous tale of class struggle and star-crossed love.

A copy of this title was provided via Publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.

About Liz Trenow

Liz Trenow's family have been silk weavers for nearly three hundred years, and the company is one of only three still operating in the UK today, weaving for top-end fashion houses and royal commissions.

It is this remarkable silk heritage that has inspired many of Liz's four novels, including the most recent The Silk Weaver (UK pub Jan 2017) It will be published in the US as The Hidden Thread in May 2017.

It is set in London in the 1760s in the very house in which the family company began, just down the road from where the pre-eminent silk designer Anna Maria Garthwaite lived at the same time. It is the unknown early life of Anna Maria that has inspired the plot, set against the historical backdrop of racial tension and industrial unrest.

 

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