I have only read a handful of historical fiction novels, and so I had added that genre in as one of my SunshineRising book challenge books for 2017. I can happily say that this novel was engrossing and kept my interest throughout.
The issue of “dullness” being a prominent deterrent for me in prior historical fiction novels I can thankfully say was not a factor here at all.
From the beginning to the conclusion, I was pulled in. The writing style while true to the timeframe was still modern enough and with such incredible plot that I was hooked.
The injustices and emotions portrayed were cleverly worked in so as not to outright tell you how to feel which I found to be another positive.
This was a favorite read of mine so far for 2017.
I was asked by the publisher when I was sent this copy to review to please wait until closer to the expected publication and so I have done so out of respect for them.
I highly recommend this to anyone that maybe isn’t so used to this type of read as they will find value in the way this genre was handled.
Henri and Anna were written in such a realistic way. They weren’t characterized in stereotype. They felt real while reading about them (and this would be this works’ strongest asset I believe).
There was a lot of head shaking happening as I read. The characters acted true to the times in which they were supposed to be and I feel like that accurate portrayal was warranted.
Henri and his moth fled from France to seek better lives in England. They are taken in and helped out and Henri learns weaving and silk work. He is working on his master project to showcase his talents when he, and a friend, comes across a young woman in the street in need of assistance.
Anna has just gone to live with her Aunt Sarah and Uncle Joseph. Their children, older William and younger Elizabeth (Lizzie) each play their parts in welcoming her to the family. Anna left behind her physically and mentally challenged younger sister and her father after the death of her mother.
Anna is an artist and while Henri is out and about he sees her draw a design he feels would be perfect for his masterwork.
The French are looked down on as being low-class. Anna is not to be seen speaking with Henri or this would “bring scandal” to the family.
They meet up secretly and discuss the plans.
Anna is flattered and gives consent for Henri to use her design.
Much of the detail here I am glossing over to get to the bare bones of the story because it is a worthwhile read. The world-building is light and unobtrusive.
The characters think and feel but not to the point of too much so. (No heavy adjective amateur writing here)
I really liked that the story featured (liberties were taken of course) inspiration from real life events. There really did live an Anna that was famous for the textile designs and at the end of the story a real timeline is included, that shows the facts that helped the author come up with her story.
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Expected publication: May 1st, 2017