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The Loom

3.69  ·  Rating Details ·  1,315 Ratings  ·  144 Reviews
A slave is torn between the love she has and the life she doesn’t.

Lydia was a common slave with a common life until the day she entered a world no slave had gone before. Pale skin and deceit opened the door to wealth and a power she had only dreamed of. But what she didn’t count on was falling in love. What she didn’t realize was life was not always black or white.
Paperback, 240 pages
Published December 1st 2011 by GuidepostsBooks
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Aug 16, 2012 Barbara rated it it was amazing
I wish that my review could do justice to this powerful novel - rich with characters that will linger in my memory for a long time. To say this was well written does not do it justice. I read through it rather rapidly the first time, but once I read the “Author’s Notes” at the end I knew I must read it again slowly to savor the pictures painted with amazing skill. As I re-read, I studied the flow of words which revealed the characters with beauty and clarity. Some have written that the story is ...more
Donna Bennett
The Loom by Shella Gillus is a debut novel. I downloaded a free Kindle edition. The book cover is so compelling and looks like a story to draw you in. This was a book I was so anxiously waiting to read. As a lover of historical fiction, it’s a heart wrenching story of love and redemption set in the Pre-Civil War era. Lydia (aka Caroline) a slave in the pre-Antebellum south, is so light-skinned that she learns she can pass for white and in spite of being in love with John, a field hand. It was a ...more
Mar 01, 2012 Emily rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
It is entirely my fault. I was at a new-to-me library and and picked up the first pretty book to catch my eye. Well, it turned out that I picked up a book published by Guideposts. It is written by a lovely woman and the first two chapters have some beautiful language and the glimmer of some sweet ideas, but it desperately needs an editor and a proofreader. Will not finish and, sadly, do not recommend.
Jul 25, 2012 Darlene rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: monique and margaret
This is a wonderful love story. Different from what you might expect since it is during the era of slavery. Lydia/Caroline in her desire to be free must choose between her love for John, her husband who is a slave and Jackson a slave owner. In this quest, Lydia/Caroline finds and learns to love who she is. This book is full of intrigue and suspense and was a joy to read.
Tara Chevrestt
This story had me on the edge of my seat. I honestly didn't think it would end well and I so desperately wanted it to...the suspense darn near killed me.

Lydia is a slave--a very light-skinned slave. She wants freedom more than love and this leads to her leaving her husband, a slave named John, because she discovers she can pass as white and does so. This lifestyle is not without its daily fear, lies, and repercussions though.

Good points: I like the little message within...that Lydia merely trad
Dec 15, 2011 Charity rated it really liked it
Have you ever read a book and took your time with it? I recently received a book by Shella Gillus called, The Loom. And believe me, take my time is exactly what I did with this. It is a book that deals with some interesting plots and I can't wait to tell you about it. It will change the way you think about some things.

This is a book that is somewhat different. I haven't read many from a black persons point of view. But I found it to be eye opening. It opens with a girl trying to escape to freedo
Gigi Williams
Jul 14, 2012 Gigi Williams rated it it was amazing
Right now this my FAVORITE story! I'm trying desperately to convince my husband to read it. I fell in love with Lydia from the very beginning. At times, I hated her. I am fortunate enough to live in a rich society where slavery has long past. I have never put much thought into how hard survival was in that time period. It almost makes me ashamed to be white. My heart went out to the trials and struggles the slaves on the Kelly Farm went through on a daily basis. It has me feeling very humbled.
Oct 23, 2015 Lori rated it really liked it
Shelves: nook
What a beautiful story!! These mirrored quotations sum it up:

"Every prize had a price. For everything she wanted there attached to it like the thorn of a rose was the thing she didn't. But life was worth the risk no matter what was lost..."

"..every price had a prize. For everything she didn't want, there attached to it like the rose of a thorn was the thing she did. But the loss was worth the life, no matter what the risk..."

Aug 16, 2012 Sara rated it really liked it
This book made me remember anew how much blood is on my hands s a white person in the US. How my comfort comes at the cost so much human suffering and still does. Slavery is sin we all pay for and the root of the resentment we collectively feel about blacks. Their presence is a constant reminder of our collective guilt.

This story is beautifully written and compelling. It's well worth reading and though it broke my heart in places, I'm glad I read it.
Melissa Aguirre
Dec 05, 2015 Melissa Aguirre rated it it was amazing
This story was beautifully mesmerizing and the characters were so "real". As I read, I felt like I was there, alongside Lydia (Caroline) and I could actually feel her pain, sorrow, love, fear and desperation to be free. This book is a keeper.
Jul 14, 2012 Marie rated it did not like it

This was free on Amazon. I really like reading about this era but this book was (to me) unfathomable. Also, the religion... I feel like I wasted my time with this one. Thank goodness it was free.
May 09, 2012 June rated it it was ok
The descriptions were good, and very poetic. However, the characterization wasn't deep, and sometimes the story felt disjointed.
Hmpf. This book sidelined me with religion, and I wasn't super-pleased about it. I wouldn't have minded if the story weren't completely contrived; I know there are stories about black slaves "passing" as whites pre-Civil War (and also later, but that's not what's going on in this book), and I don't doubt that it happened. But those people would have had to think much more carefully about what they were about than Gillus did for her characters, and instead of emphasizing the bravery of those ...more
Aug 13, 2012 Tina rated it really liked it
It was a very good book. There were some aspects of the book that I just didn't see as being "real" - like the relationship between Lizzy and Lydia - Lydia is beautfiful and Lizzy doesn't have a jealous bone in her body? They are teenagers and Lizzy still "loves" Lydia the way she did when she was a girl. Other books, true and fictional, I've read the "Masters" children learn to let go and move upward and onward leaving their "friends" alone and in there place. But Lizzy actually encourages ...more
Christie Hagerman
Oct 14, 2012 Christie Hagerman rated it it was amazing
Lydia lives between two worlds. As a slave, she is part of those living on the plantation, owned by the Master. But she lives in the house with the family as a companion to their daughter, who is about Lydia's age.

She has a close relationship with her father and her grandmother, but she is also best friends with the Master's daughter, and Lydia's fair complexion doesn't make her African race obvious.
Her heritage is steeped in fear, death, hopelessness, and pain. Yet something stirs within her,
Krista Ashe
Jul 02, 2012 Krista Ashe rated it really liked it
Shelves: my-112-of-2012
This book grabs you from the prologue and keeps you hooked throughout. I was fascinated by Lydia's story--her strength, her intense will to be free at a time when it wasn't possible. Her courage is formittable, considering she chose to try to escape to freedom. As a house slave, she has risen above the status of most of her family, who are field slaves...including the man she marries.

As for John, he was caring, so passionate. And the story of his great-grandmother working and savin
James Fant
Mar 20, 2015 James Fant rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The History and Psychology of an Awesome Novel

Outstanding. Magnificent. Marvelous. Superb! All the adjectives I'd attach to The Loom by Shella Gillus. This book had me stopping mid read to tweet about a gripping passage or just about how a certain scene sparked emotion. I immediately went to the author's webpage and signed up for updates. I want to know when her next book is coming out.

I'm getting ahead of myself (sorry the book is just like that). In the first few pages you see Lydia running an
Jan 02, 2012 Renee rated it liked it
This book arrived in the mail as a surprise from the publisher. Although this is set in a time period I love to read about I had never heard of the book or the author and I'm happy to say I enjoyed it. The Loom is definitely not a romance but rather a story of a slave in the antebellum South trying to capture the one thing she wants the most--her freedom. Lydia (aka Caroline) is so light-skinned that she learns she can pass for white and in spite of being in love with a field hand at the Kelly ...more
Aug 11, 2016 Gail rated it really liked it
A page turner for me. Lydia is a slave that longs for freedom, she works in the big house and has a room there so she has much better living and working conditions than her family and the field slaves. Her best friend is Lizzy, the master's daughter. The young women are the same age and grew up together. The master allows this relationship as long as Lydia knows her place and serves his family. Lydia is very light skinned and doesn't have 'colored' hair. Through several circumstances and deceit ...more
Shari Larsen
Aug 01, 2012 Shari Larsen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Lydia is very aware of her fate, like every slave on the Maryland plantation in the pre-Civil War South, older slaves too worn out for anything else worked daily in the loom room, weaving and creating cloth for the plantation owner's family. Tucked away and forgotten by most of the others, Lydia listens to their dreams and words of wisdom.

Lydia is light skinned and can "pass" for white. She ran away once, and was recaptured. But the dream of freedom won't die; she attempts again, and discovers w
Krystal Monique
I downloaded this book for free on my Kindle. We all know it is either a hit or miss when it comes to free eBooks. I was pleasantly surprised with this book. It is set in the south pre-Civil War era and follows the story of Lydia who is a light skinned house slave who can pass as a white woman. There are other characters who Gillus also touches upon, often writing from their perspective.

The main point of the story is wanting something so bad that you overlook your life to see that what you yearn
Oct 10, 2013 Karla rated it liked it
Shelves: christian, african
I saw the cover and the description and was called to it. I started reading while on a business trip and was a bit distracted. I made the mistake of reading a lot of reviews which did not cast the book in a good light and gave me some trepidation. I stopped reading. But still, I would see it and think, "man, I should finish that." I began reading again and couldn't put it down (though I did skim through some scenes.) There were parts I didn't like. There was one part that I wasn't exactly sure ...more
Jul 08, 2012 Mom rated it really liked it
All Lydia wanted was to be free. She was a 'white girl' but a slave.
Everyone thought she was white including the gentleman who saw her and was instantly drawn to her looks. Lizzy, her friend, wanted to see Jackson. She planned for them to go to dinner together, but Lydia was dressed as a white person. Lydia worked for Lizzy. The two girls went to dinner with Jackson and a friend of his.
Lizzie discovered Jackson was not attracked to her. She went after Andrew, Jackson's friend. They married.
Feb 03, 2013 Tasha rated it it was amazing
A fair skinned slave, Lydia, finds herself living a life of anguish and turmoil, the life that all slaves found. While in bondage, she dreamed of freedom constantly. She was never able to let go of this dream, especially after witnessing some of the atrocities inherent to the life of a slave girl. Death, rape, sickness, and misery were her constant companions. Then came John. Love joined the list of her companions but wasn't enough to rid her of the desire to be free.

This author penned a remark
Mar 21, 2013 Monica rated it it was ok
I got this book from the library and began to read of a slave. A forward thinking slave who despite her misfortune of being owned and worked to the bone is forward thinking.
This is where it fell apart for me. A slave that believes whites were just as much slave. A mistress that convinces her slave to pass as white; a slave privileged enough to marry who turns her back on the husband she loves to end up with a white man that hates blacks.
So many themes and storylines. An oppressed person who feel
Dec 19, 2014 Jess rated it it was ok
Very interesting plot line & concept, but the author was unable to tell it well. Large plot holes, character's actions unrealistic & unbelievable, characters themselves were largely broad "types" & not well fleshed out, so you didn't connect or care about them.

Another huge annoyance was the having the female characters faint/blackout EVERY.SINGLE.TIME something major happened. It's as if the author didn't know how to write any of the hard, upsetting scenes so this was her way of skip
Zanetta Robinson
Jul 18, 2012 Zanetta Robinson rated it did not like it
Two words: excruciating read. I received it free on Kindle and desperately wanted to like it. I didnt. As I tell my students, "There's plenty of telling, not enough showing." Her sentences and imagery are falling all over themselves, desperately jockeying for attention. The story falls flat and the characters arent relatable.

A fantastic editor can make a difference.

As for me, I give up.

If you're interested in slave stories, there are more well-written stories from which to choose.

From first han
Sep 04, 2016 Susan rated it it was amazing
I liked this book because it gave me a different view of slaves. I think about all know of the early African Americans is slaves and the Civil War. There was no Civil War in this story. It was written from their point of view. The main character was Lydia. Her family had been in-bred with whites so many times, that she was white. But still treated as a servant slave. She falls in love with a dark skinned man named John. The love he had for her was unreal. The last chapter has me kind of ...more
May 22, 2013 Robbin rated it it was amazing
Awesome book, but it's not long enough! I wanted more! The ending wrapped up way too fast...such as how did Lydia/Caroline find John in the end? I feel this was an honest portrayal of quadroon slave and some of the choices she might be faced with. To live as a house slave or pass as white? The only thing I didn't understand was how Lydia/Caroline ran away, was caught but was placed back in the house? I found that unusual considering a runaway slave is badly beaten and remanded to the fields or ...more
Aug 14, 2012 Kate' rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I chose this because of the great reviews. The story had an interesting twist on the point of view for the narration of the story, but the characters - all of them - could have been more fully developed. Even details like period clothing, how people lived, what they ate, relationships between societal classes, individuals, etc. all seemed partially explored by the author. None of them were completely exposed to the reader and often times they competed for which was to be the main character. Was ...more
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Shella Gillus fell in love with the arts as a child. By age ten, she wrote her first chapter book, a three-act play and performed in several theatrical shows. During her teenage years, she penned and performed in plays for her local church and organized a series of summer self-esteem workshops for underprivileged youth in South Tucson.

Shella earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism from the Univ
More about Shella Gillus...

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