The Loom
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The Loom

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  885 ratings  ·  123 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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Barbara
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
Emily
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.
Charity
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...more
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...more
Gigi Williams
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.
...more
Ashley Fierro
It's an O-KAY book. Reveling a story about discontentment, a desire to find freedom at any cost for a character (Lydia) who much like any of us, fails to realize that she already possessed the very thing she is striving for. The Loom gots it's name from room where old slaves had to work on the loom weaving cloth, sleeping, eating, never leaving and dying there. You'll find a beautiful love story that last through trouble. Even thought is only 233 pages it was a little hard to follow at first, bu...more
Sara
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.
Darlene
Jul 25, 2012 Darlene rated it 5 of 5 stars
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.
Gail Starr
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
Marie

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.
June
The descriptions were good, and very poetic. However, the characterization wasn't deep, and sometimes the story felt disjointed.
Renee
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 p...more
Shari Larsen
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...more
Karla
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 w...more
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...more
Mom
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.
When...more
Christie Hagerman
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,...more
Monica
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...more
Tasha
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...more
Tina
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 Lydi...more
Tika
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 peop...more
Krista Ashe
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 amazing...so caring, so passionate. And the story of his great-grandmother working and savin...more
Gina
Lydia is a light colored house slave on a plantation in the south, Pre-Civil War. She hates being owned, and tries to escape, only to be caught and beaten badly, almost dying. She falls in love with John who is a field hand at the plantation. But even being in love, she still wants to escape slavery. When she sees her father beaten to death, she figures out how to escape, by pretending to be white. Soon she is in another town, being treated well by the friend of her former owner's daughter. He a...more
Robbin
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 i...more
Zanetta Robinson
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...more
Liza
This was a story of slave (Lydia) who skin was so light, she could pass for white. She was so pale she could have passed as her mistresses sister. Which she did, against her will, since she was a slave. She was ashamed of her light skin and her green eyes. Angry that she didn't look like her family, at least the only family that would accept her.

She fell in love with a fellow slave, fell in love with his ability to purchase their freedom. When it seemed as it would not happen, she ran. Ended up...more
Kate'
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
Diane
I enjoy historical fiction and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Lydia is a black slave girl that has this strong desire (putting it mildly) to be free. She is light skinned and can pass for white when dressed in the proper clothing. Her white friend gives her the opportunity to taste freedom causing her to be even more sure of her desire to be free.

The book gives you an insight to the lives the black slaves lived in this country. And it is disturbing to say the least. The book definitely kept my...more
Brandy
I finished reading The Loom last night and can not stop thinking about it! Mrs. Gillus is an incredibly gifted writer and I can't wait to read more books by her. From the first sentence she had me and took me on an incredible journey as Lydia. I learned things I didn't know and felt so deeply for each of the characters I was introduced to! My heart raced, it danced, it wept, and it sung a song that I can't get out of my head. Her words were so vivid, I felt like I was there. I really didn't want...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
More about Shella Gillus...

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