Jan 04, 12
Read in January, 2012
The year is 1471. After years of civil war (the War of the Roses), the king of England (Edward IV) has restored order and peace to the land. The silk industry is booming in London, aided by the group known as "silk women". Two sisters come onto the scene and are the focus of this book. Elder daughter Jane becomes the mistress of the king. The younger sister, Isabel, who has been made a young widow because of the war, becomes an apprentice to her mother-in-law (Alice Claver)--a silk woman of vast experience. As the years go by the two sisters find themselves involved in intrigues and tragedies but find it hard to iron-out their differences. Only when one sister comes close to a horrible death do they find their common ground and realize their sisterly bond. A story of hard work, betrayal and the fickleness of a lover.
I rated this book 3 stars because of the slow start. Half-way through the book the author seemed to find her "story" and I got the sense of the "threads" coming together. A goodly amount of information about the silk trade but I feel the author should have given readers a tighter time line of the industry (when and why did it begin, how did the silk women work around patriarchal problems, what affect did the Catholic religion have on the silk trade, etc.).
Haven't read any other books by Vanora Bennett but I added PORTRAIT OF AN UNKNOWN WOMAN to my Goodreads book list so I can read it in the near future.