Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women.
When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie's English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home.
But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn't forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.
Kimberly Duffy is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio. When she's not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. She loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of 20 years. He doesn't mind. You can find Kimberly at www.kimberlyduffy.com.
India, 1885. Ottilie Russell and her brother Thaddeus have just lost a second parent. In order to support her family, Ottilie continues her mother’s work of embroidery.
As the story begins, her mother’s recent passing puts a dark cloud over the story. Ottilie’s thoughts keep referring to her mother’s memory, which gives a melancholic atmosphere. Faith is a big part of this story and those who like books under Christian category will probably appreciate this story.
The story is presented with beautiful prose, well-developed characters. It is rich in customs, touching upon English and Indian ways of life and having influence on each other. However, I wished there was a bit more to the plot to carry this story a bit faster.
Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
A Tapestry of Light took me on a journey that began in vibrant, flavorful, cacophonous Calcutta in 1886, but it didn’t end there. This immersive experience explores, through the character of Otillie, the complexity of being both British and Indian, as well as the timeless dilemma of reconciling human suffering with a loving God. Duffy’s writing is beautiful, deep, and contemplative. Tragedy haunts the characters, but ultimately does not defeat them. Otillie’s spiritual journey is one of the most authentic I’ve ever read. Recommended for historical fiction lovers who appreciate the honest examination of loss and healing.
A Tapestry of Light is an elegant treat for the senses threaded with delicate, thoughtful prose and lush locales.
Both a treatise on faith and family as well as an exploration of belonging, readers will find themselves transported to Colonial-Era Calcutta thanks to Duffy's capable pen and inimitable passion for portraying India. Ottilie, our guide, is a strikingly memorable character balancing strength and sacrifice and certain to appeal to fans of Laura Frantz and Lori Benton. Duffy's deep research and refreshing settings, not to mention, intelligent heroines are a wonderful addition to inspirational historical fiction and I cannot wait to see where she takes us next.
There are various reasons why you pick up a book: the cover, the title, the author, the blurb... For this book, except for the author (who was a new name to me), every other factor was appealing! Especially when the blurb revealed that the story was partly set in India, I became very eager to read it. The book however turned out to be a mixed bag. I tried my best to love it but simply couldn't. The writing style didn't work for me, but more than that, the inconsistences in the character development and historical facts bugged me.
Story: Ottilie Russell, a 20 year old Eurasian, is struggling with her identity in the India of 1886. With her Indian looks and half-British parentage, she belongs to neither country entirely. After her parents' death, she lives in poor conditions with her grandmother and younger brother Thaddeus, using her skills with beetle wing embroidery to sustain her family. One fine day, a stranger arrives and declares that Thaddeus is the new Baron Sunderson, a fact that catches Ottilie unawares. While Ottilie doesn't want to give up her brother to unknown British relatives, a family tragedy forces her to rethink matters and she soon finds herself in hostile England. What changes will the new country bring to her personal life?
Writing: The story is set in two countries. Almost the entire first half is set in India while the rest is set in England.
The India section proceeds at a medium tempo but it does move ahead. So the pace is pretty ok until the story reaches English shores. After that, it drags a lot and is too repetitive in content. I was really bored by the second half because the action seemed lost amid the random plot changes, new character additions, and repetitive scenes.
The author seems to prefer an introspective writing style, where the protagonist analyses every thought and every action for multiple paras. I'm not a fan of this kind of writing. This latter half of the book could have been at least 50 pages shorter if the over-elaborate and redundant descriptions were trimmed.
Faith and belief are an important part of the storyline. As a Christian myself, I could identify with some of the questions raised by Ottilie. But this wasn't my preferred type of Christian fiction. I prefer characters to act in a Christian way rather than merely quoting or referencing scriptures. This book fell in the latter category. It seems unduly preachy.
Characters: Considering that this is a 430+ pages book, there are numerous characters we encounter. It takes a little while to get Ottilie's complicated genealogy in place. But once you figure out who's who, the story gets rolling.
Some of the secondary characters are nicely sketched. Damaris in particular shone , and I would love to read a book with her in the lead. But Everett Scott was quite a disappointment. He goes back and forth on his own statements, depending on where the author wants to take the story. Dilip was interesting but I hated the introduction of the romantic angle to his arc. It was superfluous. I couldn't connect with most of the Indian characters.
Points to ponder upon: I would have actually enjoyed the Indian section a lot, were it not for the bewildering character sketches and writing anomalies.
👉🏻 Gitisha Singh, Ottilie's maternal grandmother: Born to a Hindu family in Benares, fell in love with a Christian British army officer, converted her religion and married him, left him after he goes against her father, raises her daughter alone. Gitisha hates everything related to her husband after he betrays her but still doesn't go back to the faith of her childhood. She wears Indian sarees but goes with church ladies to visit the sick. She believes so strongly in her Baptist faith that she isn't happy about Ottilie's potential suitor being a Catholic. And yet... she wishes her ashes to be scattered in the Ganges. She wears a white saree during mourning (unlike the mourning colour of the Christian faith, black.) This was one confusing character and felt more like wishful thinking than factual possibility.
👉🏻 Ottilie is said to be more comfortable in Indian clothes and is fluent in Hindi and Bengali in addition to English. Yet while speaking with local shopkeepers, she uses English. No idea why.
👉🏻 Gitisha is said to be fluent in Hindi, Bengali, and English. But she calls her granddaughter by the Urdu "Navasi", meaning granddaughter. This might be possible as Gitisha originates from Benares, so I could give the author the benefit of doubt here. But it's still highly unlikely.
👉🏻 Ottilie calls her mother "Maji". The Hindi word for mother is "Maa", with the suffix "ji" added as a mark of respect. But Ottilie doesn't use this honorific for any other family member. The rest of the family elders are called Papa and Nani. Odd. One character is even called "Niraja Nani". I doubt people of those times would allow senior elders to be addressed by their first name, even with the term "Nani" added.
👉🏻 There's a letter in the book to Gitisha written by her sister in which she refers to their father as "Pita". No Indian will call their father Pita, even though the word means father. The correct address is always "Pitaji", without exceptions.
👉🏻 Niraja mentions in one scene how they stole the Bible from a visiting luminary, only to later realise that God "commanded his followers not to steal". Well, I'm no expert, but I'm sure that Hindu gods don't advocate stealing as well. This was just silly.
👉🏻 Thaddeus goes to sleep on Christmas Eve with great excitement, anticipating "Christmas Baba" and his gifts. Sorry, but this term just made me burst into laughter. It sounded absurd! I've never heard of this term being used EVER, and I'm an Indian Christian! The problem is not in the label (the author might have created it just for this book to promote an Indian Santa-like idea.) My problem is that non-Indians reading the book will believe this nonsense. If Ottilie and Thaddeus knew the idea of Christmas, I'm sure it wouldn't have been farfetched for them to be familiar with the idea of Santa Claus.
👉🏻 The 1857 mutiny had nothing to do with religious conversions to Christianity but with the cartridges of the new rifles being greased with cow and pig fat. This was insulting to both Hindu and Muslim religious practices, and that's why they revolted. The Britishers did forcibly convert many Indians to Christianity, and they deserve censure for it, but that's not connected to the 1857 revolt.
👉🏻 There are a few references to the "massacre at Cawnpore" but no details except for a passing mention of Nana Sahib. To a certain extent, I get why the details aren't mentioned; they weren't the main focus of the story. But the way this content is written makes the historical event appear one-sided and with only British losses because of the murderous native revolutionaries. Please look up the 1857 Revolt of India and Nana Sahib to get the facts right. There's a proverb in Hindi, "taali ek haath se nahi bajti." (A clap is not possible with one hand.)
👉🏻 Why are American English spellings being used for a book set in India and England, both of which use British English?
👉🏻 Many of the Indian words aren't translated, and there's no glossary at the end. How will international readers understand the meaning?
As can be seen, there are a few issues with the Indian part of the story. But I must also give praise where it is due.
👉🏻 I hadn't even heard of beetle wing embroidery. So to become aware of such a beautiful local art through an international book was a wonderful experience.
👉🏻 The author's depiction of the identity crisis of the Anglo-Indians (called "Eurasians" in this book for valid reasons) seems quite accurate.
👉🏻 Unlike most international books set in this period of Indian history, the author does give a voice to the Indian people and talk of their desire for independence, rather than only focussing on the idea of uneducated and impoverished "natives". Though this is on a much smaller scale than I would have liked, I still appreciate the efforts.
Considering that the author isn't an Indian, she has still done a decent job, much better than the book "The Henna Artist" by Indian-origin author Alka Joshi. I can see the passion that Kimberly Duffy has for India. Her love for the country is very evident in the writing. But many aware Indians will find the above problems distracting away from the plot. The author's note at the end mentions that she has an Indian friend who does a sensitivity check for her. But maybe there should be someone to do the accuracy check too.
Overall, this is a valiant attempt at a historical fiction set in India. If you don't know anything about India, you'll certainly enjoy it more than I did, especially as it doesn't stop at the usual tropes that authors use to depict India: peacocks, elephants, snakes and snake charmers... but goes ahead to include our art, cuisine, language, beliefs, and so on. They say that ignorance is bliss. It would have certainly served me well in the enjoyment of this book were I ignorant of Indian history and culture. Maybe I was just the wrong reader for this book.
Thank you to NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Some of my favorite things about A Mosaic of Wings, my previous read by this author, was the way she writes (in general), and her beautiful and respectful descriptions of colonized India. So those were the main things I was looking forward to in A Tapestry of Light. A Tapestry of Light had all the things I liked about Mosaic of Wings and none of the things I didn't. It was everything, better. We returned to late nineteenth century India, this time to Eurasian siblings, the children of a British father and a half-British, half-Indian mother. My heart was shredded walking with Ottillie through unfathomable loss of her family and control over her future, painful wrestling with her identity, and deep doubts about her faith. She has to navigate shame, regrets, and unforgiveness on both sides of her family tree and figure out what it all means to her now, and is able to participate in and observe hearts being softened all around. She willingly sacrifices her own future and happiness to serve those she loves, and she allows her own struggle with bitterness to drive her to the Scripture, where she discovers the same key to rebuilding her faith that her grandmother had years before. There was just so much that I loved about this book. I liked the main characters. I felt hopeless when they felt hopeless, but the author never left us in a pit of despair. It wasn't so depressing that I didn't want to pick the book back up; as the characters kept pressing toward the light, I was kept turning pages faster and faster. I think we were able to have more empathy with the "difficult characters" in this book than in Mosaic, and they actually softened in this story. I loved the complexity of all the relationships. Nothing was simple, nothing was cut and dried, and none of the characters were too hateful to love. The faith thread was strong and consistently a major theme throughout the book. It was very well done. I loved the friendships, I loved the family relationships, I loved the romance. I loved the storyline (I hadn't read the whole blurb before reading the book, so I didn't actually know what was going to happen.) This book was just a lot of everything and I loved it all. The one thing that dropped from a "love" to a "like okay" was that in some places, the description got in the way of the story. For the most part the scene setting was terrific, but in a couple of places, I was so desperate to know what was going to happen, that I lost patience with it. I'm sure the author intended us to slow down in those places, but I rebelled. I would be happy to be in a book discussion about this book, and recommend it to book clubs and lovers of historical fiction.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher, but I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any way.
Rich in description, A Tapestry of Light delights on all levels. Ottilie and Everett’s stories broke my heart, but their growth and their compelling romance stitched my heart together again. With insight into race and culture and societal expectations, Kimberly Duffy has penned a thoughtful and exquisite novel. Don’t miss it!
A Tapestry of Light is the second novel of Kimberly Duffy and I’m glad to say my prediction that she will be the next big name in Christian Fiction is still standing strong. But first, let me tell you a bit what it’s about.
The story starts in India, where Ottilie lives with her grandmother and younger brother. She has already had her fair share of loss, and is grieving for her mother who recently passed. Funds are low, and she turns to her family’s tradition of beetle wing embroidery (featured on this beautiful cover!) when a man arrives who wants to take her brother to England, where he is in line for a title. Thaddeus can pass as white, where Otillie looks very Indian like her mother, and this brings a clash of cultures as she’s not sure where she belongs. Will she find a place where she is truly loved?
I absolutely loved A Mosaic of Wings with the focus more on romance, I can appreciate this book even more, I feel like the author bared her soul in this one. Otillie is doubting her faith, she wants to believe but with all the grief and hardship she’s had, it’s very hard to do that, understandably. This is a theme that struck home with me, I struggle a lot too and to see it reflected in fiction and to make her see her choice to stubbornly believe despite it all made me feel less alone.
Okay, I guess I wanted to start with deep thoughts. The story itself is very rich and layered, and I now want to visit India. I loved reading more about the culture! The writing is well done, though I do think there are some pacing issues, it took a while for the story to really go somewhere, and then it rushes a bit toward the end. But I don’t mind that really as I wasn’t bored at all. I loved the developing friendship between her and the man that wants to take her brother away to England. There are also a strong female friendships which I love to see in books. I also liked that racism was addressed, as Otillie is too white to fit in with native Indians, and too Indian too fit in with white people, which made that she experienced racism a lot. I think the author shows this very well, she does not spell it out, but it’s always there in the background.
The story itself was quite heavy as there is so much grief throughout the entire book and the hardships are many, but I love stories that have depth in them and I could handle it. But if you yourself are grieving, you might want to avoid this book. There is plenty of other stuff too, forgiveness, family secrets, embroidery (yay!), sibling love and wise grandmother words, and of course a bit of romance. Despite the pacing issues, every scene feels important and necessary to the story, and is filled to the brim, so much has happened! And I can’t even talk about it as that is spoilery... All in all, I loved A Tapestry of Light and I think it’s quite unique in this genre.
I received a free e-copy of this book through Netgalley but it hasn’t influenced my opinion.
I have been wanting to try a book by Kimberly Duffy since I first heard about her! I really like that she writes about India since its not very common. Despite going through a bit of burnout right now, I did like this book. It took some getting used to since I’m not very familiar with Indian terms and culture. I would definitely recommend her books for the historical fiction fans out there!
I received a complimentary copy from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.
I was absolutely blown away by A Tapestry of Light. As I was reading through it, I was trying to think of whose writing Kimberly's reminded me of in this story. The angst of it put me in mind of Jane Austen. About 3/4 of the way through I thought of the book of Job from the Bible! Let me just say, the story took me on an emotional, vivid roller coaster ride.
Kimberly's writing in this story has depth and beauty from start to finish. She paints a picture of India in such tangible detail, that when I was creating the photo for my Instagram to go along with this book review, I used some curry and I think I'll forever associate curry with Ottilie's story.
I'll admit I was completely clueless of life in India during the Victorian age. I had no idea of the Eurasian population and what they had to endure socially. It was fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time. It was also mind boggling that so many people were dying of cholera. And I had no idea that beetle wing casings were used for fashion! The things people think of. I also loved the use of terms like "didi" for sister, maji for mama, and Nānī for grandmother. And yes, those are explained smoothly in the story.
So, let's talk about the characters. And just know, my review is NOT going to do this story justice. It just isn't. AND, I "tabbed" so many pages in this book... we need to discuss people! Ottilie. She's such an incredible character. While she's already lost so much (hello, Job) she is grasping on to what & who is left. When she meets Everett, my heart absolutely sank. His purpose for being there - to take one more person away - nearly did me in. And I loved how she gave him a run for his money.
But, Everett. I liked him and didn't like him. hahahaha He was just so "British". That was one of the pieces of this story that really was profound. How different Brits and Indians saw the world. I "understood" him, didn't like it, but I did. I also thought he was quite selfish in some instances. Read the book, you'll see what I mean. He's a super likable guy, just not a fan of his "purpose".
One of my favorite characters is Damaris, and Puh-LEASE, Kimberly Duffy, give her a story!!! Oh my gosh, seriously, we all need a Damaris in our lives. She is feisty and British, and doesn't give one whit about status and propriety. She's Ottilie's champion and I'm here for it!
And then, of course, there's the deep faith that is entwined in the story. A heritage of faith is passed down from Ottilie's Nānī on her Maji's side. It's rather a funny scenario with how she and her sister come to learn about Christianity and how significant it becomes in Ottilie's life.
When Ottilie, Thaddeus, and Everett arrive in England, just as I expected, things go just like they did back in India. And it makes me want to shake everyone who treats her poorly! Ok, maybe more than shake them. Everett is focused fully on society's expectations and I want to shake him, too.
I was so emotional from probably the halfway point and it just ramped up until the very end. Welling up with tears is a good sign, right? hahaha Please don't miss out on this beautiful work of art that Kimberly has created in Ottilie's story. This book will never leave my bookshelves!
*I was sent this book for review. This is my opinion.
"I wonder if it has been smothered beneath my bitterness and unforgiveness. That's a greater threat to Christian faith than a million other gods. There is no room for it. And if you allow it in, it burns away the blood of Christ as surely as flesh is burned on a funeral pyre."
This is my first book by Kimberly Duffy and I am astounded by her ability to deftly transport the reader to the late 1880s Calcutta with its beauty and poverty, its sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. Learning about a certain type of Indian embroidery was fascinating. For the first half of the book, I was enthralled by the Indian city that Ottilie and her brother Thaddeus called home and felt the heartache and tension between the British and Indian during this tumultuous time. There has been much suffering, loss, and pain in their lives which is compounded by their mixed heritage. The story is told strictly from Ottilie's point of view in the third person. Though this allowed the reader to really engage in empathizing with the main character's innate and unshakable sense of rejection, bitterness, anger, and loneliness, Ottilie's thoughts and feelings became somewhat repetitive over time because she was the only narrator. Ottilie is a remarkable young woman - talented, compassionate, loyal, hard-working, dedicated, self-sacrificial. But she is also quite stubborn, impulsive, and sometimes blind to her own faults and flaws. She does mature as the story progresses - in character and in faith - which was nice to see. Her past loss and grief, as well as the prejudice and unwarranted hatred she receives from both the British and Indian, are hard to read about but unfortunately quite realistic and heart-wrenching. The author also places the plight of overworked and abused London seamstresses into the plot, which was eye-opening.
Although this is a historical fiction with fantastic setting, it is really a young woman's spiritual journey. Ottilie's hardships and doubts push her so close to the edge of breaking and it takes her a long time, many people speaking into her life, and a trip across the world to release the tight hold she has on bitterness, anger, blame and unforgiveness. It is a relatively long book and the plot seemed to lose a bit of momentum in places, especially during their days in England. There is romance in the book, in the line of star-crossed lovers, but the resolution of the romance and the ending seemed rushed and too coincidental. Nevertheless, it is a well-written book with raw and powerful emotions, great spiritual lessons, and beautiful historical setting woven throughout the story and any historical fiction fan will enjoy it.
I received the book via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are solely my own.
My Thoughts... I got to go to India and Britain in one book , What? This was such a treat and the struggle with belonging and identity we a strong part of this book. I will say I needed more of Everette he was by far my favorite. You need to grab a copy of this 4 star historical greatness. The Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are our own.
A Tapestry of Light was one of the most fascinating books I've read in a long time! While I love books set in the US and the UK, it was a breath of fresh air to travel through words to a new land. Granted the second half of the book is set in England but the first half is set in Colonial India which I've never read about outside the pages of my history books. Kimberly Duffy's love for the land and culture of India shone through the pages in her passionate and vivid descriptions of everyday life. Death and grief are a large part of the story and, were I a person more given to tears, I'm sure I would of shed a few as I had to watched Ottilie battling depression and bitterness as she dealt with loss and loneliness while trying to straddle two very different worlds. I found myself so invested in her story that I just wanted to yell at some characters, punch others or just in general give them a good shake and talking to. I loved how flawed the characters were, that rather than being stoic macho men and women, they were very real emotional messy people. There wasn't a tonne of romance in the story but there was just enough to satisfy my romantic heart. If you want a feel-good romance, then I wouldn't suggest you read this one but if you want a unique story that deals with some heart hitting God truths then I highly recommend this book for you!
I received a complimentary copy of this book but all views and opinions expressed are my own.
4.5 stars for this historical novel set in Calcutta, India as well as London, England and the English countryside. This was a beautiful story of learning to trust God and grow with a mustard seed of faith. It was also a tale of perseverance and strength, and touched on themes of racism, forgiveness and grief. This was also a story of familial love as Ottilie made every choice she did for the sake of her younger brother. Though the book was fraught with sadness, there was not any heaviness to it and the ending was satisfactorily happy. All in all, this was an enjoyable read that I would recommend to fans of historical fiction.
A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy is a heart-wrenching story of loss, prejudice, and fortitude.
Ottilie was born in India to an Anglo-Indian mother and an English father. Looking like an Indian but educated within the English community, Ottilie lived amidst two different cultures, not being accepted by either.
The story is so sorrowful. My heart went to Ottilie and her endless string of losses and all the pain it brought her. The blatant prejudice she was subjected to was heart-breaking.
She immigrated to England with her brother, and matters became even worse when not even her own family members fully accepted her.
The characters were layered and flawed. Ottilie's strength and courage despite all her misfortunes were very inspiring. She was always kind and understanding of her family and friend's many weaknesses.
There was a strong faith element throughout the story. Ottilie's faith was repeatedly tested, and she did not hide from her doubts.
There was a little romance in the story's background, although I must confess I resented the hero too much to rejoice in their HEA.
I loved to learn about an embroidering technique that uses iridescent beetle wing cases. I checked online, and they have a lovely blue hue. I could imagine how stunning Ottilie's creations would have been.
A Tapestry of Light is a moving story to read with a box of tissues at hand.
Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Well, I'm stunned gobsmacked! Teetering on a crest of bibliophile speechless euphoria that is making it hard to string words together let alone a comprehensive review. So I'm resorting to a list of random impressions in no particular order.
Exquisite prose. Evocative imagery. Duffy's words catapulted me into a different time and place, engaging all my senses. The first half of the book is set in India and I'd actually experience culture shock when I looked up from the page and found myself in ordinary ol' Canada. :-)
The respect and care the author has for India and her native people. The beauty of the language, the depth of meaning in a phrase, the exotic celebration of traditions. But she doesn't shy away from the harsher realities either. The poverty, the prejudice, the brutality and unfairness of the British colonization. Especially when it comes to the Eurasian community and Ottilie's struggle to find a place she can belong.
Ottilie might be one of my favourite heroines ever. Devoted sister and granddaughter. Fiercely protective of what's left of her little family. She struggles with understanding God's plan for her life. Well, she's begun to doubt he actually has one! She doesn't quite draw away from Him, but she's always questioning, challenging. And she can be stubborn and impetuous. But she's also innately kind and compassionate. A complex, richly layered heroine who has to draw on every last ounce of inner strength and fortitude to not only survive, but thrive despite the circumstances she finds herself in.
All the characters are finely crafted. Even smaller secondary roles make a huge impact in a variety of ways. I felt like I knew them all by the end of the read. And I love how the author swayed my opinion on some of them during the course of the story. :-)
Faith is intrinsically woven into the very fiber of this novel. So many startling beautiful truths in the midst of sorrow and despair. Joy too.
And I can't forget to mention Everett! The man who turns Ottilie's world upside down. We had a love/hate relationship, Everett and I...well, hate might be too strong a word. But one particular notion he stuck to made me want to purse-whomp him more than once. :-) In the end, I was ably to extend him some grace since he does have his reasons...but, still.....Thankfully, he comes to his senses in time.
A lush, resplendent, decadent kind of story that is well worth the read.
Book provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc.
“Was she to be sewn into that story? Would she be allowed to claim that history?”
I was left speechless when I finished reading this book. What a beautiful story I found within its pages. My heart is full.
First of all, I love that this novel is set in India. Kimberly Duffy's expert writing brings the country alive, as she describes the culture and life of India in vivid detail. Between the descriptions of the sights, sounds, and tastes, I felt immersed in a different place and time.
Ottilie Russell experiences loss after loss, which was incredibly heartbreaking to read. After all the loss she endures, her life is turned upside down yet again when Everett Scott arrives with a revelation. What follows is her desperate desire to hold on to what little she has left of her family. She grapples with doubts in her faith and feels alone amidst all the loss she has experienced. Where does she belong?
This book brought me to tears. Ottilie's journey through grief and doubt, the desire to belong, of feeling alone, and of resilience resonated with me. Her struggles and pain were palpable. It feels as if her whole world is falling apart, and I was so emotionally invested in how her story would end.
I also love how this author writes the love interests in her stories, both this one and her debut novel. The leading man in this story was gentle, kind, and supportive, and I loved him for it. He was a balm to Ottilie's wounded heart.
I'm so glad I have a copy of this book on my shelves now. It is a keeper!
The thing I love most about Kimberley’s writing is the depth it has- the amount of layers and complexity of the characters and story. Her subplots are SUPERB and she weaves them with her main story with such skill, I’m amazed- truly amazed.💛 A Tapestry of Light feels alive- I could smell the wonderful pastries and cardamom 🥮, touch the shiny beetle elytra glimmering under the sun , feel the elaborate dresses embroidered with rainbow colors 🌈 , actually see the clash of two different cultures and people mingling together in this other world city…. I was sucked in the story in such a way, I didn’t want it to end. I grabbed this book at night, right before bed and it just filled me with such a cozy feeling ahhh. I adore the family trope in this books so much! It will make your heart smile :) The main character, Ottilie is such a beautiful soul. Even though she had her struggles and doubts, she stood up for her family and worked diligently to fill, at her young age, that parental role for her younger brother, Thaddeus. She’s so strong in so many ways…She’s the perfect example of a strong girl with a gentle spirit. All the characters are adorable and complement each other beautifully. A Tapestry of Light is a cacophony of truth and light in a world as colorful as the stories of these beautiful characters. I loved it and highly recommend it!
Excuse me while I gush a bit. Oh my. I was not prepared for this story to hit me like a ton of bricks. I had heard great things about this author, so when I had the chance to read one of her books, I took it. But wow. I was ready for a nice story of a girl leaving her home in India to live in England. And of course fall in love. Because it has to happen in these stories, right? But what I got was so much better, deeper, so much MORE than that. As someone who often struggles with feelings of isolation, I found the main character‘s struggles to speak to me. I could so easily identify that feeling. And the faith element blew me away. The author is to be highly recommended for her adept weaving of a faith element. It could have been preachy or fake. It was so honest and raw and real I was almost in tears.
This book will be on my list of best books of the year. And probably all time. It was so good. Buy this book. I know I will buying it for my friends.
I did receive a copy of this book to facilitate a review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to leave a review.
A Tapestry of Light, by Kimberly Duffy, is a genuinely moving novel. Thoughtfully written, well-researched, and memorable, it beckons the reader to venture into a meaningful story that deftly spans two continents and cultures. Stunningly detailed and rich in history, this book is both touching and inspirational as it explores the significance of loss, rejection, family, faith, and purpose. With immersive settings, authentic characters, and a captivating plot, this novel is certainly worthy of being noticed.
A gifted writer, Ms. Duffy bolsters the historical genre with her keen insights and bold perspectives. In A Tapestry of Light, she successfully appeals to the reader’s senses and emotions through beautifully descriptive writing. Vivid sensory details ensure that sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures are deeply authentic. From the sparkle of a beetle’s wing, to sweet treats sticky with syrup, to warm air heavy with humidity and memories, this book fully envelops the reader in its fictional world.
Page after page this novel brings to life a story of loss, faith, courage, forgiveness, and love. Themes of hope, healing, and redemption are woven skillfully throughout the novel as the characters encounter significant challenges and difficult choices that profoundly shape their hearts and define their futures. Living under the shadows of colonialism, bound by the expectations of their social classes, and threatened by ignorance and prejudice, the characters endeavor to forge a life for themselves while grappling with fearful worries, unexpected grief, and surprising revelations. And in so doing, they face their fears, address their insecurities, pursue forgiveness, and nurture their faith even as their dreams and prospects are threatened.
From beginning to end, A Tapestry of Light offers the reader a genuinely gripping story of perseverance, resiliency, and faith while providing a fresh outlook on the complicated history of nineteenth century India and Victorian England. Strengthened by such important themes as compassion, generosity, human worth, and Gods grace, this novel is compelling, relevant, and truly thought-provoking. I recommend it wholeheartedly.
*I was given a copy of this book by the publisher. A review was not required. The review I have written is voluntary and contains opinions that are entirely my own.
*sighs dreamily* . Kimberly Duffy has quickly become one of my favorite authors. Her books are full of unique, interesting characters, amazing descriptions that make you feel like you've visited another country and experienced a whole new culture, hope, and amazing faith content. . A Tapestry Of Light is a beautifully woven story. The descriptions are so vidid and the story is so well researched. I want to visit India so badly now. The characters felt so real and are so relatable. My heart hurt for Ottilie and Thaddeus. I love Everett, too. The faith content is wonderful and so encouraging! Books that draw you closer to God are so wonderful. . Kimberly's writing style is beautiful, and gripping. I was immediately swept into Ottilie's fascinating world. I will read everything this talented author writes. . . *I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a honest review* .
The gorgeous cover of the book caught my eye but it took me a while to actually read because I was unfamiliar with the author, and unsure if I would really enjoy the story.
I should have read it sooner! There were a few inconsistencies, and the ending seemed a little rushed but I otherwise very much enjoyed the characters and the story. The setting in the first half - India in the nineteenth century- is one I know very little about, and found fascinating.
Not everyone will appreciate the characters, because they are very true to life. The main character's struggle with faith seemed very authentic, probably because the author wrote from a place of experience. The hero of the story is more of an anti hero. I think I would like to have heard more from his perspective. He certainly is not your typical romantic male lead, but instead is- sorry but it's true- a much more realistically drawn man that one would be likely to meet in real life.
This book is a great read for anyone who enjoys historical fiction, exotic settings, and realistically flawed characters with a redemptive storyline.
This book wrecked me emotionally… in the best possible way. My heart ached for Ottilie. There were parts of her story that resonated deeply with me and parts of her story touched my heart, encouraging a desire to love others better and to be willing to open yourself to love knowing that you can also be hurt. Kimberly Duffy’s storytelling draws me in and once again I found myself up past my bedtime to read.
Well written, with lush descriptions that bring to life in vivid detail the two cultures that Ottilie is torn between. After the death of her mother, Ottilie struggles to support her grandmother and brother with her beetle-wing embroidery, but when news comes from across the waters that her brother is heir to a title she makes the difficult decision to move with Thaddeus to England, knowing that her Eurasian blood will make her even more of an outcast there than in India. This book does a great job of showing rather than telling with regard to the characters, their interaction, and relationships. And while this book has a more steady pace, I think that each scene did its part to progress the plot. I love learning about the different cultures as well as the history, and the beautiful art of the beetle wing embellishments. Ottilie is a woman who has faced much loss, but loves her brother fiercely. I admired her for bravely moving to another country, knowing that it would be especially difficult for herself. I also really liked her faith arc, and how serious seeking doubt was portrayed. I also enjoyed the complex depth of many of the other characters, like Alberta and Everett who are burdened by the conventions of society. Overall, this was a well done and enjoyable read, well researched, with layered characters and a steady pace. I also think that this book did an excellent job of feeling authentic to the time period in the manners, culture, and characters, perfect for fans of classic Masterpiece Theatre. Well worth the read! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
I have always enjoyed embroidery and it was fascinating to learn about beetle wing embroidery. I hadn't heard of it before and spent some time online looking it up and watching how it is done. I really enjoy learning new things from reading historical fiction and this book added to my knowledge. The story was well told and I liked the setting in both India and England.
A TAPESTRY OF LIGHT is a story that will immerse readers in all the textures of historical India with all the colors, scents and tastes. It's a story of two worlds and the racism prevalent amid the English, especially after a massacre that happened on Indian soil where many English women and children died. It's also a story of two hearts and the risk of pursuing a love that society would only shun. A recommended read for Christian historical fans.
I loved how immersed I was in India and its culture as I read this. I could almost taste and feel the setting. I also loved these characters, especially the main protagonist, Ottilie. She had so much heartbreak and loss in her young life, and then travels away from everything that is family to a new land where she wasn't fully accepted. You might want to have tissues nearby as there were quite a few moments where all I wanted to do was cry for her. She was definitely a relatable character and one that I wanted to cheer on.
The author did a good job of weaving so many meaningful elements through this story. It definitely was one of loss, forgiveness, found family and character growth. It also had elements of faith woven throughout as Ottilie tried to believe that God is real and that He is loving. The romance aspect was also marvelously done. I could feel the chemistry and the sweetness of new and fragile love. I also really liked the friendships and the familial aspects of this story in all their messiness.
In the end, was it what I wished for? This story was full of color and texture, with great characters and a story that will pull on readers' hearts from beginning to end. It was a beautiful story and definitely worth the read.
Content: Some racism and innuendo. Clean. Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through Celebrate Lit, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.
This is my first book by Kimberly Duffy and wow does she truly have a remarkable ability to transport you to the scene she sets. From the cultural richness of India to the backstreets of London, I felt like I was RIGHT THERE. I so enjoyed her attention to detail while writing this story, I felt like I could feel the thread and taste the tangy air. Again, truly one of the better books regarding the details given by the author that I have read in a while. However, the flipside to that is in the details. I think some people will probably think there are to many of them and just want the story to get to the point!
Ottilie was a fantastic character in terms of self-reflection and for the depth of her faith (the faith aspect of this book was beautifully done without being preachy but displayed in a walking out your faith type of way). I enjoyed her interactions with Everett, and I LOVED her devotion to her brother Thaddeus. The story is told in third person, but I would have loved to see some of Everett’s story included as well.
Overall, I give this story 4 out of 5 stars for the AMAZINGLY vivid descriptions that transported me, and for the deep faith aspects of the story. I truly enjoyed this book and I recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction.
*I volunteered to read this book in return for my honest feedback. The thoughts and opinions expressed within are my own.
Dépaysement garanti avec ce roman qui parle de racisme, de mélange des cultures, de perte, d’espoir, en suivant le parcours difficile d’Ottilie. Par contre je le classe plutôt en roman féminin, ne le lisez pas si vous voulez que l’histoire d’amour soit au centre de l’histoire.
Last year I read Mosaic of Wings and was blown away by the beautiful writing style of Ms Duffy. I felt the same way reading A Tapestry of Light. The author writes in such a wonderful, descriptive way that draws you in and makes you see and feel everything the characters do.
This story is about loss, pain, loneliness and rejection. It broke my heart reading what Ottilie was going through. But there is also hope. Thadeus, who had also experienced loss and rejection, offers a friendship to Ottilie that she hasn't had before. I loved Ottilie's grandmother and the words of wisdom she gave to her. It was wonderful seeing these truths begin to help Ottilie grow stronger as a person and also spiritually.
I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it! I am already looking forward to more books by this author.
**I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.**