Can you believe I'd never read a novel set in India??
A Tapestry of Light opens in 1885 Calcutta. Our heroine, Ottilie, has already seen more than her share of hardship, and today is no different. We meet her at her mother's funeral. At only 20, Ottilie now bears responsibility for her grandmother and her young brother. Her physical strength and her faith in God are barely holding up.
But Ottilie has a special talent - beetle-wing embroidery. Yes, you read that correctly. Actually embroidery with beetle wings! If you love handicrafts like me, all the descriptions of this specialized artistry will make your heart swoon! I spent hours googling and drooling over photos...
Embroidery becomes a theme and a metaphor throughout this incredibly lush and romantic book.
Kimberly does a great job of putting us in a very tactile world. We can taste the Indian spices, hear the sounds of the neighbourhood, and feel every breath of weather. In full disclosure, I know very little about British/Indian history. I found myself looking up words like "Cawnpore" and "Nana Sahib", but isn't that part of why we love historical fiction? The best historical fiction doesn't just give us a great story - it gives us a unique and personal glimpse into history. More often than not, we get to experience chapters of history - usually about women or the disenfranchised - that rarely make it into the history books.
At 400+ pages, A Tapestry of Light is a hefty read, but worth every moment. I loved the world of the book, the characters, the artistry, the Victorian sensibility, and yes, the beetle-wing embroidery!
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|This contemporary artist shares details of her creation HERE.|
Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.