The Hidden Thread by Liz TrenowTitle: The Hidden Thread

Author: Liz Trenow

Publication Date: May 1st, 2017

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark

ISBN: 9781492637516Summary: The Hidden Thread is a breathtaking novel about the intricate craft of silk and the heartbreak of forbidden love.

When Anna Butterfield’s mother dies, she’s sent to live with her uncle, a silk merchant in London, to make a good match and provide for her father and sister. There, she meets Henri, a French immigrant and apprentice hoping to become a master weaver. But Henri, born into a lower class, becomes embroiled in the silk riots that break out as weavers protest for a fair wage.

My Review: 5 Stars

This was an historical fiction that takes place in 1760. It grabbed me right from the beginning and took me on a roller coaster of emotions as I was reading. It is based on a couple of actual events. The main character, Anna Butterfield, was inspired by Anna Maria Garthwaite who was an English textile designer known for and celebrated for the intricate floral designs she created. The other event in the book is the “silk riots” that took place to fight for an honest wage for the weavers, most of whom were French immigrants. These events did not take place at the same time in history, but they were woven together in a great plot.

Anna Butterfield is a vicar’s daughter from a small town on the coast of England. When her mother dies, her father sends her to live with his sister and her family to be introduced to society. The hope is that she will meet a wealthy man so he can support Anna, her sister and father when he is no longer able to work. When she arrives in Spitalfields, she faints and is rescued by a young Frenchman named Henri. Little does she know that this chance encounter will change her life. Her aunt is determined to assist her in making a “good match” and lets her know in no uncertain terms that she is above the french immigrants. It turns out that Henri is a journeyman weaver who is looking to design his masterpiece to be entered into the Company as a Master Weaver. Anna and Henri bump into each other a few times until they realize that they have true feelings for one another. Anna, who is an artist of nature, designs a floral pattern that Henri wants to use for his masterpiece. Of course this courtship/friendship is deemed unacceptable for Anna. Her family are torn apart when they find out. Anna’s aunt has a man in mind for her and he actually proposes, but Anna does not love him. Meanwhile, the weavers are trying to stop the merchants from importing illegal french silk and paying below the accepted rate for their product. This is where the riots come in. One of Henri’s good friends gets caught up in the events and Henri tries to help him and ends up in trouble.

Can Henri and Anna fight back against society? Can they fight back against what is expected of them? Is there anyway that they can be together? Will the weavers get the government to back their demands so they can make an honest living? This book covered so many topics from the period. Racism, romance, wage riots, classism, persecution – religiously, gender, race, status and much more. I was so glad there was a good epilogue so I was not left wondering about these characters when the story ended. If you like historical fiction, pick this book up, it will not disappoint. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.

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About the Author: Liz Trenow is a former BBC and newspaper journalist, now working freelance. She is also the author of The Last Telegram.

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