Threads of Silk
Author: Amanda Roberts
Date of Publication: 13th September 2016
Genre: Historical Fiction
Synopsis: A village girl in late 19th Century China uses her skill at embroidery to reach court, and as result, becomes a part of the final throes of the Qing Dynasty.
This book was provided in exchange for an honest review. My thanks go to Amanda Roberts, Red Empress Publishing and Netgalley for the opportunity.
I think any comparisons to Snow Flower and the Secret Fan are inevitable, for anyone who has read both and that this book. The similarities are certainly there – women beginning their lives with foot binding, and this binding changing their destinies.
In my opinion, Snow Flower is a better book. However there are a lot of good things to say about Threads of Silk. The central concept – of embroidery providing a reason for the character’s elevation to the Royal Court of the dying Qing Dynasty, was interesting me. Similarly I found the relationships Yaqian had with both the men and women around here, shaped by the traditions and rules of the time, were fascinating. I especially loved how true to life her romantic relationship turned out to be.
The problems were two fold: too much “show don’t tell” and too long of a book.
If the former were reduced, the latter would no longer be an issue. Threads of Silk, especially by the end, begins to have pages of historical facts in between its fiction. Whilst I understand why they were there, my interest is in the experience of Yaqian, and I felt the book looses its pace when it veers from historical fiction to non-fiction.
Overall an interesting read for fans of a Chinese historical fiction setting, but nothing revolutionary (other than the Boxer Rebellion – which plays a large role) to be found here.