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Publisher's Summary

Set in 18th-century Spitalfields, London, Blackberry and Wild Rose is the rich and atmospheric tale of a household of Huguenot silk weavers as the pursuit of the perfect silk design leads them all into ambition, love, and betrayal. 

When Esther Thorel, wife of a master silk weaver, rescues Sara Kemp from a brothel, she thinks she is doing God's will, but her good deed is not returned. Sara quickly realizes that the Thorel household is built on hypocrisy and lies and soon tires of the drudgery of life as Esther's new lady's maid. As the two women's relationship becomes increasingly fractious, Sara resolves to find out what it is that so preoccupies her mistress....

Esther has long yearned to be a silk designer. When her early water colors are dismissed by her husband, Elias, as the daubs of a foolish girl, she continues her attempts in secret. It may have been that none of them would ever have become actual silks, were it not for the presence of the extraordinarily talented Bisby Lambert in the Thorel household. Brought in by Elias to weave his master piece on the Thorel's loom in the attic of their house in Spitalfields, the strange cadence of the loom as Bisby works is like a siren call to Esther. The minute she first sets foot in the garret and sees Bisby Lambert at his loom, marks the beginning of Blackberry and Wild Rose, the most exquisite silk design Spitalfields has ever seen, and the end of the Thorel household's veneer of perfection. 

As unrest among the journeyman silk weavers boils over into riot and rebellion, it leads to a devastating day of reckoning between Esther and Sara. 

A Library Journal Editor's Pick of Best Debut Novels of Winter/Spring 2019.

©2019 Sonia Velton (P)2019 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about Blackberry and Wild Rose

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  • Overall
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  • RueRue
  • 2019-08-22

Surprising !

One of the best historical fiction stories that I've read this year ! The plot was layered and took quite a few unexpected turns, and the alternating narrative voices between Esther and Sara, women from different social backgrounds and with opposing personalities, added intrigue and even suspense. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this. Both of the narrators were fantastic.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Phyllis
  • 2020-12-03

Excellent Narration, Average Story

The author shows a fine ability to write engaging descriptions with a decent attempt at poetic prose. Yet the story falls flat. Through all the chapters, the plot seemed pedestrian with characters that were not engaging or significant. Banal and trite seem appropriate for the selfish and cruel husband, the long suffering weaver, the evil madam, the moral wife... Not an original in the lot. The excellent narration saved an otherwise dull story.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Maria
  • 2020-09-03

A Fine Piece of Literature

The story is a beautiful symbolic spun tale. It masterfully balances the circle of life‘s duplicities.

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  • Ilovecats253
  • 2020-03-26

Ending as it should

I like that this novel did not end entirely happy, as many do. The ending was as it should be; as reality would be. The story is interesting and keeps readers, or listeners in this case, engaged, and entertained. I would recommend this title to those who enjoy historical fiction.

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  • shannon lucas
  • 2021-01-14

I love a good heroine

I love historical fiction and this was an excellent example of good historical fiction. I found story of these two women, from such different backgrounds, enthralling. I will recommend this highly.

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  • Paisley
  • 2020-12-21

If you're a textile artist, you will adore this

I design woven and knit fabrics for a living, so I was particularly fond of how passionately Esther described her joy for designing, and how accurately the process was described. I was very impressed by the author's knowledge of weaving and how well researched everything was. I felt emotionally swept up in the story, too. It was hard to stop listening for any length of time. Slight spoilers below! My only complaints are that I was really ready for a happier ending, though it was a realistic ending, and I was disappointed that Bisby's character seemed so flat compared to the others. You never learn much about him other than he's a nice guy, great weaver, and takes care of his nephew. I wanted more in that regard, but otherwise an excellent book with a historic backdrop that was fascinating to learn about.

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  • TheresaDLC
  • 2020-12-18

Don’t waste your time or money.

When I read a book, I usually do so to escape, to learn about it. Of time, and generally just get away from normal stressors in my life. This book was so confusing not well written, the female characters were treated poorly throughout the book; and I stopped reading on chapter 6 as there was no clock going on my bed and I was sick and tired of seeing every single character being abused, treated poorly or generally a tyrant. I understand the time. And the challenges that they had, however this is a very depressing book that I wouldn’t recommend to anybody, ever.

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  • JFCincy
  • 2020-11-10

Hidden Gem

A beautiful domestic novel with multiple layers that slowly unfolds. It is a long seductive story with small plot points to discover. And by the end, the excellent writer and the narrator provide a most satisfying ending.