Blackberry & Wild Rose

Blackberry & Wild Rose

WHEN Esther Thorel, the wife of a Huguenot silk-weaver, rescues Sara Kemp from a brothel she thinks she is doing God’s will. Sara is not convinced being a maid is better than being a whore, but the chance to escape her grasping ‘madam’ is too good to refuse. Inside the Thorels’ tall house in Spitalfields, where the strange cadence of the looms fills the attic, the two wome...

DownloadRead Online
Title:Blackberry & Wild Rose
Author:Sonia Velton
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Blackberry & Wild Rose Reviews

  • Evie Braithwaite

    Historical fiction wins my heart once again. The cover art for this alone was enough to make me fall head over heels in love with this book.

    Blackberry and Wild Rose is an atmospheric novel set in Spitalfields, a parish in London in the late 18th century. Now I love a historical fiction novel. But, tell me it’s historical fiction novel set in England? You’ve instantly piqued my interest. This is an area filled with the homes of respectable merchants and Huguenot weavers. Neighbouring them, howev

    Historical fiction wins my heart once again. The cover art for this alone was enough to make me fall head over heels in love with this book.

    Blackberry and Wild Rose is an atmospheric novel set in Spitalfields, a parish in London in the late 18th century. Now I love a historical fiction novel. But, tell me it’s historical fiction novel set in England? You’ve instantly piqued my interest. This is an area filled with the homes of respectable merchants and Huguenot weavers. Neighbouring them, however, are brothels, pubs and a bustling marketplace, a clear juxtaposition laid out before us between the social classes.

    A young Sara Kemp arrives in Spitalfields bright-eyed and optimistic, ready to seize any opportunity which comes her way. Her nativity, however, leads her to be tricked into working in a brothel.

    Esther, on the other hand, is a respectable woman married to a master silk weaver. While distributing Bibles in the bordering poor quarters of Spitalfields, Esther witnesses Sara being harassed by her Madam outside the brothel. In her devout desire to help her less fortunate neighbours, Esther comes to the rescue and offers her employment as her maid. As their lives intertwine,

    Sara, although posing grateful in her presence, resents how her mistress is blind to the hypocrisy of her own household. Meanwhile, Esther is so wrapped up in her own affairs that she perceives Sara as nothing but a lady’s maid doing her job. She has painted her own designs all her life, her dream of them being woven into fine silk appearing to be seemingly possible upon marrying Elias, a Huguenot weaver. However, he laughs at and belittles her ambition. What woman could possibly work among the silk-weavers?

    Determined not to let her husband thwart her dreams, she soon forms a relationship with the apprentice journeyman who works in their garret to weave his masterpiece. Events unfold, and men disrupt the forging friendship of the women. With ulterior motives and endless secrets,

    unravels before us inevitably resulting in chaos.

    Despite the oppressive society in which they live, Esther and Sara are

    who are determined to follow their dreams. They’re believable characters who, although from opposite worlds, have stories just as compelling as the other.

    Velton’s elegant prose and rich descriptions made the scenes of London’s East End leap out from the pages. There’s no doubt that a great amount of research was carried out, resulting in

    I didn’t expect to be fascinated by the lives of silk weavers or trade unions; from learning about the challenges the silk weavers faced, to the workers fight against the unscrupulous masters for their rights, this story had me in its grip.

    They say don’t judge a book by its cover, but

    This is the perfect novel for fellow lovers of historical fiction which will leave you yearning for more.

    Thanks to NetGalley and Quercus Books for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

  • Lou

    Blackberry and Wild Rose, Sonia Velton's historical fiction debut, is based around the silk workers in 1860s Spitalfields, London. From the alternating perspectives of Sara and Esther it illustrates the hardship and destitution present at that time. It also explores many more important but overlooked issues of the time such as the conflict between journeyman weavers and master weavers and the fact that women are forbidden to work in certain professions. This is a beautifully written, atmospheric

    Blackberry and Wild Rose, Sonia Velton's historical fiction debut, is based around the silk workers in 1860s Spitalfields, London. From the alternating perspectives of Sara and Esther it illustrates the hardship and destitution present at that time. It also explores many more important but overlooked issues of the time such as the conflict between journeyman weavers and master weavers and the fact that women are forbidden to work in certain professions. This is a beautifully written, atmospheric and fascinating account of what it was like to live and fight against present-day problems in this bygone era. The rich detail perfectly portrays the adversity most of the poor felt at the time and was quite uncomfortable and sad to learn about.

    You really feel emotional for what the characters go through in their lives. This is historical fiction at its best, and you can tell that the author has carried out extensive research to make the story as realistic and believable as possible; Velton did an exceptional job of that. I look forward to reading more of her work. I'm very excited to see what comes next.

    Many thanks to Quercus Books for an ARC.

  • Paromjit

    Sonia Velton writes beautifully sumptuous and atmospheric historical fiction set in the late eighteenth century amidst the Huguenot silk weavers of London's East End that reminded me strongly of Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist. It begins in Spitalfield in 1768, and the naive, unlucky Sarah Kemp has been tricked into working in a brothel. The wife of a Huguenot silk weaver, Esther Thorel, rescues the desperate Sarah from being a whore by offering her employment as her maid, an act of Christian ch

    Sonia Velton writes beautifully sumptuous and atmospheric historical fiction set in the late eighteenth century amidst the Huguenot silk weavers of London's East End that reminded me strongly of Jessie Burton's The Miniaturist. It begins in Spitalfield in 1768, and the naive, unlucky Sarah Kemp has been tricked into working in a brothel. The wife of a Huguenot silk weaver, Esther Thorel, rescues the desperate Sarah from being a whore by offering her employment as her maid, an act of Christian charity. However, Sarah is not as thankful as you might expect, harbouring resentment and contemptuous of Esther's inability to perceive the hypocrisy rampant in her own home. A strangely intense and uneasy relationship begins to develop between the two women, full of intrigue, turbulence and drama.

    Esther has ambitions of being a silk designer, but her husband is scornful of her desires as he pours cold water on her dreams. However, Esther is determined not to be thwarted as she connects with the journeyman silk weaver, Bisby, but there are huge repercussions that ensue. As depicted by the likes of John Barnstaple, there is anger and rage at the working conditions the silk weavers face, giving rise to conflict and violence. This is a story of flawed characters, a house of secrets, betrayal, deceit, love, loss, power, ambition and hope. Velton makes the London of this era come alive with her rich descriptions, and she has clearly done her research when it comes to the silk weaving industry. There are insights at both ends of the social spectrum and the very real difficulties women face behind closed doors, irrespective of their social position. I found the state of the silk weaving and the politics in the London of this time absolutely fascinating. A wonderful piece of historical fiction that weaves a spell. Many thanks to Quercus for an ARC.

  • Beata

    This novel's setting was the main reason I decided to read it: London, 1768, the world of the Huguenot silk-weavers. This is a solid HF, with a good story behind, and my only complaint is that I expected even more historical information on the diaspora even though the Author did her job well and while reading you receive substantial insight into the world of this particular Diaspora in the 18th century London. recommended to all HF fans.

  • Marialyce

    Who has not loved the texture and beauty of silk? Whether you wear it, sleep on it, or have it incorporated into your furniture, silk is a part of your life. In the book Blackberry and Wild Roses, we learn of silk making in the eighteenth century and also of the beginnings of labor unions. I must also say that this exquisite cover so mimics the gorgeous patterns that silk has often incorporated.

    Esther Thorel is a wife of a prosperous silk maker. She is drawn to a young girl, Sara Kemp, a woman o

    Who has not loved the texture and beauty of silk? Whether you wear it, sleep on it, or have it incorporated into your furniture, silk is a part of your life. In the book Blackberry and Wild Roses, we learn of silk making in the eighteenth century and also of the beginnings of labor unions. I must also say that this exquisite cover so mimics the gorgeous patterns that silk has often incorporated.

    Esther Thorel is a wife of a prosperous silk maker. She is drawn to a young girl, Sara Kemp, a woman of ill repute. Esther is a good Christian so it becomes her desire to save this girl. She takes Sara into her home, a place where unhappiness resides along with the looms for silk making. The women form a tenuous relationship not really seeing each other for what they are and what secrets they harbor.

    Esther is also a painter. She so wants her husband to incorporate her paining designs into his silk making. However, that is not to be, as her husband, as we come to learn, is a despicable character. Esther is able to eventually convince one of the weavers, a man who hopes one day to become a master silk maker, to weave her design while her husband remains unknowing in this plan Repercussions occur which Esther had never thought of.

    Sara, herself sees and knows thing about the Thorel household. Coming to London, seemingly abandoned by her mother, Sara is ensnared by an unscrupulous woman who has Sara become a prostitute. Life is an ever ending series of men and when one man tries to almost kill her during rough sex, she is determined to get away. She now sees Esther as her only hope.

    Will these two woman have a future? Will the men in their lives allow them to have their own lives or will Esther and Sara continue to be under the yolk of men who only have their own interests in mind and heart?

    Set against a time when women were definitely considered objects, this story brings us the workings of not only silk making but also a look at the way in which men so dominated all things. It was a sad tale, and the character of Esther is loosely based on Anna Maria Garthwaite, a famous silk maker of the mid eighteenth century. Interestingly the title takes its name from one of her designs.

    This book is due to be published on May 7, 2019

  • Sara

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    Blackberry and Wild Rose tells the story of two women, one a naive fallen woman and the other the wife of a Huguenot silk weaver, during eighteenth century London.

    The highlight for me was the relationship played out between Ethel and Sara, and the many parallels between them. It’s a relationship built initially on the supposed charity of Ethel, however it soon becomes clear that the two women have a lot more in common that they fi

    I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

    Blackberry and Wild Rose tells the story of two women, one a naive fallen woman and the other the wife of a Huguenot silk weaver, during eighteenth century London.

    The highlight for me was the relationship played out between Ethel and Sara, and the many parallels between them. It’s a relationship built initially on the supposed charity of Ethel, however it soon becomes clear that the two women have a lot more in common that they first think. Circumstance and privilege are all that separate them. I liked Ethel as a character, and found her more emotionally developed than Sara. She’s headstrong, intelligent and feels incredibly frustrated with regards to the limitations of her sex hindering her creative dreams and ambitions. I really felt this frustration, and found it accurate in what I would presume women felt during this time period. Going behind her husband’s back after he rejects her work to another weaver builds on this tension, and works itself into a great story. Sara I found more naive, and not as willing to changer her outcome in life. She’s not as colourful, or as well developed, and her story isn’t as interesting because of this.

    I also liked the descriptions of the silk weaving industry. It’s not an area of history I’ve really looked into before, and I found it really fascinating and well described. I felt like I was working alongside these weavers, and it was great to see the starting spark of the industrial revolution through their eyes as well as acknowledging the rather precarious situation they were in. They were the front runners to our trade unions and workers rights, and I found their fight for freedom from the ‘masters’ of their trade interesting.

    The plot, built around these two women, is quite slow and doesn’t really go far unfortunately. I found myself wanting to skip Sara’s chapters and read more of Ethel’s, and this disrupted my overall enjoyment of the story with its stop and start aspects. I also found it quite predictable, and there isn’t really any uniqueness involved. If you take out the silk weaving, it could be any historical fiction novel.

    Well written descriptions of any interesting period in British history, but otherwise a typical historical fiction novel.

  • Umut Reviews

    I love historical fiction, and I enjoyed this book. It has a gorgeous cover reflecting the Silk weaving times back in times, in London. I think the author did a good research.

    I liked to read about the silk weavers, the tension between masters and the journeyman. I found it original and was curious to learn about these.

    The household part where we had 2 women narrating the story was a bit predictable. Romances, revenge, love, etc. The combination of these 2 aspects made the story an easy, entert

    I love historical fiction, and I enjoyed this book. It has a gorgeous cover reflecting the Silk weaving times back in times, in London. I think the author did a good research.

    I liked to read about the silk weavers, the tension between masters and the journeyman. I found it original and was curious to learn about these.

    The household part where we had 2 women narrating the story was a bit predictable. Romances, revenge, love, etc. The combination of these 2 aspects made the story an easy, entertaining read.

    Overall, it was a solid historical fiction debut.

  • Krista

    Rating: 3.5 stars rounded down the 3 stars

    Sonia Velton has written an interesting work of historical fiction set in London in the 1760’s. I knew very little about the silk weaving trade concentrated in the Spitalfields area of London at that time. Nor did I realize that there were actual riots then as the weavers rebelled against the lowering of their piece rate wages when the industry started losing business to the Indian cotton calico trade.

    The story is told from the dual points of view of Sar

    Rating: 3.5 stars rounded down the 3 stars

    Sonia Velton has written an interesting work of historical fiction set in London in the 1760’s. I knew very little about the silk weaving trade concentrated in the Spitalfields area of London at that time. Nor did I realize that there were actual riots then as the weavers rebelled against the lowering of their piece rate wages when the industry started losing business to the Indian cotton calico trade.

    The story is told from the dual points of view of Sara and Esther. Sara Kemp arrived in London as a teenager fresh off the farm, and was swooped up by a seemingly kindly older lady who promptly put her to work in her brothel. Esther Thorel encountered Sara and the brothel owner as she was walking in the area where the brothel was located, distributing Bibles. Esther married into the Huguenot faith when she married Master Weaver, Elias. The Huguenot community at that time was focused on silk production, and religious piety. It was a closed community that did not welcome Esther warmly.

    Esther eventually provides a refuge for Sara after Sara flees the brothel. Sara becomes Esther’s maid, and watches as Esther tries to get her emotionally distant husband to allow her to design silk patterns. She also sees other things going on below the surface of the household that Esther is ignorant of.

    Over the ensuing months Sara and Esther both struggle to find niches for themselves inside and outside of the Thorel household. Esther encounters Bisby Lambert who is working on his ‘masterpiece’ of silk weaving on the unused loom in the Thorel’s attic. Elias Thorel is allowing Bisby to use his loom to work on the piece that could transform Bisby from a journeyman weaver to a Master Weaver. That is a very rare opportunity. Esther convinces Bisby to show her how the loom works, and to please just weave a few rows of the ‘Blackberry and Wild Rose’ pattern that she’s devised. A friendship grows from there as they continue to weave the pattern together.

    Sara encounters folks outside of the household that first bring excitement and then more tribulations to her life. She is well positioned to witness the events leading up to the Spitalfield riots. She speaks her mind to the downstairs servants in the household, and wavers between frustration and insight as to the Esther’s experiences. She can see danger where Esther cannot. There is in fact danger on all sides that culminates in the riots and eventual trials. Elias Thorel is deeply involved in the prosecution of the accused protagonist of the riots, to the horror of his wife and Sara.

    I won’t go into how the story ends. Suffice it to say that I’m really grateful that I was not born in this era, or this area. It was such a brutal time as illustrated by the capriciousness of the law, and the minimal rights of the poor. It makes me glad that I have the rights that I do, especially as a woman in our contemporary society. This was a fine book that taught me some history, and entertained me over the course of a few days.

    ‘Thank-You’ to NetGalley; the publisher, Blackstone Publishing; and the author, Sonia Velton; for providing a free e-ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

  • Amalia Gavea

    A woman is trying to break the norms of an oppressive society whose chances are reserved exclusively for men. In an era when silk is considered equal to gold, Esther struggles to convince her husband of her talent as a pattern designer. Her kind nature leads her to Sara, a young woman trapped in a brothel, and to a complex network

    A woman is trying to break the norms of an oppressive society whose chances are reserved exclusively for men. In an era when silk is considered equal to gold, Esther struggles to convince her husband of her talent as a pattern designer. Her kind nature leads her to Sara, a young woman trapped in a brothel, and to a complex network of deceit and exploitation. Welcome to London during the 18th century.

    A stunning cover and a beautiful title. An adventurous era, a very interesting field of research. This is the background of a novel focused on the lives of two young women and the conspiracies of silk. The problem is that sometimes a book needs an interesting cast of characters in order to become something special and memorable. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it here. The atmosphere is excellent and beautifully depicted through balanced writing that is realistic and faithful to the era without becoming modernized or crude. The dialogue is equally satisfying, interesting and believable. The fascinating and sinister world of silk is at the heart of the novel and I believe it should have been explored more thoroughly. Esther’s ambitions and talent along with the enterprise of the glorious material should have been given the first role. These should have been our protagonists instead of wasting our time with a character that had no redeeming, or even remotely interesting, qualities…

    Esther is based on Anna Maria Garthwaite, the woman who brought painting to the loom, creating unique designs, as the writer informs us. Perfect! Why did we need to read the ‘’adventures’’ of a mediocre character? Esther is a complex woman. In my opinion and according to my personal values, Sara is a disgusting figure. Her weird notion that she is somehow entitled to a life with plenty of money and little effort, the fact that she is a complete and utter fool, a treacherous creature who curses her bad luck and turns against the one who helps her did little to make me sympathize with her. As a result, her chapters were a chore. Compared to Esther’s complexity and innate elegance, Sara seemed a shadow of a character. I did not care for the closure of her story, it was completely indifferent to me. Moll was even worse...In my opinion, the writer painted the female characters in extremely unfavourable colours by making use of every cliché imaginable… Not that the men were any better. Generally speaking, the characters won’t enter any Literary pantheon anytime soon. Rather the opposite and this issue affected my overall impression significantly.

    Also, ‘’Elizabeth Swann’’? Seriously? I was expecting Jack Sparrow and Will Turner to appear...Which would have been great because these three are awesome. The characters in this novel...not so much…

    In my opinion, Historical Fiction is a mighty difficult genre. You need the perfect ingredients to create a novel that will stand out. This book is (mostly) well-written but I don’t think it is memorable or unique. Had the characters been better, I would have enjoyed it more. As it is, a 3-star rating is the most I can give.

    Many thanks to Quercus and NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

    My reviews can also be found on

  • Emma

    I love historical fiction and was very much looking forward to starting this. The context of the silk weavers of London and the competition with French and Belgian silk; the banning of Indian calico cotton; the London setting- these were very interesting details to me. However it felt like nothing really happened (not true but that's how it felt!) and there were no sympathetic characters. Not a bad read. Just not a great one.

Best Books Online is in no way intended to support illegal activity. Use it at your risk. We uses Search API to find books/manuals but doesn´t host any files. All document files are the property of their respective owners. Please respect the publisher and the author for their copyrighted creations. If you find documents that should not be here please report them


©2019 Best Books Online - All rights reserved.