Anna Butterfield moves from her Suffolk country home to her uncle's house in London, to be introduced to society. A chance encounter with a local silk weaver, French immigrant Henri, throws her from her privileged upbringing to the darker, dangerous world of London's silk trade. Henri is working on his 'master piece' to make his name as a master silk weaver; Anna, meanwhile, is struggling against the constraints of her family and longing to become an artist. Henri realizes that Anna's designs could lift his work above the ordinary, and give them both an opportunity for freedom…
This is a charming story of illicit romance, set against the world of the burgeoning silk trade in eighteenth-century Spitalfields - a time of religious persecution, mass migration, racial tension and wage riots, and very different ideas of what was considered 'proper' for women.
Welcome to the Blog Tour for The Silk Weaver by Liz Trenow, published by Pan Macmillan in paperback on 26 January 2017, priced £7.99
I'm delighted to welcome Liz Trenow, author of The Silk Weaver here to Random Things today. Liz is sharing her My Life In Books choices - books that have inspired her, or left a lasting impression on her life.
My Life In Books ~ Liz Trenow
Pride and Prejudice,by Jane Austen. Of course, isn’t it everyone’s? This was one of the first ‘grown up’ books I remember reading and I was entranced by the social observations, the characterisation and the humour in it. I suppose it is probably the first book that made me think it would be fun to be a novelist, making up imaginary worlds and characters, and having them do things that would be misunderstood and getting them into trouble. While researching The Silk Weaver which is set in Georgian England just a few decades earlier, I reread P&P and other Jane Austen novels, and fell in love with them all over again.
First Love, LastRites, short stories by Ian McEwan I was studying literature at the University of East Anglia when Ian McEwan was doing his Masters in Creative Writing there, and this was one of his first books. I was star struck: the stories were so compact, so absorbing, and so shocking. What a talent, I thought, and he was only a few years older than me. I’ve been following his writing ever since.
Restoration and Music and Silence, by Rose Tremain Rose Tremain was my chief inspiration for writing historical novels. Having hated history as it was taught at school I found myself fascinated by the history behind these two 17th century novels set in the English court of Charles II and the court of Christian IV of Denmark respectively. I especially loved the way she drew real-life characters into her plots, which encouraged me to do the same with the artists Georg Ehret, William Hogarth and Thomas Gainsborough in The Silk Weaver.
The Lady and theUnicorn, by Tracy Chevalier This book made me realise, for the first time, that it would be possible to write novels about the craft of silk weaving, based on my own family heritage. I loved learning about the craft of the medieval Flemish tapestry weavers and it made such an atmospheric setting for her novel. I’ve been a fan ever since and curiously our paths crossed when coincidentally we both wrote novels featuring patchwork quilts: The Last Runaway and The Forgotten Seamstress. Tracy became a real quilter, though, and I’ve never managed to devote the time to it.
Wolf Hall and its sequel Bring Up the Bodies by Hilary Mantel. Friends Wolf Hall was a ‘difficult read’ but I refused to listen and dived in. After just a chapter or two I was hooked. What a brilliant evocation and utterly absorbing evocation of an era. If I could achieve this only half as well as Hilary Mantel I would die satisfied! I can’t wait for the final book of the trilogy to be published.warned me that
Last but by no means least: The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry Published last year and rising quickly through the best seller lists (as well as being nominated as the Waterstones Book of the Year) The Essex Serpent deserves all the accolades it has received and is one of the few books that I wanted to read again (I did so, immediately). I adore her prose, characterisation and the gentle humour throughout. I live in the area of the Essex marshes where it is set, which made it all the more fascinating. This is definitely the novel that I (currently) wish I had written!
Liz Trenow ~ January 2017
Liz is a former journalist who spent fifteen years on regional and national newspapers, and on BBC radio and television news, before turning her hand to fiction. She lives in East Anglia, UK, with her artist husband, and they have two grown-up daughter.
Find out more at www.liztrenow.com
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