Joining me on my blog today is Liz Trenow, author of The Silk Weaver (publishing date 26th January, 2017 by Macmillan.) I’m so pleased to be hosting my first ever Author’s section on the blog, with a few words about and from Liz herself!
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
Liz Trenow is the author of three previous historical novels: The Last Telegram, The Forgotten Seamstress
and The Poppy Factory. Liz’s family
have been silk weavers for nearly three hundred years, and she grew up in the
house next to the mill in Suffolk, England, which still operates today, weaving
for top-end fashion houses and royal commissions. This unique history inspired
her first two novels, and this, her fourth novel. 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 daughters.
A FEW WORDS…
I invited Liz to tell us all about her heroines and the other female characters in her book! Here’s what she had to say…
My heroine, Anna, is 18 and just arrived in London from rural Suffolk, hoping
that her aunt and uncle will be able to find her a suitable – wealthy – husband
so she can provide for her father and disabled sister in the future. But of
course she wants to marry for love, too. The problem is that she becomes
fascinated by a lowly French journeyman weaver who is definitely not suitable
I loved writing Anna. She is bright and
talented and determined not to spend the rest of her life as the ornament for
some rich man. I love her stubborn streak, and the way she refuses to be cowed
by the conventional respectability of her aunt and uncle.
The other key female character is Miss Charlotte, an unmarried dressmaker
(or costumiére) whom Anna admires for the way she runs her own business. Miss
Charlotte has suffered her own difficulties but has come through to live an
independent and successful life.
I ABSOLUTELY love the sound of this one. As a Francophone and Francophile alike, I love novels with a French twist to them – especially where there’s a French man involved! You can buy The Silk Weaver here if you’re interested in checking out this remarkable tale- I know I am!