Wednesday, 24 June 2015

The Silk Factory - Judith Allnatt

"Anyone who’s ever lost someone is haunted
Rosie Milford inherits a house in an old silk factory after her mother’s death and moves there with her young children. The discovery of a shocking truth about her own childhood, when she is already reeling from the breakup of her marriage, fills her with distrust and fearfulness. Then she starts seeing a strange child, wandering in the garden, who seems as lost as she is.
In 1812, silk master Septimus Fowler has grand plans to keep his factory in step with the industrial revolution: he will plant mulberry trees, rear silkworms and import new mechanized looms. Orphan Beulah Fiddement works as a bobbin winder and has secrets that the master would go to any lengths to get. Caught up in a dark adult world of illicit love, rebellion and revenge, Beulah must put away her childhood and draw on all her spirit to protect those she loves.
Beulah’s story of guilt and bravery will echo down two centuries and change Rosie’s life as she struggles to overcome the hand of her own past and find redemption."

This is a haunting, historical novel that I would recommend to anybody who is a fan of Barbara Erskine  or Pamela Hartshorne. Whilst not a time-slip novel EXACTLY, the two stories run alongside each other, with Rosie in the present day occasionally catching glimpses of Beulah in the past. 

The characters are well -written, and I found Rosie really easy to relate to. The thread that runs through both sides of the novel, both past and present, is family and how we do what we can to protect them. I was left with a few questions at the end of the book, particularly in relation to events that happened early in Rosie's life, but an aspect of the novel I did like was the way I was led to believe that something had happened to Beulah, when in actual fact, events turned out differently to how I believed they would. 

The writing is clear, and it is not difficult to imagine the conditions Beulah and her colleagues at the Silk Factory were living in. A excellent read, for anyone who likes a little bit of past in their present.

The Silk Factory is out now and you can get it here:

**Many thanks to the publisher for my ARC**

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