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Sonia Velton's debut novel Blackberry & Wild Rose is a compelling and intelligent piece of historical fiction that will delight fans of The Miniaturist and The Goldfinch.
Set amongst the Huguenot silk weavers of Spitalfields in the late 18th century, it follows Esther Thorel as she rescues Sara Kemp from working in a brothel. Sara is not convinced being a maid is much better than a hooker but could not turn down the chance to escape her grasping 'madam'...
The two women go on to forge an uneasy relationship, with Sara despising how her mistress is blind to the hypocrisy of her household and Esther so self-obsessed that she only sees Sara as a charitable cause.
Esther is a keen painter and has dreams that her husband will once weave these into reality. However, he's constantly putting her down and eventually she sets in motion events that will change the fate of the entire Thorel household; the price a piece of silk may prove more than either Esther or Sara is able to pay...