Hey y’all. I’ve been digging the free monthly Amazon Kindle books lately. I just finished reading Threads of Silk by Amanda Roberts.
This historical fiction follows Yaqian, as she makes her way from a barefoot village girl to a valued artisan living in the emperor’s service. The political turbulence of last decades of the Chinese Qing Dynasty (late 1800’s and early 1900’s) provides the historical backdrop that make Theads of Silk so interesting.
From the beginning, Yaqian is different. Bold and head strong, she doesn’t fit into the obedient female role predetermined to someone of her gender and station. In an act of defiance, Yaqian begins embroidering shoes, which sell quickly and attract the attention of an embroidery master. Yaqian is quickly whisked away to the embroidery school, where her head strong and bold personality launch her directly into the emperor’s court. As a court artisan, Yaqian quickly becomes part of the inner circle and witnesses first hand the fall of the Qing Dynasty.
I don’t know much about Chinese history, so it was very interesting to read about life in China at the point in time. However, it felt odd that a royal artisan would have so much involvement in so many different court happenings and be so intimately involved with the royal family. The constant “in the right place at the right time” situations tend to jar the plausibility of the story with as do the constant number of times Yaqian seems to be exempt from behaving in a manner of her age and station. The story is well written and quite beautiful but it didn’t feel authentic. At some point during the book, it became very evident that the author was not Chinese and was writing as an American woman who wanted a strong Chinese female lead character.
Overall, this was a very enjoyable read. I learned a lot about China and enjoyed the story. It just didn’t hit the mark for authenticity or believably. We’ll rate this one a strong 3.5 stars.
Until next time, happy reading.