Sara has been sent to London by her mother to give her a better chance of having a good life, except things don’t go to plan and she ends up trapped, working in a brothel.
Esther has been blessed with a much better start, she is the wife of a silk weaving business man and spends her days running a household and fulfilling God’s wishes.
A chance encounter sees Esther bump into Sara, and Esther gifts her a bible, in the hope it might guide Sara to build a new life, away from sin. Sara sees Esther’s gesture as a lifeline and it’s not long before she’s at Esther’s door, begging for her help.
Being a good Christian, Esther welcomes Sara into her home giving her job and board. That instant, changes everything, and sets the route for the future: igniting possibilities, shepherding change and forcing tension both known and unknown to come out of the woodwork and fracture life as it is.
Velton’s writing style is formidable, it instantly draws you in and makes you feel very comfortable in the 1760s era. I was consumed by fascinating knowledge of the silk trade and weaving process in the Spitalfields setting, and I was surprised by how much this lured me in.
With the chapters/subchapters flicking between Sara and Esther’s perspectives, the story unfolded with pace and suspense, as I watched the household balance shift so dramatically with just one new member. Oh how the tables began to turn, how it sniffed out those craving the freedom to try something new, and how it intensified the challenge to kick previous habits. It brought out the good and the bad in the house, but sadly more of the latter, Sara’s arrival seemed to have cast a dark spell over the Thorel’s house, and that sense of gloom felt imminent.
Velton has intrinsically created a story that has such power, that your emotions are stirred continuously and you feel the heartache along with the characters – incredibly raw and beautifully conveyed.
Like the hundreds of others who have said this, if you are a fan of Jessie Barton (The Miniaturist and The Muse), you will LOVE this. It has that same impactful and resonating feeling that leaves you feeling deeply moved by such an incredible story.
Blackberry and Wild Rose is out NOW in hardback and eBook forms, published by Quercus.
I was lucky enough to meet Sonia at a Quercus book event and gifted a wonderful proof of this book – I am so grateful to have heard more about the story from her! It was my choice to review Blackberry & Wild Rose here on my blog.
Until next time, Chloé x