Title – The Embroiderer
Author – Kathryn Gauci
Genre – Historical Fiction
Length – 433 Pages
Publication – Nov 2014
My Rating – 5/5 Stars
Set against the mosques and minarets of Asia Minor and the ruins of ancient Athens, ‘The Embroiderer’ is a gripping saga of love and loss, hope and despair, and of the extraordinary courage of women in the face of adversity.
1822: During one of the bloodiest massacres of The Greek War of Independence, a child is born to a woman of legendary beauty in the Byzantine monastery of Nea Moni on the Greek island of Chios. The subsequent decades of bitter struggle between Greeks and Turks simmer to a head when the Greek army invades Turkey in 1919. During this time, Dimitra Lamartine arrives in Smyrna and gains fame and fortune as an embroiderer to the elite of Ottoman society. However it is her grand-daughter, Sophia, who takes the business to great heights only to see their world come crashing down with the outbreak of The Balkan Wars, 1912-13. In 1922, Sophia begins a new life in Athens but the memory of a dire prophecy once told to her grandmother about a girl with flaming red hair begins to haunt her with devastating consequences.
1972: Eleni Stephenson is called to the bedside of her dying aunt in Athens. In a story that rips her world apart, Eleni discovers the chilling truth behind her family’s dark past plunging her into the shadowy world of political intrigue, secret societies and espionage where families and friends are torn apart and where a belief in superstition simmers just below the surface.
I feel very lucky to have been offered the chance to review this book, I absolutely loved it.
For the most part the book focuses around Sophia, who came across as a very powerful character who has to deal with so much pain throughout her life… but there’s so much more to the book. It’s covers multiple generations and sometimes you are left with tit bits of information which light is shed onto later in the book. It made this book a fascinating read to say the least.
I felt a lot of time went into this book, the detail given not only to the characters but also the background..the places visited.. the people..and if I’m honest I loved the underlying family traits of painting and embroidery that were explored.
The major theme that plays out throughout the book is war.. and how it affects Sophia and her family.. and at times it was hard to read..i had my hand over my mouth a few times as some of the events.. it was so tragic.
This book was full of character development and the best part.. it was a natural development rather than forced… my heart ached for Sophia.
3 chapters in to the book I was already looking at rating the book a 4* simply because my brain couldn’t understand everything that was going on. It felt like three stories rolled into one.. I think that’s me.. I over think.. I look 10 chapters ahead wondering where a story will go. The way the author managed to tie everything together and to keep me waiting so long for the information I knew would come brought this up to the 5*. The suspense is what kept me reading even when I was tired..i just had to keep reading
The author also gives you a lot of background info to the wars that are being waged. It was hard to take it all in at times but rest assured this info doesn’t take anything away from the main story if you don’t quite understand it all.
In conclusion this is a wonderfully emotional book, full of heartache and love. The author has put so much into this book it’s hard to do it justice.. Read the book.. you’ll enjoy it