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Summary

For fans of Jessie Burton and Tracy Chevalier, a rich historical debut set among the Huguenot silk weavers of Spitalfields in the late 18th century.

When Esther Thorel, the wife of a Huguenot silk weaver, rescues Sara Kemp from a brothel she thinks she is doing God's will. Sara is not convinced being a maid is better than being a whore, but the chance to escape her grasping madam is too good to refuse.

Inside the Thorels' tall house in Spitalfields, where the strange cadence of the looms fills the attic, the two women forge an uneasy relationship. The physical intimacies of washing and dressing belie the reality: Sara despises her mistress' blindness to the hypocrisy of her household while Esther is too wrapped up in her own secrets to see Sara as anything more than another charitable cause.

It is silk that has Esther so distracted. For years she has painted her own designs, dreaming that one day her husband will weave them into reality. When he laughs at her ambition, she unwittingly sets in motion events that will change the fate of the whole Thorel household and set the scene for a devastating day of reckoning between her and Sara.

The price of a piece of silk may prove more than either is able to pay.

©2019 Sonia Velton (P)2019 Quercus Editions Limited

Critic reviews

"Sumptuous and moving." (Laura Purcell, author of The Silent Companions)

What listeners say about Blackberry and Wild Rose

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Captivating

I don't always write a review but wanted to on this occasion because I so enjoyed this book. A really interesting story which was well-paced, interesting characters and setting. I hope this author has more of the same quality up her sleeve, I will certainly be keeping a look out, and I will also be recommending this one to my book group members.

18 people found this helpful

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Detailed & wrapped up in fine silk

Great narration of an intriguing story line. All the fine details and descriptions believable transporting you to another moment in time. Heartwarming and moving. Would definitely recommend.

12 people found this helpful

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bittersweet and simple

This is a bittersweet and simple story set in the late 1700s. I loved hearing of the looms, the fabrics and the elaborate dresses the women wore. The harsh realities of poverty and hanging was depressing but very interesting to learn about.

10 people found this helpful

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Wept buckets

What a lovely few days I have spent with this book really enjoyed it from beginning to end

9 people found this helpful

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Review of Audiobook

I absolutely loved this beautifully narrated audio book, and was enthralled from the first chapter. I was captivated with the comprehensive descriptions of the working of the silk looms which helped me visualise the journeyman weaving while his draw boy controlled the warp thread. I was also interested in the economics of the time, learning about the Indian calicos and cheaper silk imports which threatened the weavers' livelihoods.

Blackberry and Wild Rose was compulsive listening and I'd highly recommend to readers who enjoy historical fiction.

6 people found this helpful

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Superb writing

I loved this - beautiful, gripping storytelling about an interesting piece of history, told from the point of view of two different women. Lovely narration to top it all off.

6 people found this helpful

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Confusing narration

Both of the narrators were good. But they sounded so similar that I was frequently confused about whose story I was listening to, even right up to the end when I was used to them both. This seems so unnecessary.

5 people found this helpful

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Diverting, if a little predictable

I really enjoyed this as I love books that focus on the cloth trade, I just find it really interesting. However, the plot and characters are a little predictable, but this doesn't bother me as I can find heavier plot lines and meatier characters elsewhere. I found the last few chapters very moving as despite guessing most of the outcomes, the way the writer wrote about the relationships between the characters as they headed towards their final destinations was very human and candid. A good listen overall.

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excellent

I very much enjoyed this and learning about weaving history. Only 4 stars for the performance because I found the two voices very similar and occasionally confused who was who; but both readers were clear, good readers.

5 people found this helpful

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BlackBerry and Wild rose 🌹

I loved everything about this book, from the minute it began to the very last word .Superb !

9 people found this helpful