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Summary

Born in the middle of nowhere, Yaqian, a little embroidery girl from Hunan Province, finds her way to the imperial court, a place of intrigue, desire, and treachery. From the bed of an Emperor, the heart of a Prince, and the right side of an Empress, Yaqian weaves her way through the most turbulent decades of China's history and witnesses the fall of the Qing Dynasty.

©2016 Amanda Roberts (P)2017 Red Empress Publishing

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Margaret
  • 14-09-17

Absolutely wonderful story !

What did you love best about Threads of Silk?

It is a lovely story that follows one main character from the age of six well into her senior years and also follows the historical events during that time period. The story peaked my interest in a place and time that I was unfamiliar with and I often found myself stopping the book to do a little side research to expand my knowledge. The main character was so well written and the story so nicely developed that it had me questioning whether this main character was a real person in history.

What other book might you compare Threads of Silk to and why?

Any book in Ken Follett's Pillars of Creation or Century trilogy. These books, as well as Threats of Silk, are wonderful stories intertwined amongst history to create a very realistic tale. The research that went into creating the characters and plot must've been astounding.

What does Leanne Yau bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Correct pronunciation of the places and people's in the story.

Another reviewer commented that Leanne Yau had an American accent, it is actually English. It was also mentioned that it was a disappointment that she spoke without a Chinese accent because the main character could not speak English. Personally, I do not have an issue with the fact that this book is narrated with an English accent because I speak English and I would not have understood the book if it was read to me in Chinese (which would be only way to stay true to a character that does not speak English).

Any additional comments?

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and voluntarily left this unbiased review

I would love to listen to another book by this author or narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Nomi
  • 20-09-17

❤️

A really beautiful book. Wonderfully well written characters and story that I loved. I took my time listening just so I didn't miss anything. I really loved the whole feel of this book. Very enjoyable.

The narrator did an awesome job. Wonderful performance.

This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • ConnieZ
  • 19-09-17

Wonderful story.....

What a wonderful story, it was very hard for me to put the book down.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • dawn
  • 14-09-17

This was great

Any additional comments?

This audiobook was given to me for a honest unbiased review. This was great. The history gave the story and characters a depth to them. The amount of research for this is not astounding and well worth it, but gives an immersive experience. This was well written.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Christine Newton
  • 01-09-17

Fascinating story of mid-late 19th century China

Any additional comments?

This is the first historical fiction story that I've read which is set in mid- to late- 19th century China. Purists can sometimes be dismissive of historical fiction because of the creative license taken by authors when it comes to fact vs. fiction. I suppose I can understand their position, if readers end up with distorted or incorrect understanding of historical events. On the other hand, good historical fiction can spark an interest and curiosity that prompts readers to explore the topic in more depth on their own after the story ends - and that can be a wonderful rabbit hole to jump into...

And that's where I found myself after reading this book (during the book, too). A few times, I'd put the audiobook on pause so that I could do some more internet research about the actual people in the story - Parkes, Empress Dowager Cixi, Prince Gong, and more. I also did some browsing about foot binding, embroidery, the Boxer Rebellion, and Han vs Manchu Chinese. The tale of the heroine, an embroidery girl at Court, formed a narrative backbone that linked and launched all of my interesting research side trips. For sparking my curiosity and holding my interest throughout the book, I give this story full stars. The only reason why I deducted a star was because the protagonist had some flaws that made her less than admirable in my eyes. She's only human, of course, but I didn't really relate to her or engage emotionally with her. So I felt, as a reader, that I was outside looking in on her life and experiences. I could sympathize, but not empathize.

The narrator did a great job. As mentioned, this is my first foray into audio historical fiction from this place and time. So I was expecting an English speaking narrator with a Chinese accent. Instead, the narration was British-accented English. It picked at the back of my mind throughout the story - is this what an English speaking person in China would have sounded like, or is the accent British because that's the narrator's own voice? The protagonist in the story was an uneducated country-bred Chinese girl who couldn't speak English, so I couldn't really reconcile the narrator's tone with what I imagined to be an authentic voice of the protagonist. Regardless, the narrator spoke with a flowing tone and pace, and I enjoyed the sound of her voice. Sometimes it was hard to distinguish some of the speakers, but there were quite a few different female characters so I understand that it might be challenging to give each of them their own voice (I noticed this particularly when a female character was "freaking out" during a conversation). Aside from this, though, I'd certainly listen to this narrator again. I'm Canadian and I love hearing British accents!

Some other reviewers have commented about a few very graphic sex scenes in the story. There were only a few of them, and it's easy enough to fast forward to the end of those parts. If I were to change anything about the story, I would want an epilogue that extended the narrative for a little while longer, so we could learn what happened to our protagonist towards the end of her life. There were significant changes happening in China, after all. By the time we get to the final chapter, pretty much all of the main players in the story have exited from the stage and she has given her assets to her grandchild so she doesn't have much financial security. So, I'd have liked the author to have given us a little peek into her future.

Otherwise, I thought that this was a wonderful story and I'm not going to delete it from my audiobook library anytime soon.

"I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review."

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Jayde
  • 25-08-17

All the drama of China’s history

This is an amazing story. If you have any interest in China’s history then this is a must read. The entire story is first person of a girl growing up in China and the transformations she goes through from choices forced upon her as well as her own good or bad decisions that have natural consequences. Amanda Roberts is an excellent storyteller and knows just how to keep her readers interest.

Leanne Yau does an excellent job reading this story. Her voice fits the characters and she can even pronounce the names that I would have no clue about if I were reading myself. I would call her accent a bit British but that is likely true of Asian English and so fits the story as well.

I was voluntarily provided this free review copy audio book by the author, narrator, or publisher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • KayTee
  • 25-04-18

Good story...disappointing narration

This was a good depiction of this particular era in China’s history using a creative point of view as the embroider. Although the narrator was very good, I was disappointed in her very English accent. One of the things I enjoy the most about Audible books is hearing appropriate cultural accents in the narration.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Mini P
  • 13-04-18

Very immersive

I really enjoyed the heroine in this book. She was very practical and logical. Female protagonists can be too emotionally driven and sometimes its frustrating to watch them make bad decisions, but our protagonist always thought of future consequences. It was refreshing.

That said, the romantic in me sometimes wanted her to make a spontaneous decision based on passion.

Her dedication to the empress above all else was, at times, somewhat unbelievable.

All in all, I really enjoyed listening to this book. The narrator was wonderful, and the story was interesting. It just wasn’t perfect so I have a hard time giving it a perfect score.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-01-18

Amazing Book

I heard it all in practically one sitting. The reader was great and her words perfectly expressed!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • LaPazBC
  • 17-11-17

A peek into late 1800's Chinese culture

This is a fascinating story about a talented Chinese girl who made beautiful silk embroidery that sold well and supported her parents. They despised her for being a girl and thought of her as worthless, so they sent her to become an apprentice of a well known embroidery master and didn’t see her for 10 years. Her talent… and bounded feet called the attention of the emperor and she was taken to the Forbidden City…

Leanne Yau’s narration is excellent - I enjoyed the British/Chinese accent, as well as the character voices.

I received this audio-book free for an honest review by the author, narrator, or publisher. Thank you!!!

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