At the dawn of World War Two, German-born nurse Emma Taylor sits by the bedside of a Jewish heiress in London as she reminisces over her dear friend, Oscar Wilde.
As the story of Wilde unravels, so does Emma’s past. What really happened to her husband?
She’s taken back to her days in Singapore on the eve of World War One. To her disappointing marriage to a British export agent, her struggle to fit into colonial life and the need to hide her true identity.
Emma is caught up in history, the highs, the lows, the adventures. A deadly mutiny, terrifying rice riots and a confrontation with the Ku Klux Klan bring home, for all migrants, the fragility of belonging.
Emma’s Tapestry is an imaginative retelling of the remarkable life of the author’s great-grandmother.
I loved Emma’s Tapestry, a historical tale with an imaginative aspect, from the beginning!
I was attracted to reading this historical novel as it’s set in London, partially in the Far East in Singapore (where I was born) and also in Japan. The main character, Emma, is from Philadelphia but with German origins.
There are so many aspects to this tale to keep you utterly enthralled from mentions of Oscar Wilde’s letter to Adela, (an elderly Jewish heiress with a fascinating life to tell,) the tapestry itself which is cleverly interwoven into the plot, details of Emma’s Mennonite faith, emotional scenes, fears, dangers and insecurities brought on by war, anti-German feeling, mentions of mediums and spiritualism, the sense of the divide between the rich and the poor in Expat countries – Emma’s reaction and empathy for the locals (she is a trained nurse) and the terrible loss of life following WW1 caused by the Spanish influenza.
I admire authors who write historical fiction (as it must involve so much painstaking research to get the details right.)
Throughout it all the main character Emma shines with a can do I won’t be beaten attitude.
I just loved Emma’s wonderful strength of character!
There’s mention of the trials and tribulations throughout the war years of WW1 and WW2, (and coping with Ernest, her merchant hubby, a dire excuse for a husband, ) and the evergrowing anti-German sentiment and fears for her safety and her children’s wellbeing given her German heritage.
I listened to this sweeping historical novel in Audible and loved every minute.
With its wonderful storyline which sweeps back and forth in diverse time periods and believable, well written and engaging characters.
There is a lovely epilogue explaining Isobel Blackthorn’s family background and the mysterious inspiration for writing this story, (a period in her maternal great grandparents lives, ) which is in itself all so fascinating!
A must read – An easy 5 stars.
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