Monday, 26 March 2018

Review: The Lace Weaver by Lauren Chater

Estonia in the tumultuous days following the Soviet Occupation is the setting for this novel about knitting, friendship and, ultimately, survival. Kati is the daughter of farmers who has seen her dreams of an education dashed when her parents decide to sent her brother to university instead. With her homeland now being taken over by the Red Army, her family survive only because their farm is able to provide them with much needed essentials. Kati's only solace is knitting, a skill that her beloved grandmother has passed down to her. With the other women from her knitting circle she makes beautiful lace shawls but even that is soon under threat. Meanwhile, many, many miles away, Lydia, a wealthy young woman longs to get away from her controlling uncle. A visit to her father who is stationed in Estonia will lead to some shocking events. Truths are uncovered, but new friendships and new loves are discovered amid a brutal regime ...

Having been an avid knitter since the age of twelve (a hobby I had to give up following an injury,) and having also known a number of people who fled Estonia during the Soviet Occupation, I was immediately drawn to this book. I found it to be an intriguing, character driven historic novel about two women who are quite different (at least on the surface,) but become an important part of each others lives through the hardships they experienced. Their story was quite different to the ones that have been passed down to me, but made for compelling reading. My only real criticism was that I couldn't quite tell what age group the novel was aimed at--in some parts it felt like adult historical fiction, in other parts the romantic element overtook the story to the point where it felt more in line with a pleasantly written NA romance. I certainly enjoyed the descriptions of the shawls and the way that the characters bonded over knitting.

Recommended.

Thank you to Simon and Schuster Australia and Netgalley for my copy of The Lace Weaver.

This book was read as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2018