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August book club - The Silk Merchant's Daughter

(74 Posts)
CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 10-Aug-16 13:55:37

Apologies - the books have been a bit late going out so we will give winners a bit longer to read and add questions and comments to this thread. They should arrive in the next couple of days so if you get one don't forget to add your thoughts here as soon as you have read it.

More info on the book here

mischief Thu 01-Sep-16 08:04:16

Received my copy this morning thank you. Going away soon so it will be my holiday read.

mischief Thu 01-Sep-16 08:11:48

As someone else has mentioned the packaging - I was out when the postman tried to deliver (yesterday) and as it was too big to go through my letter box I had to make a trip to the sorting office this morning to pick it up. I have an especially large letter box and was amazed it wouldn't go through. Yes, far too big for the size of the book.

Indinana Thu 01-Sep-16 10:09:38

Well I've received this book today and the daft thing is I don't even remember applying for a copy! I've only applied for the book club book a handful of times and never been successful before. I must have done this on auto-pilot wink. Thank you so much! I shall look forward to reading it.
(The packaging wasn't oversized at all - easily fitted through my letterbox hmm)

philatel Thu 01-Sep-16 13:30:22

My copy only arrived yesterday - have started reading it and loving it.

Miriam Thu 01-Sep-16 16:15:53

Just collected my copy from the sorting office today and started to read it at lunch time. Enjoying it already. Will be back with comments and any questions as soon as I have finished. Many thanks for the book.

Worlass Thu 01-Sep-16 17:59:39

Like Indinana, received a copy yesterday, but no idea I had won it. I presume it is from Gransnet, as can't think where else it could be from. I look forward to getting started reading in the next day or so, when I finish my current reading matter. Thanks Gransnet.

Gagagran Sun 04-Sep-16 06:33:59

I've struggled to finish this book after a flying start thinking it would be very interesting given the setting. Well it was interesting in that I knew very little about the French role in Vietnam and it gave me the historical background to the struggles there in the 1960s.

However, I found that the writing did not flow and the plot jumped around rather jerkily. I almost felt that I was reading a translation from an original by someone whose first language wasn't English.

So I would not recommend this book. Sorry.

Purpledaffodil Sun 04-Sep-16 10:26:10

Got mine on Friday 2nd September. Bit tricky to read by the end of August, so pleased there is an extension.

sweetpea Sun 04-Sep-16 11:03:02

Arrived home from holiday yesterday to be given a large package by my neighbour who had taken it in, away again on Tuesday, intending to take and read while travelling. Will send comments in my return. Thank you for the book!

gillyknits Sun 04-Sep-16 15:12:59

I enjoyed reading this book even though I hadn't expected to as I usually read thrillers. I did not know much about Vietnamese history before the American involvement and found this aspect of the book enjoyable.
Spoiler Alert!
The story line reminded me very much of 'Miss Saigon'. Vietnamese girl meets American etc. but differed in that the girl in the story was half French and struggled to work out where her loyalties lay (either with her French father or dead Vietnamese mother.)The descriptive passages really set the scenes although some of the brutality was a difficult read (even though it was necessary to the story.) The characters were well drawn, especially the sister Sylvie with her mental health problems.
I might read other books by this author and would recommend this one.

grandMattie Sun 04-Sep-16 16:50:18

The book arrived during the week and I have finished it. The story is not terribly exciting, a little Mills & Boon-ish, predictable love story with complications, and all comes good in the end.

what was very interesting was the background in Viet Nam. As a young woman, I remember seeing various veterans of Dien Ben Phu, spoken about in hushed tones, as one did for vets of Dunkirk. I knew the history was very checkered but hadn't realised quite how dreadful the colonisation had been. The French were not the most sympathetic colonists, and didn't cover themselves with glory in this particular episode, did they?

All in all, a nice little story, but with extremely interesting historical context.

Thank you

angie95 Mon 05-Sep-16 17:41:28

The Silk Merchant's Daughter , was so much more than the usual love story, Nicole is 19, half French and half Vietnamese, lives with her father, and under the shadow of her elder sister Sylvie, who in their fathers eyes can do no wrong.
Nicole is given an abandoned silk shop in Hanoi, while her sister is given what she has dreamed of, control of her fathers silk empire.
At a ball, Nicole meets Mark, a silk trader, and looses her heart to him, but she also has feelings for Tran, a Vietnamese insurgent, and it isn't long before these worlds collide and Nicole finds out about her family's dark past,,,

angie95 Mon 05-Sep-16 17:43:13

Hi Carigransnet, I have posted a review of the wonderful Silk Merchant's Daughter,
Thanks so much, I really enjoyed it

cornergran Mon 05-Sep-16 20:57:15

I really enjoyed this book, finished it this morning. The layers woven into the story were fascinating. The issues of mixed race, mental health, scapegoating as a family dynamic, inaccurate family assumptions and stories, cultural issues, power and oppression, historical accuracy clarifying the reality of life in Vietnam all woven into what is intrinsically a love story. I found it easy to read, other than the very graphic descriptions of violence which reminded me that there is still violence between different cultures and that power inequalities still result in oppression. Thank you Gransnet, I probably wouldn't have picked this off a shelf which would have been my loss.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Tue 06-Sep-16 15:56:36

Appreciate people have only just got their copies but just to say please leave thoughts and questions for Dinah here as soon as you can - we will send them off to her at the end of the month

bookcorner Tue 06-Sep-16 15:58:09

Thank you for my copy - thoroughly enjoyed it and now want to go to Vietnam. I would like to ask Dinah how much time she spent there researching the book?

worrier Tue 06-Sep-16 16:48:46

Hi. I received my book earlier this week, so comments will follow. This was a lovely surprise as I rarely win anything. Thank you grans net.

jakekatymax Tue 06-Sep-16 16:58:28

I loved this book so thank you for sending me a copy. I have also read The Tea Planter's Wife by DInah Jefferies and would like to ask her how she comes up with these exotic stories (or is it a good excuse to travel to far flung places?)

Grannyjacq1 Tue 06-Sep-16 17:23:49

Received my copy when I returned back from a week away today - along with a copy of 'The Ballroom' - which I think is the Sept book club book! Better get reading!

halfgran Tue 06-Sep-16 20:09:58

Have just finished this book and thoroughly enjoyed it. It was eye opening to learn about the brutality of colonisation and more of the history of Vietnam.Having been to Hanoi several times on holiday the descriptive passages brought back lovely memories and had me longing for a return holiday there. Also wondering if Dinah has plans for a follow up of Sylvie's story(from her journal)or of Mark, Nicole and Celeste''s life in America.

jammy388 Thu 08-Sep-16 19:07:09

Many thanks for a thought provoking read. I thought the description of the setting was very convincing and I was interested to learn about the historical events, but I felt distanced from the characters and for me the story and dialogue, especially in the earlier part of the book, didn't flow well. I also found the juxtaposition of violence and romance sat uneasily with me.

Annie29 Thu 08-Sep-16 23:02:43

I got my copy on the Monday,will try and read it ASAP
Thank you

Molly10 Fri 09-Sep-16 12:28:40

I really enjoyed this book. Dinah's descriptive writing is spot on. The introduction and development of characters moved at a good pace. I did expect the blond soldier, Andre, to have a bigger part and kept waiting for that along with the supposed blind man who brought the oar (did he fall in to the lake when he gave it to them, lol). Seriously though she did bring to life the uncertainty and feeling of being watched.
I liked at the end of the book after the epilogue that Dinah gave some insight into her writing and a few of my questions were answered throughout.

Could Dinah give us more information on her writing eg How long does it takes to write her books? Does she find she goes off on lots of tangents along the way developing new characters or are the main characters there from the start? Has Dinah always kept a journal herself?

I have already passed this book on to a friend who I'm sure will enjoy it. I will definitely read Dinah's books again and I am looking forward to reading the Tea Planter's Wife.

I'm also inspired by her positivity after financial set backs before her writing journey. Well done.

worrier Fri 09-Sep-16 16:43:43

I have just finished The Silk Merchant's Daughter, August book, and really enjoyed it.

The book was clearly well researched and gave a good insight into the background of the Vietnam war, clearly showing faults on both sides, woven into a super story.
The setting was so well described, it was easy to picture the turbulent times of Indo China and the characters seemed right for that time.

Most importantly, it was a really good way to spend two wet days!

GandT Sat 10-Sep-16 14:04:49

I really enjoyed this book. The addition of a relevant timeline and map was very useful and is often overlooked by authors. The description of Nicole's houses invites you to seek out what a pipal tree and native flowers etc look like, and seek images of the Perfume River. The story through Nicole's eyes and experiences of how ordinary people's lives were changed over just quite a short period of time is hard for us to comprehend. I thought the two sides to this was cleverly told through the two sisters.