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January book club - Blackberry & Wild Rose

(57 Posts)
NatashaGransnet (GNHQ) Fri 21-Dec-18 14:10:08

Hi everyone,

This is the official January book club thread! grin

You should start to receive your copies of Sonia Velton's Blackberry & Wild Rose soon, so once you've read it, please do leave your questions and comments for Sonia below.

If you've borrowed or bought a copy yourself, you're very welcome to join the conversation too.

Happy reading! cafe

Sarahmob Fri 21-Dec-18 16:15:34

Has this book actually been released yet? I’ve just looked for it on Amazon and it’s not being released by them until January 10th.

Pittcity Mon 24-Dec-18 10:02:01

I've just received my copy. A lovely early Christmas present.

Pittcity Mon 24-Dec-18 10:04:01

Sarahmob Gransnet gets hold of pre publication copies for lucky winners to review.

Buddie Mon 24-Dec-18 10:12:00

Postman has just delivered my copy bright and early so have a treat in store over the Festive Period. Many thanks.

gillyknits Mon 24-Dec-18 12:38:55

Thank you so much for my copy . I think I might just find a quiet spot away from the hustle and bustle and read this!

merlotgran Mon 24-Dec-18 13:37:30

Mine arrived this morning, thank you. I'll get stuck in after Crimbo.

Sar53 Mon 24-Dec-18 17:37:19

Mine also arrived this morning together with a copy of The Adults which was a runner up prize in a Christmas competition. Thank you so much, two new books to read, lovely.

shandi6570 Thu 27-Dec-18 14:11:52

Just received my copy, thank you. I shall look forward to reading it after all the family madness to come this weekend.

Miriam Thu 27-Dec-18 16:02:35

Thank you so much, my copy arrived this morning. It is a beautiful looking book, love the cover, and I plan to start reading it this evening. Can't wait.

obag Fri 28-Dec-18 09:34:48

Received my copy on Christmas eve, what a lovely gift, will be starting it shortly.

Valski Fri 28-Dec-18 18:32:56

Hi Natasha,

By what date do we need to have posted our questions for Sonia by? Many thanks. Gratefully received my copy and what a stunning cover sleeve! xx

Caro6699 Sat 29-Dec-18 07:06:14

I was lucky enough to win an advanced copy of this book.
It looks to be a fascinating read and I am looking forward to reading this once the the Christmas and New Year madness has resolved.
Fabulous book cover as well!

Valski Sun 30-Dec-18 16:12:12

Crikey, what a gripping read this proved to be. Will come back with my thoughts and questions for Sonia but I was entranced by every moment of it. This is a book I will treasure. Thank you Gransnet and Quercus for my free copy.

gillyknits Tue 01-Jan-19 12:50:49

Warning! Slight spoilers!
Yet again I have thoroughly enjoyed a GN book club choice. An amazing first novel by a very talented author. I found that I couldn’t put it down but did not want it to finish. To me this is the sign of a very good book.
I found the descriptions so well written that I could really visualise the silk being woven. (Not an easy process to describe, as it really has to be seen to be understood.) This being the time before mechanisation when a ‘drawer’ had to pull down the threads by hand.
I knew little of this period of history especially the industrial unrest among the silk weavers, their plight so well explained and the terrible punishment for damaging silk . (which was so much more important than the people producing it.)
This is the story of strong woman who wants to design her own ideas and Ester’s character is very well drawn. She takes in Sara from a brothel and tries to help her, only to find that she is very selfish and brings down her mistresss by betraying her. Sara is not a likeable character but there is a sign of redemption.
I would like to ask Sonia Velton if she is writing another novel and if it is about the same period in history?

rocketstop Tue 01-Jan-19 14:06:13

I really couldn't believe this book was the first novel by the author, it feels such an accomplished book that it felt it could only have been from an experienced author.
Sonia weaves characters as intricately as the masters weave silk.
Without giving any spoilers away, I would like to ask Sonia :
Did you always have in mind that the story would end badly for some? For me that made it all the more believable, I also think there could be another book to follow on, what happens next to the people involved? When the industry starts to wind down, where do the weavers go? What happens to the Masters and the households whose very existence depends on the silk ? Have you plans to write a follow up or are you planning something else entirely ?
It was a really good read, believable characters and an involving plot line, well researched. I look forward to hearing more from you Sonia, Thank you.

gillyknits Tue 01-Jan-19 14:55:13

Good questions rocketstop. I wish I’d thought of those! 👍🏻

Valski Tue 01-Jan-19 17:52:04

I am unsure if this is the appropriate place to post a review, but a summary of my thoughts on a gripping novel is given below:

Set against the backdrop of the silk weaving rebellions in 1760s Spitalfields, Sonia Velton’s debut historical fiction novel brings to life the story of two woman from very different backgrounds in one household and captures the fraught relationship between them which threatens to be both of their undoing. Wide in scope and capturing the changing fortunes of the silk industry evoked through a cast of realistically flawed characters, Blackberry and Wild Rose is a multifaceted drama that captures a time, place and a story that truly belongs to Spitalfields. Utterly enthralling, unexpectedly suspenseful and thoroughly involving, I cannot remember becoming so thoroughly immersed in a historical fiction novel since Minette Walters Black Death saga. Packed full of intrigue, secrets, lies, scandal and ultimately, betrayal, this wonderfully atmospheric drama culminates in a poignant denouement that proves nigh on impossible to predict. Sumptuous prose throughout is the icing on the cake of an exquisitely assured debut from an author whom I certainly hope to hear more of.

Questions for Sonia:
Did you always have a burning desire to write and had simply never come across a story that captured your imagination before seeing the stunning silks in the V & A?
Do you feel any desire to expand of the story of Anna Maria Garthwaite or continue exploring the changing face of industry within Spitalfields?
Both Esther and Sara are strong women and the irony is that despite their differences in class they certainly seem to share more in common with each other than either realises. Was this always an intention when you were plotting the novel?
Finally, can you recommend any standout novels that you read in 2018 and any other, London set historical fiction novels?

Many thanks to Sonia, Gransnet and Quercus.

Sar53 Wed 02-Jan-19 13:43:03

I have just finished this brilliant book. I too was quite amazed that this was Sonia's first novel. I found it to be a gentle, easy read. I liked the fact that each chapter was the view from either Sara or Esther, it gave a different perspective to what was happening in the story.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction and I am looking forward to reading more from Sonia Belton in the future.

CariGransnet (GNHQ) Wed 02-Jan-19 14:13:04

We will send the questions over to Sonia towards the end of the month, so plenty of time for reading and adding questions

shandi6570 Thu 03-Jan-19 14:42:37

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Blackberry & Wild Rose, the story ran along easily and although I don’t always enjoy books that seesaw between either two people, or eras, this was so well written that it helped to read the storyline from the different perspectives of the two main characters.
I also enjoyed the ending as it neatly told us what happened to all the characters, something sadly lacking in a lot of books these days.
My questions for Sonia are:
I was surprised Sara did not seem to think of returning to her mother earlier in the book, especially when it became clear that John Barnstaple would not take responsibility for the child, what was the reasoning for that?
If you are thinking of writing a second book as a follow on, would you trace the fortunes of Sara, or the Thorel family.
Thank you for a great read, I will be passing this book on to my family for their enjoyment.

Miriam Fri 04-Jan-19 17:00:18

Wow what an amazing book. It is such an enjoyable read I found it hard to put down. I love the way the story alternates between Esther and Sara, they seem so different on the surface but as we got to know them they had similarities. I must ask Sonia if she plans a sequel as I would love to know what happens to Ester and Ives as well as Sara and Anna.
The descriptions of life at that time are so realistic, they really came to life on the page, the sounds and the smells. I now feel a while lot wiser about that period in history and the lives of the weavers.

Sonia I really hope you have another book planned whatever period of history you set it in. Thank you so much for the excellent read and to Gransnet for letting me have a copy of the book which I will always keep.

GandT Sun 06-Jan-19 11:58:03

Thank you for such a great January read. From the wonderfully designed cover to the very last page, the book tells us a gripping and intriguing story which is told by two very differently positioned women; one a maid, the other a silk weaver's wife. No part of the tale faltered in its telling and I read it with complete enjoyment. I would love to delve deeper but the phrase 'spoiler alert' comes to mind. Needless to say my local silk museum will soon have a visitor! A terrific debut book.

GandT Sun 06-Jan-19 12:03:27

P.S. Can you let Sonia know for the reprint that the word 'and' is missing on p.29 line 18. Thanks.

Jan6 Sun 06-Jan-19 12:24:46

A fascinating story set in the world of the silk weavers of London in the late eighteenth century. A well written, impressive debut by Sonia Velton. Thank you so much for sending me a copy! smile