Friday, April 2, 2021

A Tapestry Of Light By Kimberly Duffy

A Tapestry of Light
by Kimberly Duffy
Publisher: Bethany House
ISBN: 9780764235641

I am incredibly grateful to Kimberly Duffy for reaching out to me, asking me to review her book. Her debut novel, A Mosaic of Wings was excellent, and there was no way I was going to say, "No," to that request!

Summary:

In 1886 Calcutta, Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon the skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women.

When a stranger named Everett Scott appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett, friend to Ottilie's English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home.

But betrayal and loss lurk in England too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn't forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in a cold, foreign land.

My Review:

I was absolutely blown away by A Tapestry of Light. As I was reading through it, I was trying to think of whose writing Kimberly's reminded me of in this story. The angst of it put me in mind of Jane Austen. About 3/4 of the way through I thought of the book of Job from the Bible! Let me just say, the story took me on an emotional, vivid roller coaster ride.

Kimberly's writing in this story has depth and beauty from start to finish. She paints a picture of India in such tangible detail, that when I was creating the photo for my Instagram to go along with this book review, I used some curry and I think I'll forever associate curry with Ottilie's story.

I'll admit I was completely clueless of life in India during the Victorian age. I had no idea of the Eurasian population and what they had to endure socially. It was fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time. It was also mind boggling that so many people were dying of cholera. And I had no idea that beetle wing casings were used for fashion! The things people think of. I also loved the use of terms like "didi" for sister, maji for mama, and Nānī for grandmother. And yes, those are explained smoothly in the story.

So, let's talk about the characters. And just now, my review is NOT going to do this story justice. It just isn't. AND, I "tabbed" so many pages in this book... we need to discuss people! Ottilie. She's such an incredible character. While she's already lost so much (hello, Job) she is grasping on to what & who is left. When she meets Everett, my heart absolutely sank. His purpose for being there - to take one more person away - nearly did me in. And I loved how she gave him a run for his money.

But, Everett. I liked him and didn't like him. hahahaha He was just so "British". That was one of the pieces of this story that really was profound. How different Brits and Indians saw the world. I "understood" him, didn't like it, but I did. I also thought he was quite selfish in some instances. Read the book, you'll see what I mean. He's a super likable guy, just not a fan of his "purpose".

One of my favorite characters is Damaris, and Puh-LEASE, Kimberly Duffy, give her a story!!! Oh my gosh, seriously, we all need a Damaris in our lives. She is feisty and British, and doesn't give one whit about status and propriety. She's Ottilie's champion and I'm here for it!

And then, of course, there's the deep faith that is entwined in the story. A heritage of faith is passed down from Ottilie's Nānī on her Maji's side. It's rather a funny scenario with how she and her sister come to learn about Christianity and how significant it becomes in Ottilie's life.

When Ottilie, Thaddeus, and Everett arrive in England, just as I expected, things go just like they did back in India. And it makes me want to shake everyone who treats her poorly! Ok, maybe more than shake them. Everett is focused fully on society's expectations and I want to shake him, too.

I was so emotional from probably the halfway point and it just ramped up until the very end. Welling up with tears is a good sign, right? hahaha Please don't miss out on this beautiful work of art that Kimberly has created in Ottilie's story. This book will never leave my bookshelves!

About the Author:

Kimberly Duffy (www.kimberlyduffy.com) is a Long Island native currently living in Southwest Ohio, via six months in India. When she's not homeschooling her four kids, she writes historical fiction that takes her readers back in time and across oceans. She loves trips that require a passport, recipe books, and practicing kissing scenes with her husband of twenty years. He doesn't mind.

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