The Lace Weaver by Lauren Chater

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Stork’s foot, peacock tails, teardrops are just some of the chapter headings in this rich and atmospheric historical novel. These names refer to the many patterns found in the exquisite hand knitted shawls of Estonia which form the thread that holds this novel together. The knitting circles of Estonia are where women transmit the folk tales, wisdom and history of their troubled land which has often been taken over by Russia and the Soviet Union. Set in 1942 when the Estonians are facing a double threat from Stalin and Hitler, the stories of resistance and courage are told amidst passionate love and loss. Kati, a fierce Estonian patriot, and Lydia, a troubled yet brave Russian, form a difficult relationship which, out of necessity, develops through knitting. The details of this period of little known history has been superbly realised making the farms and forests of Estonia come alive.

Guest Review by Rita