Summary

Born in the middle of nowhere, Yaqian, a little embroidery girl from Hunan Province, finds her way to the imperial court, a place of intrigue, desire, and treachery. From the bed of an Emperor, the heart of a Prince, and the right side of an Empress, Yaqian weaves her way through the most turbulent decades of China's history and witnesses the fall of the Qing Dynasty.
©2016 Amanda Roberts (P)2017 Red Empress Publishing
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By DubaiReader on 08-08-18

As the Qing Dynasty draws to a close...

I thoroughly enjoyed the audio version of this book - when faced with unpronounceable names in a foreign language, the audio is often the best solution and Leanne Yau had a convincing Chinese accent.

The main character is Yaqian, just a child when she is removed from her rural home province and sent to an embroidery school. As a young girl she had enjoyed working in the fields, where she had loved caring for the silk worms, but when the time came for her feet to be bound, she had to stay indoors and learned embroidery instead. She worked on her first pair of dainty shoes, intending to wear them herself, but they were so beautiful that they were taken from her and sold.

Her skills became recognised and she gained a place at a prestigious embroidery school, where the sales of her work were to pay for her education. The daily rigours of the school are covered in quite extensive detail, including music and traditional dance.
Yaqian is always striving to improve and when she develops a technique that allows both sides of the embroidery to be perfect, she starts to excel beyond the skills of her master.

A piece of her work is sent as a gift to the Emperor's favourite concubine and suddenly she finds herself whisked away to the capital and to a new life in the Forbidden City.
Through Yaqian we partake in events from the late 1800s into the early twentieth century, as she becomes Imperial Concubine Yi's personal embroiderer. As Concubine Yi rises to become Empress Cixi, Yaqian stays loyal and eventually becomes a personal friend. The Qing Dynasty is drawing to a close and events become tense and worrying, yet Yaqian keeps her head and proves herself well beyond her skills as an embroiderer.
How cool is it that we can now visit this Forbidden City, where so much of China's history once played out?

The author has lived in China for the past eight years and speaks the language. She researched extensively for this novel and I found myself becoming very involved in the history of Chinese embroidery. There was also the inevitably uncomfortable section on the ancient practice of foot binding, so be warned.

An interesting novel to listen to, slow moving but never static. This would appeal to lovers of historical fiction and historical romance.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Margaret on 14-09-17

Absolutely wonderful story !

What did you love best about Threads of Silk?

It is a lovely story that follows one main character from the age of six well into her senior years and also follows the historical events during that time period. The story peaked my interest in a place and time that I was unfamiliar with and I often found myself stopping the book to do a little side research to expand my knowledge. The main character was so well written and the story so nicely developed that it had me questioning whether this main character was a real person in history.

What other book might you compare Threads of Silk to and why?

Any book in Ken Follett's Pillars of Creation or Century trilogy. These books, as well as Threats of Silk, are wonderful stories intertwined amongst history to create a very realistic tale. The research that went into creating the characters and plot must've been astounding.

What does Leanne Yau bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Correct pronunciation of the places and people's in the story.

Another reviewer commented that Leanne Yau had an American accent, it is actually English. It was also mentioned that it was a disappointment that she spoke without a Chinese accent because the main character could not speak English. Personally, I do not have an issue with the fact that this book is narrated with an English accent because I speak English and I would not have understood the book if it was read to me in Chinese (which would be only way to stay true to a character that does not speak English).

Any additional comments?

I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and voluntarily left this unbiased review

I would love to listen to another book by this author or narrator.

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3 of 3 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Nomi on 20-09-17

❤️

A really beautiful book. Wonderfully well written characters and story that I loved. I took my time listening just so I didn't miss anything. I really loved the whole feel of this book. Very enjoyable.

The narrator did an awesome job. Wonderful performance.

This audiobook was provided by the author, narrator, or publisher at no cost in exchange for an unbiased review.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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