About the Book
The unforgettable stories of two women cross centuries as past and present weave together in this beautifully moving summer read.
2017: Millie wants more from her relationship and more from her life. So when her boss Max abruptly ends their affair, she takes the opportunity to write a feature in Italy.
Staying in a gorgeous villa, Millie unexpectedly falls in love with the owner, Lorenzo. Together they begin to unravel an incredible story, threaded through generations of silk weavers.
And Millie finds herself compelled to discover the identity of a mysterious woman in a portrait…
1704: Anastasia is desperate to escape her controlling and volatile father and plans to marry in secret. But instead of the life she has dreamed of, she finds herself trapped in Venice, the unwilling wife of a silk weaver.
Despite her circumstances, Anastasia is determined to change her fate…
I like historical fiction and usually read it when I need a break from the usual crime fiction. Whilst this is definitely a historical novel I would also categorise it as romantic fiction and this is a genre that I don’t usually read.
The two narrators are Anastasia in the 1700s and Millie in modern-day. It was Anastasia whose tale I enjoyed the most. She didn’t have the happiest childhood, her father ruled by tyranny, regularly beating his wife and children. When he loses everything gambling he offers Anastasia as an alternative to his business. It doesn’t take her long to realise that her new life is just as bad as her old. But she is clever and has people who are willing to help.
Millie is a journalist who is in Italy to research a storyline regarding silk. She has recently broken up with her partner and soon gets close to Lorenzo and his daughter Bella. Whilst most of the novel concerns Anastasia, Millie is also important to the storyline, it is her who first becomes aware of Anastasia was.
I thought Anastasia was an amazing character. Very independent, and after what she goes through she is determined to put herself first. But she is also loyal to friends and family and those who helped her when she needed them. I liked Anastasia’s desire to succeed as an artist and use her skill to help her family prosper. Considering the time it is set she must have been strong-willed. A lesser character, Veronica, was also one that I liked. She was somebody who was prepared to lose everything to do the right thing.
I struggled to like Millie as much. I felt I needed to know more about her than her relationship with her ex Max, and her feelings for Lorenzo. I would have liked to see her connect Anastasia to Lorenzo but that is probably due to my interest in genealogy.
The section at the back of the book that listed the characters who were real and who were fictionalised was helpful. I had no idea that some of them were real people. Italy sounds an amazing place, especially Venice. I could picture the grandeur in all areas of the novel.
I always enjoy reading about the past, and even though this book wasn’t entirely how I expected it to be I did enjoy it. It’s rare that I read romance novels but maybe I do need to broaden my choice of reading.
With thanks to the publisher for the copy received.