The Lace Weaver by Lauren Chater.
They say Estonia has five seasons. This is the first line in a story that enthralled me.
From the front cover: A haunting tale of love and war . . . and saving a precious legacy.
Each lace shawl begins and ends the same way – with a circle. Everything is connected with a thread as fine as gossamer, each life affected by what has come before it and what will come after.
The Lace Weaver, with its lovely and unusual cover, by debut novelist, Lauren Chater is a beautifully written story set in Estonia in 1941 about two women: Katarina, an Estonian and Lydia, a Russian.
Katarina and her family are under the ruthless occupation of the Russians and only survive because the produce from their farm is needed to feed occupying forces. And honouring a promise to her grandmother Katarina makes traditional Estonian shawls.
From the back cover: Fiercly partisan, Katarina battles to protect her grandmother’s precious legacy – the weaving of gossamer lace shawls stitched with intricate patterns that tell the stories passed down through generations.
Lydia is the daughter of a wealthy family and is living in world of suffocating privilege. She travels to Estonia to find her father who is stationed there in the hope of finding understanding of what is an increasingly brutal world. She also wants to discover her beloved mother’s Baltic heritage. Lydia has a shawl of Estonian lace that is a cherished possession and a mystery she hopes to solve.
The two women’s stories are woven together, and with two idealistic young soldiers, they find themselves fighting for all that is good in the world: life, liberty and love.
Lauren Chater has written an historical novel that will take you on a compelling journey. I now find myself wanting to read more about the history of the shawls and also of lace which has historical significance I’ve only ever glimpsed before.
The Lace Weaver is a haunting novel and one I will keep on my forever bookshelf.