A Silken Thread (2019) by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a standalone Christian Historical novel. This book comes in all forms including eBook, and is 352 pages in length. With a full-time job and a busy six-year old at home, this book took me three days to read. I received a copy of this novel in paperback form from the publisher, Waterbrook Press, to review. In no way has this influenced my opinion of the story. All opinions expressed in this review are my own. I give A Silken Thread 3 STARS.
About the Book
For readers who love a heartwarming romance and a rich historical setting comes a tale of a young woman with a heavy burden, the International Cotton Exposition, and the pursuit of true love.
Eighteen-year-old Laurel Millard, youngest of seven children, is expected to stay home and “take care of Mama” by her older siblings, but Laurel has dreams of starting her own family. Operating a silk loom at the Atlanta Exposition will give her the chance to capture the heart of a man wealthy enough to take care of Laurel and any children she might bear, as well as her mother.
Langdon Rochester’s parents have given him an ultimatum: settle down with a wife or lose his family inheritance. At the Exposition, Langdon meets Laurel. Marrying her would satisfy his parents’s command, she would look lovely on his arm for social events, and in her besotted state, he believes she would overlook him continuing pursuing rowdy adventures with his unmarried buddies. Langdon decides to woo Laurel. Willie Sharp is not well-off and must take on an extra job at the Atlanta Exposition as a security guard. When mischief-makers cause trouble in the Women’s Building, Willie is put in charge of keeping the building secure. He enjoys visiting with Laurel, who seems like the little sister he never had, but his feelings for Laurel change to something much deeper. Can Willie convince Laurel that he can give her better life–even with so little to offer?
A Silken Thread by Kim Vogel Sawyer is a deep read that discusses many thematic topics such as racism, classism, and faith. While there is a lot of meat to this story, I do admit that I struggled a bit with the characters, and I found the romance between Willie and Laurel to be forced. And, while I found the story to be an excellent historical read — I learned a lot about Georgia in 1895 — I felt like there are a couple of holes in the plot that left me feeling like the story is incomplete. Overall, this novel left me feeling so-so.
My biggest struggle with A Silken Thread is the characters. Instead of being multifaceted people with depth and distinctive personalities, the characters in this story feel like stereotypical caricatures. The wealthy white guy is a narcissistic jerk; the hero is a poor working class guy with a heart of gold; the heroine is a naive beauty who is easily manipulated; and, the downtrodden African American man is angry that the world doesn’t treat him well. They are representations of human groups, not unique individuals. There is very little character growth, and when it does happen near the very end of the story I found I just couldn’t buy it. The growth felt forced. I also struggled with what seem like plot holes. There are secondary characters who do things in this novel — destroy public property and make threats against people — but then there is no resolution and no one is punished for their crimes. I get that in real life bad behavior often goes unaccounted for, but I can’t tell if this is the author’s point or if the story line just got forgotten. I was slightly discouraged by the end of the novel.
There is one moment in the novel that I absolutely adored: when an angry Quincy sits down with his very wise mother in order to have a powerful discussion on slavery. Quincy is angry that 30 years after slavery has been abolished people still treat black men and women as if they were slaves. He doesn’t understand how white people can cheer on a black man like Booker T. Washington during a speech given at a local convention, and then walk past Quincy as if he were a piece of trash to be avoided. This kind of behavior from white folks makes Quincy so angry he becomes enraged and wants to fight. Quincy’s mother listens as her son pours out all his anger and hatred, and then tells Quincy that he is indeed a slave. This gets Quincy’s attention real quick. Quincy’s mother explains that in Matthew 6:24 Jesus tells those listening to His sermon that humans cannot serve two masters. We either serve God, or we serve something else. For Quincy, his anger has become his master. This conversation resonated deeply within me, and made me take a good look at myself. I questioned if God truly is my Master, or if I’ve allowed something else to control me. Of the many topics discussed in this novel, this conversation between a mother and son on slavery is the most compelling and powerful.
While I struggled a bit with A Silken Thread, I definitely do not discourage anyone from reading it. There is a lot of awesome history detailed within the pages of this story that I very much enjoyed learning. And who knows, what’s not my cup of tea very well may be someone else’s.
I am giving away ONE (1) paperback copy (Advanced Reader Copy) of A Silken Thread by Kim Vogel Sawyer. The giveaway begins today, 4-9-19 at 5:00 am (PST) and ends on Saturday, 4-13-19 at 12:00 pm (PST). To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below. Good luck!
CONGRATS TO DIANNA H. G.!
You have won this giveaway. Thank you for your participation. It is greatly appreciated.
***Please Note: Open to Continental U.S. mailing addresses only.*** One winner will be notified via email at the end of the giveaway, and will be announced here on this page. For full giveaway disclosures and policies, click HERE.