The Girl Who Wrote In Silk by Kelli Estes– Audio
Inara Erickson is exploring her deceased aunt’s island estate when she finds an elaborately stitched piece of fabric hidden in the house. As she peels back layer upon layer of the secrets it holds, Inara’s life becomes interwoven with that of Mei Lein, a young Chinese girl mysteriously driven from her home a century before. Through the stories Mei Lein tells in silk, Inara uncovers a tragic truth that will shake her family to its core — and force her to make an impossible choice.
My Review: 4 stars
The Girl Who Wrote In Silk opened my eyes to the horrific treatment of Chinese Americans during the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. This was the first act that the U.S. government disallowed immigration strictly based on ethnicity. Of course I was aware of this regulation from my long ago days in American History, however the story brought it all to life.
Using two time periods with two main protagonists to tell this story worked fine, however I was much more interested in the historical one. Perhaps this was due to the narration of Inara on audio. She came across as whiny and stubborn, while Mei-Lein, who suffered greatly, came across as strong and unyielding. As much as I enjoyed this book, I’m thinking it could’ve also stood alone, as a historical novel with expansion on some of the beloved characters. Actually, the author has mentioned doing a short story or short sequel about Yan-Tao.
Much of this book focuses on the power of family, keeping secrets, telling the truth and uncovering the past. There is also quite a bit of symbolism that runs through the novel. The author described the San Juan Islands with immense detail and the estate, Rothesay, where both families inhabited, could easily be pictured in my mind’s eye.
With similarities to Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, we see how the embroidery of the Chinese was used as a means communication and as well as historical record.