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Calcutta, 1886. Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women. When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Su Calcutta, 1886. Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women. When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie's English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home. But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn't forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.


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Calcutta, 1886. Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women. When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Su Calcutta, 1886. Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women. When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie's English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home. But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn't forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.

30 review for A Tapestry of Light

  1. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    3.5 stars India, 1885. Ottilie Russell and her brother Thaddeus have just lost a second parent. In order to support her family, Ottilie continues her mother’s work of embroidery. As the story begins, her mother’s recent passing puts a dark cloud over the story. Ottilie’s thoughts keep referring to her mother’s memory, which gives a melancholic atmosphere. Faith is a big part of this story and those who like books under Christian category will probably appreciate this story. The story is presented 3.5 stars India, 1885. Ottilie Russell and her brother Thaddeus have just lost a second parent. In order to support her family, Ottilie continues her mother’s work of embroidery. As the story begins, her mother’s recent passing puts a dark cloud over the story. Ottilie’s thoughts keep referring to her mother’s memory, which gives a melancholic atmosphere. Faith is a big part of this story and those who like books under Christian category will probably appreciate this story. The story is presented with beautiful prose, well-developed characters. It is rich in customs, touching upon English and Indian ways of life and having influence on each other. However, I wished there was a bit more to the plot to carry this story a bit faster. Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn Green

    A Tapestry of Light took me on a journey that began in vibrant, flavorful, cacophonous Calcutta in 1886, but it didn’t end there. This immersive experience explores, through the character of Otillie, the complexity of being both British and Indian, as well as the timeless dilemma of reconciling human suffering with a loving God. Duffy’s writing is beautiful, deep, and contemplative. Tragedy haunts the characters, but ultimately does not defeat them. Otillie’s spiritual journey is one of the most A Tapestry of Light took me on a journey that began in vibrant, flavorful, cacophonous Calcutta in 1886, but it didn’t end there. This immersive experience explores, through the character of Otillie, the complexity of being both British and Indian, as well as the timeless dilemma of reconciling human suffering with a loving God. Duffy’s writing is beautiful, deep, and contemplative. Tragedy haunts the characters, but ultimately does not defeat them. Otillie’s spiritual journey is one of the most authentic I’ve ever read. Recommended for historical fiction lovers who appreciate the honest examination of loss and healing.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Rachel McMillan

    Read for Endorsement: A Tapestry of Light is an elegant treat for the senses threaded with delicate, thoughtful prose and lush locales. Both a treatise on faith and family as well as an exploration of belonging, readers will find themselves transported to Colonial-Era Calcutta thanks to Duffy's capable pen and inimitable passion for portraying India. Ottilie, our guide, is a strikingly memorable character balancing strength and sacrifice and certain to appeal to fans of Laura Frantz and Lori Bent Read for Endorsement: A Tapestry of Light is an elegant treat for the senses threaded with delicate, thoughtful prose and lush locales. Both a treatise on faith and family as well as an exploration of belonging, readers will find themselves transported to Colonial-Era Calcutta thanks to Duffy's capable pen and inimitable passion for portraying India. Ottilie, our guide, is a strikingly memorable character balancing strength and sacrifice and certain to appeal to fans of Laura Frantz and Lori Benton. Duffy's deep research and refreshing settings, not to mention, intelligent heroines are a wonderful addition to inspirational historical fiction and I cannot wait to see where she takes us next.

  4. 5 out of 5

    RoshReviews

    There are various reasons why you pick up a book: the cover, the title, the author, the blurb... For this book, except for the author (who was a new name to me), every other factor was appealing! Especially when the blurb revealed that the story was partly set in India, I became very eager to read it. The book however turned out to be a mixed bag. I tried my best to love it but simply couldn't. The writing style didn't work for me, but more than that, the inconsistences in the character developm There are various reasons why you pick up a book: the cover, the title, the author, the blurb... For this book, except for the author (who was a new name to me), every other factor was appealing! Especially when the blurb revealed that the story was partly set in India, I became very eager to read it. The book however turned out to be a mixed bag. I tried my best to love it but simply couldn't. The writing style didn't work for me, but more than that, the inconsistences in the character development and historical facts bugged me. Story: Ottilie Russell, a 20 year old Eurasian, is struggling with her identity in the India of 1886. With her Indian looks and half-British parentage, she belongs to neither country entirely. After her parents' death, she lives in poor conditions with her grandmother and younger brother Thaddeus, using her skills with beetle wing embroidery to sustain her family. One fine day, a stranger arrives and declares that Thaddeus is the new Baron Sunderson, a fact that catches Ottilie unawares. While Ottilie doesn't want to give up her brother to unknown British relatives, a family tragedy forces her to rethink matters and she soon finds herself in hostile England. What changes will the new country bring to her personal life? Writing: The story is set in two countries. Almost the entire first half is set in India while the rest is set in England. The India section proceeds at a medium tempo but it does move ahead. So the pace is pretty ok until the story reaches English shores. After that, it drags a lot and is too repetitive in content. I was really bored by the second half because the action seemed lost amid the random plot changes, new character additions, and repetitive scenes. The author seems to prefer an introspective writing style, where the protagonist analyses every thought and every action for multiple paras. I'm not a fan of this kind of writing. This latter half of the book could have been at least 50 pages shorter if the over-elaborate and redundant descriptions were trimmed. Faith and belief are an important part of the storyline. As a Christian myself, I could identify with some of the questions raised by Ottilie. But this wasn't my preferred type of Christian fiction. I prefer characters to act in a Christian way rather than merely quoting or referencing scriptures. This book fell in the latter category. It seems unduly preachy. Characters: Considering that this is a 430+ pages book, there are numerous characters we encounter. It takes a little while to get Ottilie's complicated genealogy in place. But once you figure out who's who, the story gets rolling. Some of the secondary characters are nicely sketched. Damaris in particular shone , and I would love to read a book with her in the lead. But Everett Scott was quite a disappointment. He goes back and forth on his own statements, depending on where the author wants to take the story. Dilip was interesting but I hated the introduction of the romantic angle to his arc. It was superfluous. I couldn't connect with most of the Indian characters. Points to ponder upon: I would have actually enjoyed the Indian section a lot, were it not for the bewildering character sketches and writing anomalies. 👉🏻 Gitisha Singh, Ottilie's maternal grandmother: Born to a Hindu family in Benares, fell in love with a Christian British army officer, converted her religion and married him, left him after he goes against her father, raises her daughter alone. Gitisha hates everything related to her husband after he betrays her but still doesn't go back to the faith of her childhood. She wears Indian sarees but goes with church ladies to visit the sick. She believes so strongly in her Baptist faith that she isn't happy about Ottilie's potential suitor being a Catholic. And yet... she wishes her ashes to be scattered in the Ganges. She wears a white saree during mourning (unlike the mourning colour of the Christian faith, black.) This was one confusing character and felt more like wishful thinking than factual possibility. 👉🏻 Ottilie is said to be more comfortable in Indian clothes and is fluent in Hindi and Bengali in addition to English. Yet while speaking with local shopkeepers, she uses English. No idea why. 👉🏻 Gitisha is said to be fluent in Hindi, Bengali, and English. But she calls her granddaughter by the Urdu "Navasi", meaning granddaughter. This might be possible as Gitisha originates from Benares, so I could give the author the benefit of doubt here. But it's still highly unlikely. 👉🏻 Ottilie calls her mother "Maji". The Hindi word for mother is "Maa", with the suffix "ji" added as a mark of respect. But Ottilie doesn't use this honorific for any other family member. The rest of the family elders are called Papa and Nani. Odd. One character is even called "Niraja Nani". I doubt people of those times would allow senior elders to be addressed by their first name, even with the term "Nani" added. 👉🏻 There's a letter in the book to Gitisha written by her sister in which she refers to their father as "Pita". No Indian will call their father Pita, even though the word means father. The correct address is always "Pitaji", without exceptions. 👉🏻 Niraja mentions in one scene how they stole the Bible from a visiting luminary, only to later realise that God "commanded his followers not to steal". Well, I'm no expert, but I'm sure that Hindu gods don't advocate stealing as well. This was just silly. 👉🏻 Thaddeus goes to sleep on Christmas Eve with great excitement, anticipating "Christmas Baba" and his gifts. Sorry, but this term just made me burst into laughter. It sounded absurd! I've never heard of this term being used EVER, and I'm an Indian Christian! The problem is not in the label (the author might have created it just for this book to promote an Indian Santa-like idea.) My problem is that non-Indians reading the book will believe this nonsense. If Ottilie and Thaddeus knew the idea of Christmas, I'm sure it wouldn't have been farfetched for them to be familiar with the idea of Santa Claus. 👉🏻 The 1857 mutiny had nothing to do with religious conversions to Christianity but with the cartridges of the new rifles being greased with cow and pig fat. This was insulting to both Hindu and Muslim religious practices, and that's why they revolted. The Britishers did forcibly convert many Indians to Christianity, and they deserve censure for it, but that's not connected to the 1857 revolt. 👉🏻 There are a few references to the "massacre at Cawnpore" but no details except for a passing mention of Nana Sahib. To a certain extent, I get why the details aren't mentioned; they weren't the main focus of the story. But the way this content is written makes the historical event appear one-sided and with only British losses because of the murderous native revolutionaries. Please look up the 1857 Revolt of India and Nana Sahib to get the facts right. There's a proverb in Hindi, "taali ek haath se nahi bajti." (A clap is not possible with one hand.) 👉🏻 Why are American English spellings being used for a book set in India and England, both of which use British English? 👉🏻 Many of the Indian words aren't translated, and there's no glossary at the end. How will international readers understand the meaning? As can be seen, there are a few issues with the Indian part of the story. But I must also give praise where it is due. 👉🏻 I hadn't even heard of beetle wing embroidery. So to become aware of such a beautiful local art through an international book was a wonderful experience. 👉🏻 The author's depiction of the identity crisis of the Anglo-Indians (called "Eurasians" in this book for valid reasons) seems quite accurate. 👉🏻 Unlike most international books set in this period of Indian history, the author does give a voice to the Indian people and talk of their desire for independence, rather than only focussing on the idea of uneducated and impoverished "natives". Though this is on a much smaller scale than I would have liked, I still appreciate the efforts. Considering that the author isn't an Indian, she has still done a decent job, much better than the book "The Henna Artist" by Indian-origin author Alka Joshi. I can see the passion that Kimberly Duffy has for India. Her love for the country is very evident in the writing. But many aware Indians will find the above problems distracting away from the plot. The author's note at the end mentions that she has an Indian friend who does a sensitivity check for her. But maybe there should be someone to do the accuracy check too. Overall, this is a valiant attempt at a historical fiction set in India. If you don't know anything about India, you'll certainly enjoy it more than I did, especially as it doesn't stop at the usual tropes that authors use to depict India: peacocks, elephants, snakes and snake charmers... but goes ahead to include our art, cuisine, language, beliefs, and so on. They say that ignorance is bliss. It would have certainly served me well in the enjoyment of this book were I ignorant of Indian history and culture. Maybe I was just the wrong reader for this book. Thank you to NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for this ARC in exchange for an honest review. *********************** Join me on the Facebook group, Readers Forever! , for more reviews, book-related discussions and fun. Follow me on Instagram: RoshReviews

  5. 4 out of 5

    Heather Wood

    Some of my favorite things about A Mosaic of Wings, my previous read by this author, was the way she writes (in general), and her beautiful and respectful descriptions of colonized India. So those were the main things I was looking forward to in A Tapestry of Light. A Tapestry of Light had all the things I liked about Mosaic of Wings and none of the things I didn't. It was everything, better. We returned to late nineteenth century India, this time to Eurasian siblings, the children of a British f Some of my favorite things about A Mosaic of Wings, my previous read by this author, was the way she writes (in general), and her beautiful and respectful descriptions of colonized India. So those were the main things I was looking forward to in A Tapestry of Light. A Tapestry of Light had all the things I liked about Mosaic of Wings and none of the things I didn't. It was everything, better. We returned to late nineteenth century India, this time to Eurasian siblings, the children of a British father and a half-British, half-Indian mother. My heart was shredded walking with Ottillie through unfathomable loss of her family and control over her future, painful wrestling with her identity, and deep doubts about her faith. She has to navigate shame, regrets, and unforgiveness on both sides of her family tree and figure out what it all means to her now, and is able to participate in and observe hearts being softened all around. She willingly sacrifices her own future and happiness to serve those she loves, and she allows her own struggle with bitterness to drive her to the Scripture, where she discovers the same key to rebuilding her faith that her grandmother had years before. There was just so much that I loved about this book. I liked the main characters. I felt hopeless when they felt hopeless, but the author never left us in a pit of despair. It wasn't so depressing that I didn't want to pick the book back up; as the characters kept pressing toward the light, I was kept turning pages faster and faster. I think we were able to have more empathy with the "difficult characters" in this book than in Mosaic, and they actually softened in this story. I loved the complexity of all the relationships. Nothing was simple, nothing was cut and dried, and none of the characters were too hateful to love. The faith thread was strong and consistently a major theme throughout the book. It was very well done. I loved the friendships, I loved the family relationships, I loved the romance. I loved the storyline (I hadn't read the whole blurb before reading the book, so I didn't actually know what was going to happen.) This book was just a lot of everything and I loved it all. The one thing that dropped from a "love" to a "like okay" was that in some places, the description got in the way of the story. For the most part the scene setting was terrific, but in a couple of places, I was so desperate to know what was going to happen, that I lost patience with it. I'm sure the author intended us to slow down in those places, but I rebelled. I would be happy to be in a book discussion about this book, and recommend it to book clubs and lovers of historical fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher, but I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any way.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Monique

    A Tapestry of Light is the second novel of Kimberly Duffy and I’m glad to say my prediction that she will be the next big name in Christian Fiction is still standing strong. But first, let me tell you a bit what it’s about. The story starts in India, where Ottilie lives with her grandmother and younger brother. She has already had her fair share of loss, and is grieving for her mother who recently passed. Funds are low, and she turns to her family’s tradition of beetle wing embroidery (featured A Tapestry of Light is the second novel of Kimberly Duffy and I’m glad to say my prediction that she will be the next big name in Christian Fiction is still standing strong. But first, let me tell you a bit what it’s about. The story starts in India, where Ottilie lives with her grandmother and younger brother. She has already had her fair share of loss, and is grieving for her mother who recently passed. Funds are low, and she turns to her family’s tradition of beetle wing embroidery (featured on this beautiful cover!) when a man arrives who wants to take her brother to England, where he is in line for a title. Thaddeus can pass as white, where Otillie looks very Indian like her mother, and this brings a clash of cultures as she’s not sure where she belongs. Will she find a place where she is truly loved? I absolutely loved A Mosaic of Wings with the focus more on romance, I can appreciate this book even more, I feel like the author bared her soul in this one. Otillie is doubting her faith, she wants to believe but with all the grief and hardship she’s had, it’s very hard to do that, understandably. This is a theme that struck home with me, I struggle a lot too and to see it reflected in fiction and to make her see her choice to stubbornly believe despite it all made me feel less alone. Okay, I guess I wanted to start with deep thoughts. The story itself is very rich and layered, and I now want to visit India. I loved reading more about the culture! The writing is well done, though I do think there are some pacing issues, it took a while for the story to really go somewhere, and then it rushes a bit toward the end. But I don’t mind that really as I wasn’t bored at all. I loved the developing friendship between her and the man that wants to take her brother away to England. There are also a strong female friendships which I love to see in books. I also liked that racism was addressed, as Otillie is too white to fit in with native Indians, and too Indian too fit in with white people, which made that she experienced racism a lot. I think the author shows this very well, she does not spell it out, but it’s always there in the background. The story itself was quite heavy as there is so much grief throughout the entire book and the hardships are many, but I love stories that have depth in them and I could handle it. But if you yourself are grieving, you might want to avoid this book. There is plenty of other stuff too, forgiveness, family secrets, embroidery (yay!), sibling love and wise grandmother words, and of course a bit of romance. Despite the pacing issues, every scene feels important and necessary to the story, and is filled to the brim, so much has happened! And I can’t even talk about it as that is spoilery... All in all, I loved A Tapestry of Light and I think it’s quite unique in this genre. I received a free e-copy of this book through Netgalley but it hasn’t influenced my opinion.

  7. 5 out of 5

    MJSH

    "I wonder if it has been smothered beneath my bitterness and unforgiveness. That's a greater threat to Christian faith than a million other gods. There is no room for it. And if you allow it in, it burns away the blood of Christ as surely as flesh is burned on a funeral pyre." This is my first book by Kimberly Duffy and I am astounded by her ability to deftly transport the reader to the late 1880s Calcutta with its beauty and poverty, its sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. Learning about a cer "I wonder if it has been smothered beneath my bitterness and unforgiveness. That's a greater threat to Christian faith than a million other gods. There is no room for it. And if you allow it in, it burns away the blood of Christ as surely as flesh is burned on a funeral pyre." This is my first book by Kimberly Duffy and I am astounded by her ability to deftly transport the reader to the late 1880s Calcutta with its beauty and poverty, its sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. Learning about a certain type of Indian embroidery was fascinating. For the first half of the book, I was enthralled by the Indian city that Ottilie and her brother Thaddeus called home and felt the heartache and tension between the British and Indian during this tumultuous time. There has been much suffering, loss, and pain in their lives which is compounded by their mixed heritage. The story is told strictly from Ottilie's point of view in the third person. Though this allowed the reader to really engage in empathizing with the main character's innate and unshakable sense of rejection, bitterness, anger, and loneliness, Ottilie's thoughts and feelings became somewhat repetitive over time because she was the only narrator. Ottilie is a remarkable young woman - talented, compassionate, loyal, hard-working, dedicated, self-sacrificial. But she is also quite stubborn, impulsive, and sometimes blind to her own faults and flaws. She does mature as the story progresses - in character and in faith - which was nice to see. Her past loss and grief, as well as the prejudice and unwarranted hatred she receives from both the British and Indian, are hard to read about but unfortunately quite realistic and heart-wrenching. The author also places the plight of overworked and abused London seamstresses into the plot, which was eye-opening. Although this is a historical fiction with fantastic setting, it is really a young woman's spiritual journey. Ottilie's hardships and doubts push her so close to the edge of breaking and it takes her a long time, many people speaking into her life, and a trip across the world to release the tight hold she has on bitterness, anger, blame and unforgiveness. It is a relatively long book and the plot seemed to lose a bit of momentum in places, especially during their days in England. There is romance in the book, in the line of star-crossed lovers, but the resolution of the romance and the ending seemed rushed and too coincidental. Nevertheless, it is a well-written book with raw and powerful emotions, great spiritual lessons, and beautiful historical setting woven throughout the story and any historical fiction fan will enjoy it. I received the book via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are solely my own.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kav

    Well, I'm stunned gobsmacked! Teetering on a crest of bibliophile speechless euphoria that is making it hard to string words together let alone a comprehensive review. So I'm resorting to a list of random impressions in no particular order. Exquisite prose. Evocative imagery. Duffy's words catapulted me into a different time and place, engaging all my senses. The first half of the book is set in India and I'd actually experience culture shock when I looked up from the page and found myself in ord Well, I'm stunned gobsmacked! Teetering on a crest of bibliophile speechless euphoria that is making it hard to string words together let alone a comprehensive review. So I'm resorting to a list of random impressions in no particular order. Exquisite prose. Evocative imagery. Duffy's words catapulted me into a different time and place, engaging all my senses. The first half of the book is set in India and I'd actually experience culture shock when I looked up from the page and found myself in ordinary ol' Canada. :-) The respect and care the author has for India and her native people. The beauty of the language, the depth of meaning in a phrase, the exotic celebration of traditions. But she doesn't shy away from the harsher realities either. The poverty, the prejudice, the brutality and unfairness of the British colonization. Especially when it comes to the Eurasian community and Ottilie's struggle to find a place she can belong. Ottilie might be one of my favourite heroines ever. Devoted sister and granddaughter. Fiercely protective of what's left of her little family. She struggles with understanding God's plan for her life. Well, she's begun to doubt he actually has one! She doesn't quite draw away from Him, but she's always questioning, challenging. And she can be stubborn and impetuous. But she's also innately kind and compassionate. A complex, richly layered heroine who has to draw on every last ounce of inner strength and fortitude to not only survive, but thrive despite the circumstances she finds herself in. All the characters are finely crafted. Even smaller secondary roles make a huge impact in a variety of ways. I felt like I knew them all by the end of the read. And I love how the author swayed my opinion on some of them during the course of the story. :-) Faith is intrinsically woven into the very fiber of this novel. So many startling beautiful truths in the midst of sorrow and despair. Joy too. And I can't forget to mention Everett! The man who turns Ottilie's world upside down. We had a love/hate relationship, Everett and I...well, hate might be too strong a word. But one particular notion he stuck to made me want to purse-whomp him more than once. :-) In the end, I was ably to extend him some grace since he does have his reasons...but, still.....Thankfully, he comes to his senses in time. A lush, resplendent, decadent kind of story that is well worth the read. Book provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications Inc.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Faye

    Well written, with lush descriptions that bring to life in vivid detail the two cultures that Ottilie is torn between. After the death of her mother, Ottilie struggles to support her grandmother and brother with her beetle-wing embroidery, but when news comes from across the waters that her brother is heir to a title she makes the difficult decision to move with Thaddeus to England, knowing that her Eurasian blood will make her even more of an outcast there than in India. This book does a great Well written, with lush descriptions that bring to life in vivid detail the two cultures that Ottilie is torn between. After the death of her mother, Ottilie struggles to support her grandmother and brother with her beetle-wing embroidery, but when news comes from across the waters that her brother is heir to a title she makes the difficult decision to move with Thaddeus to England, knowing that her Eurasian blood will make her even more of an outcast there than in India. This book does a great job of showing rather than telling with regard to the characters, their interaction, and relationships. And while this book has a more steady pace, I think that each scene did its part to progress the plot. I love learning about the different cultures as well as the history, and the beautiful art of the beetle wing embellishments. Ottilie is a woman who has faced much loss, but loves her brother fiercely. I admired her for bravely moving to another country, knowing that it would be especially difficult for herself. I also really liked her faith arc, and how serious seeking doubt was portrayed. I also enjoyed the complex depth of many of the other characters, like Alberta and Everett who are burdened by the conventions of society. Overall, this was a well done and enjoyable read, well researched, with layered characters and a steady pace. I also think that this book did an excellent job of feeling authentic to the time period in the manners, culture, and characters, perfect for fans of classic Masterpiece Theatre. Well worth the read! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    R.j.

    Excuse me while I gush a bit. Oh my. I was not prepared for this story to hit me like a ton of bricks. I had heard great things about this author, so when I had the chance to read one of her books, I took it. But wow. I was ready for a nice story of a girl leaving her home in India to live in England. And of course fall in love. Because it has to happen in these stories, right? But what I got was so much better, deeper, so much MORE than that. As someone who often struggles with feelings of isol Excuse me while I gush a bit. Oh my. I was not prepared for this story to hit me like a ton of bricks. I had heard great things about this author, so when I had the chance to read one of her books, I took it. But wow. I was ready for a nice story of a girl leaving her home in India to live in England. And of course fall in love. Because it has to happen in these stories, right? But what I got was so much better, deeper, so much MORE than that. As someone who often struggles with feelings of isolation, I found the main character‘s struggles to speak to me. I could so easily identify that feeling. And the faith element blew me away. The author is to be highly recommended for her adept weaving of a faith element. It could have been preachy or fake. It was so honest and raw and real I was almost in tears. This book will be on my list of best books of the year. And probably all time. It was so good. Buy this book. I know I will buying it for my friends. I did receive a copy of this book to facilitate a review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to leave a review.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

    “Was she to be sewn into that story? Would she be allowed to claim that history?” I was left speechless when I finished reading this book. What a beautiful story I found within its pages. My heart is full. First of all, I love that this novel is set in India. Kimberly Duffy's expert writing brings the country alive, as she describes the culture and life of India in vivid detail. Between the descriptions of the sights, sounds, and tastes, I felt immersed in a different place and time. Ottilie Russel “Was she to be sewn into that story? Would she be allowed to claim that history?” I was left speechless when I finished reading this book. What a beautiful story I found within its pages. My heart is full. First of all, I love that this novel is set in India. Kimberly Duffy's expert writing brings the country alive, as she describes the culture and life of India in vivid detail. Between the descriptions of the sights, sounds, and tastes, I felt immersed in a different place and time. Ottilie Russell experiences loss after loss, which was incredibly heartbreaking to read. After all the loss she endures, her life is turned upside down yet again when Everett Scott arrives with a revelation. What follows is her desperate desire to hold on to what little she has left of her family. She grapples with doubts in her faith and feels alone amidst all the loss she has experienced. Where does she belong? This book brought me to tears. Ottilie's journey through grief and doubt, the desire to belong, of feeling alone, and of resilience resonated with me. Her struggles and pain were palpable. It feels as if her whole world is falling apart, and I was so emotionally invested in how her story would end. I also love how this author writes the love interests in her stories, both this one and her debut novel. The leading man in this story was gentle, kind, and supportive, and I loved him for it. He was a balm to Ottilie's wounded heart. I'm so glad I have a copy of this book on my shelves now. It is a keeper!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lu

    A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy is a heart-wrenching story of loss, prejudice, and fortitude. Ottilie was born in India to an Anglo-Indian mother and an English father. Looking like an Indian but educated within the English community, Ottilie lived amidst two different cultures, not being accepted by either. The story is so sorrowful. My heart went to Ottilie and her endless string of losses and all the pain it brought her. The blatant prejudice she was subjected to was heart-breaking. She im A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy is a heart-wrenching story of loss, prejudice, and fortitude. Ottilie was born in India to an Anglo-Indian mother and an English father. Looking like an Indian but educated within the English community, Ottilie lived amidst two different cultures, not being accepted by either. The story is so sorrowful. My heart went to Ottilie and her endless string of losses and all the pain it brought her. The blatant prejudice she was subjected to was heart-breaking. She immigrated to England with her brother, and matters became even worse when not even her own family members fully accepted her. The characters were layered and flawed. Ottilie's strength and courage despite all her misfortunes were very inspiring. She was always kind and understanding of her family and friend's many weaknesses. There was a strong faith element throughout the story. Ottilie's faith was repeatedly tested, and she did not hide from her doubts. There was a little romance in the story's background, although I must confess I resented the hero too much to rejoice in their HEA. I loved to learn about an embroidering technique that uses iridescent beetle wing cases. I checked online, and they have a lovely blue hue. I could imagine how stunning Ottilie's creations would have been. A Tapestry of Light is a moving story to read with a box of tissues at hand. Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. *For more reviews, book art, and book-related articles, please visit https://lureviewsbooks.com *

  13. 4 out of 5

    Reanne - (Faith, Fiction, Fact and Fluff)

    Wow. This beautiful work of historical fiction immerses you in the tangled history of Britain and India and shows the strength and resilience that can come from suffering. Ottilie was born in Calcutta, India to a British father and a Eurasian mother. Having grieved the loss of her family, she is left to care for her young brother and grandmother. When she learns that her brother is the sole heir to a large estate in England, she is forced to decide what her life is going to look like and whether Wow. This beautiful work of historical fiction immerses you in the tangled history of Britain and India and shows the strength and resilience that can come from suffering. Ottilie was born in Calcutta, India to a British father and a Eurasian mother. Having grieved the loss of her family, she is left to care for her young brother and grandmother. When she learns that her brother is the sole heir to a large estate in England, she is forced to decide what her life is going to look like and whether she has the courage to face the unknown. I loved the themes that this book explored and the intricate way it dives into cultural prejudices and doubts about faith and suffering. Ottilie's story lingers long after you close the pages, for it reflects many of the questions that arise in our own hearts. This was my first book by Kimberly Duffy and I already can’t wait to read what she releases next. I received this ebook from NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kelly-Ann ~ Sassy Bookish Mama

    I have been wanting to read a book by Kimberly Duff ever since she released Mosaic of Wings. (I have the book in my extremely long TBR pile!) I was so happy to be able to review this book. This story is filled with SO much! The author does an incredible job at drawing you in with her descriptive words. She paints such a beautiful picture with words and makes you feel like you are in the different locations this story takes place in. The story is jam-packed with so much emotion. It encompasses bi I have been wanting to read a book by Kimberly Duff ever since she released Mosaic of Wings. (I have the book in my extremely long TBR pile!) I was so happy to be able to review this book. This story is filled with SO much! The author does an incredible job at drawing you in with her descriptive words. She paints such a beautiful picture with words and makes you feel like you are in the different locations this story takes place in. The story is jam-packed with so much emotion. It encompasses big feelings such as loss, pain, rejection and feelings of loneliness. I'm not going to lie, tears were shed and the tissue box got put to use as I went through Ottilie's journey. Despite all of that what I loved most is how her faith in God grew and was made stronger throughout the story. Although there was some romance in the book. I honestly think the story could of been just about Ottilie and it would have been just as good. I didn't want to give too much of the story away because you should really take the time to read it. Just be mindful that it is emotional and you may need some tissues handy. I can't wait to see what else Ms. Duffy writes in the near future! I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Dean

    Last year I read Mosaic of Wings and was blown away by the beautiful writing style of Ms Duffy. I felt the same way reading A Tapestry of Light. The author writes in such a wonderful, descriptive way that draws you in and makes you see and feel everything the characters do. This story is about loss, pain, loneliness and rejection. It broke my heart reading what Ottilie was going through. But there is also hope. Thadeus, who had also experienced loss and rejection, offers a friendship to Ottilie Last year I read Mosaic of Wings and was blown away by the beautiful writing style of Ms Duffy. I felt the same way reading A Tapestry of Light. The author writes in such a wonderful, descriptive way that draws you in and makes you see and feel everything the characters do. This story is about loss, pain, loneliness and rejection. It broke my heart reading what Ottilie was going through. But there is also hope. Thadeus, who had also experienced loss and rejection, offers a friendship to Ottilie that she hasn't had before. I loved Ottilie's grandmother and the words of wisdom she gave to her. It was wonderful seeing these truths begin to help Ottilie grow stronger as a person and also spiritually. I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it! I am already looking forward to more books by this author. **I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.**

  16. 4 out of 5

    Connie Carpenter

    A Tapestry of Light By: Kimberly Duffy is Historical Fiction book. This is the first book that I have read by this author and I enjoyed it very much. I am a history nerd and I have a masters in military history. I have NOT ever read a book that was based in India during 1885. I do not know a lot about the culture or this time period. I learned a lot from the author. The author did careful research to make this feel as real as possible. In this story we meet Ottilie. She is trapped between two cu A Tapestry of Light By: Kimberly Duffy is Historical Fiction book. This is the first book that I have read by this author and I enjoyed it very much. I am a history nerd and I have a masters in military history. I have NOT ever read a book that was based in India during 1885. I do not know a lot about the culture or this time period. I learned a lot from the author. The author did careful research to make this feel as real as possible. In this story we meet Ottilie. She is trapped between two cultures. She does not feel like she belongs to either of them. Ottilie and her brother Thaddeus have just lost their second parent. Ottilie knows that she still has to support her family - so she continues her mother's beetle wing embroidery business. I felt bad for Ottilie - the loss of her parent - the struggle of being caught in two cultures where you don't feel like you belong. Ottilie looks Indian like her mother, while Thaddeus can pass for white. There is also a family secret that threatens to bring shame to the family. I love the way that the author wrote her characters. When they felt sad, that oozed off the pages. You felt their emotions. The author has also done a great job weaving faith into the story. Ottilie was faced with a lot - and she surely felt like she was losing her faith in God. Special thanks to the author and the publisher for allowing me to read a copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

  17. 4 out of 5

    KES

    Yes - read it. It's another beautiful read by Kimberly Duffy. The visuals of India that your mind imagines while reading are just wonderful. If you enjoy the imagery part of reading, this is most definitely a read for you. I happen to be intrigued by India especially during the raj so I enjoyed it immensely. It is a HEA ending but it takes a while, and in my case tears, to get there. I actually felt the ending was rushed. I could have handled a few more chapters. I received an ARC from Netgalley a Yes - read it. It's another beautiful read by Kimberly Duffy. The visuals of India that your mind imagines while reading are just wonderful. If you enjoy the imagery part of reading, this is most definitely a read for you. I happen to be intrigued by India especially during the raj so I enjoyed it immensely. It is a HEA ending but it takes a while, and in my case tears, to get there. I actually felt the ending was rushed. I could have handled a few more chapters. I received an ARC from Netgalley and Bethany House Publishers to prepare for my honest review.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    This novel was exquisite in its attention to detail – not in a monotonous or droning way – but in the essence of how the author captured the senses in every paragraph. With some well-crafted wording, we’re transported from 2021 into a time and place far from home. I don’t generally read about the British colonization of India, for no other reason than it just hasn’t struck my fancy. Duffy has changed that for me by bridging the two worlds of British society and Indian culture and highlighting th This novel was exquisite in its attention to detail – not in a monotonous or droning way – but in the essence of how the author captured the senses in every paragraph. With some well-crafted wording, we’re transported from 2021 into a time and place far from home. I don’t generally read about the British colonization of India, for no other reason than it just hasn’t struck my fancy. Duffy has changed that for me by bridging the two worlds of British society and Indian culture and highlighting the plight of a people caught in the middle. My heart broke for the injustice of this novel and the theme of searching for home – the longing for acceptance, love, and belonging. Even as the author struck a chord with her tale, did she do justice in a book whose very core message highlights difficulties due to one’s family tree or the people group they belong to? I think Duffy told Ottilie’s story well. She also created an awareness that prods me to dig deeper into learning about the history of Anglo-Indians – to hear their stories and to learn. Overall, this was a moving page-turner of a tale. It brought me to tears, to frustration, to empathy. It didn’t coat over messy moments. It made me want to dig deeper, and that’s not something that every piece of fiction can do. It was an engaging work of fiction with notes of bittersweet honesty. Thankfully, it wasn’t just darkness and uncertainty, struggle and loss, but also a richly captivating beacon of beauty, hope, and welcome. My thanks to the publisher for the complimentary copy via NetGalley. Opinions expressed are my own and excerpts from a full review on my personal blog: www.lifelovelaughterlinds.ca

  19. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy Back of the Book: “Calcutta, 1886. Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women. When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ot A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy Back of the Book: “Calcutta, 1886. Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women. When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie's English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home. But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn't forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.” Impressions: I’m about to be really honest and admit my world-based knowledge is pretty pathetic. My understanding and history of other countries is slim. One special thing about fiction is that it catches your attention with something you find enjoyable and then piques your curiosity for the non-fiction as you read bits of truths. I always enjoy the authors spill-all at the end of the book on its real and fictionized bits and pieces. This book was no different. That being said I love learning as an adult and seek to know more. In this book specifically, I enjoyed learning about the relations of India and Britain in the past. Rated: Discussed massacre, racism Liked: I enjoyed learning new things about the Indian and British cultures. I also enjoyed learning about the elytra embroidery. This was new to me and deemed Google worthy which side barred me from reading for a bit to observe this beautiful art. Without a picture, the idea of any kind of bug on my person was a little off-putting. The elytra embroidery however is unique and held no resemblance to my idea of bug art😊 Disliked: I won’t lie the I was not a fan of the romance in this novel. I felt burned by Ottilie’s rejection to British society and wasn’t able to fully fall in love with her love story. Ottilie had a tragic past and was not delicate but strong. As strong as she was, she was also vibrant with emotion and love for her family and culture. As she gets lost in work at the end, I struggled to make the transition of her life with her extended family. I feel like that transition would have been messier than the book allowed. Alas, it is just a book. Of course, it needs an ending. I just never like endings. It’s a personal problem I assure you. Quotes: “’ You’re looking at things the wrong way. You only see what God has taken…But not what he has given…You are so talented, stitching art out of beetle parts. Creating beauty from the ordinary. But even you wouldn’t appreciate your work if you only saw it in reverse.’” -It is hard to be patient as God works in our lives. Sometimes it is downright ugly. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us to keep hope as God's plans are good even when life is messy. “It was the only place in the city that enfolded God’s children into an embrace that left little room for bigotry and arrogance.” – Can you guess where Ottilie is referring to? A church. Would you say this is true of churches today? Do you feel there are open arms welcoming you into the church, void of bigotry and arrogance? Why or why not? “’ I know it’s no comfort, but I’ve seen how suffering can produce good character. It makes people resilient. Compassionate toward others. The things they accomplish are made more beautiful because of the strength it took to persevere.’” – I just loved this quote. It is so true how God works through hardships in our lives. “’ It’s not as though we have a say in the tragedy we endure. It happens and we grow. Or it happens and we wither.’” – With God, we have the courage to look forward and grow from tragedy. Without him, we are hopeless and wither, or I would add bitter and jaded. “…Home was never supposed to be a place. It is the people.” -Yep! “As romantic as going back in time sounds, I’m grateful we only have to log on to a computer to open the pages of a book to experience life and culture in different places and ages.” – Kimberly Duffy writes this at the end of the book and I couldn’t agree more! I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review shared here.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Paty

    Ottilie Russell longs for belonging. Being part of two greatly different cultures she has never fell more alone in her life after her mother dies. Having recently lost her father, and her sister and brother, her only remaining family is her grandmother and her loving little brother Thaddeus. Her mother being Eurasian (half british and half Indian), and her father british, Ottilie takes after her mother, with darker skin and hair, while her brother Thaddeus takes after her father, or maybe her ma Ottilie Russell longs for belonging. Being part of two greatly different cultures she has never fell more alone in her life after her mother dies. Having recently lost her father, and her sister and brother, her only remaining family is her grandmother and her loving little brother Thaddeus. Her mother being Eurasian (half british and half Indian), and her father british, Ottilie takes after her mother, with darker skin and hair, while her brother Thaddeus takes after her father, or maybe her maternal grandfather, who’s British (whom she rejects because he left her grandmother and mother for another woman), while her grandmother is Indian. Even in India, Ottilie is already used to rejection because of her appearance. Being the head of her now small family, Ottilie has to support them with work, so she immerses full time in the beetle wings artful embroidery of gowns, shoes and accessories, an exotic style that her mother taught her. She’s very gifted, but the situation in Calcutta is difficult and she struggles to makes ends meet. Then, an unexpected visit changes her already fragile world upside down. Everett Scott arrives from England, a friend from her father’s family in England, claiming young Thaddeus is the new Baron of Hazelbrook Manor, Lord Sunderson, being the only male heir left in the family line. But Ottilie is determined not to let her brother go, until a tragedy strikes, and she finds herself more lost than ever, but willing to sacrifice for her brother’s inheritance and heritage. But will she also be a part of her father’s family or will she continue to experience rejection because of her race? What other family secrets will she uncover? She has forged a deep friendship with Everett, but how can she continue to have him in her life if he’s planning to marry a british woman of means? This story was truly amazing, I have no words! The author has such a talent for storytelling and for describing in such a vivid and enchanting way the cultural customs, the scenery and particular setting -Calcutta, India and Wiltshire, England-, that I felt transported in time! I have to see I visited India many years ago -not Calcutta- and that helped me imagine everything with more intensity and detail. But I’m sure I’m not partial about this novel, it’s a true gem. Her writing style is almost poetic, it just flawed so naturally, that I felt I was really part of the character’s plights. I felt very related to Ottilie, although I have never gone through such tragic or difficult situations. But her struggle in trusting God that everything that happens is for a better good and that He’s always supporting us, is something I relate with, and I loved Ottilie’s journey to faith and trust in God. It was humbling, because she had so many reasons to be untrustful, but God always provides a way for us to discover He is in charge and will never forsake us. I also loved reading at the end how much of a personal story from the author is inside. It was humbling too for her to share that, and I admired her more for it. The secondary characters are loveable too (some have some growing to do though). Everett was a true gentleman, even if he had to overcome his own fears and insecurities and desire to belong too; his heart was so compassionate, and his story was heart-wrenching too. Thaddeus was plainly adorable, and Nani was one of my favorite characters with her wisdom and affection. Damaris and Penny were the loyalest of friends and sweetened Ottilie's struggling journey. Thank you Mrs. Duffy for an epic journey of faith, forgiveness and redemption! So many things to learn, and through a touching and beautiful story that will bring tears to your eyes, but smiles as well. The romance wasn’t the main focus of the story but it was still sweet and heart tugging. I can’t recommend this book highly enough! It made a positive spiritual impact on me!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Goshorn

    What. A. Book! I was completely enchanted by A Tapestry of Light. Duffy does an excellent job bringing the sights and sounds of colonial India to life. Through crowded streets, lush gardens, and the scent of Indian spices, I was transported to another world. Beautifully woven with a sprinkle of Hindi words and customs, we see 19th century India through, Duffy's heroine, Ottilie Russell, a young woman of Eurasian (Indian & British) descent. Ottilie is carrying the weight of the world on her shoul What. A. Book! I was completely enchanted by A Tapestry of Light. Duffy does an excellent job bringing the sights and sounds of colonial India to life. Through crowded streets, lush gardens, and the scent of Indian spices, I was transported to another world. Beautifully woven with a sprinkle of Hindi words and customs, we see 19th century India through, Duffy's heroine, Ottilie Russell, a young woman of Eurasian (Indian & British) descent. Ottilie is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. As her story begins, she is swept up in a tragedy that brings the vivid memories of losing her father and two sisters to cholera years earlier. Ottilie relies on her talent to embroider with iridescent beetle wings to support her family. Apparently this was a fashion craze in the 1800s and I'd never heard of it, so I looked it up. As you can see, It's just lovely. I've had no idea those were the casings for beetle wings, would you? Ottlie is guarded and fiercely protective of her only two remaining family members, her younger brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother. While this may shy some readers away, I urge you to read on. Who hasn't suffered in this world? Who hasn't wondered where God is when the circumstances of their life overwhelm them? If our faith is so fragile that we cannot voice our doubts in our grief or despair and come out stronger on the other side, like Ottilie, I would question how strong it was in the first place. Just like in her debut, A Mosaic of Wings, Duffy has once again created characters that leapt off the page into my heart. The story is told through Ottilie's perspective, yet the entire cast of secondary characters were well thought out and developed. They were my friends and I was sorry to part with them when the story ended. Even the antagonists recognized their flawed thinking and seek forgiveness by novel's end. But it was Everett Scott, Ottilie's friend and eventual romantic interest, that took my heart by storm. Everett is a kind, honorable man, with a strong faith, who never looks down on Ottilie because she is of Eurasian heritage. As feelings grow between them, Everett is torn between the woman he loves and the responsibility he feels to carry on his father's business and make him proud, thus redeeming himself from the sordid details of his own ancestry. But in order to do that, he needs a proper British wife, the kind that can open the right doors for him. Despite the fact I wanted to shake him at times for putting societal expectations above his growing feelings for Ottilie, Everett is one of my favorite heroes of the year. This flaw only made him more realistic, not only as a man of his era, but as a human being who needed to grow and be stretched. Seeing Everett open his heart to God, to allow God to prune him, and him being willing to let go of what he thought he'd always wanted, made Everett's journey all the more satisfying. And Duffy doesn't shy away from tough topics like prejudice and racism. As a white woman living in one of America's most affluent counties, I really appreciated the opportunity to see the world through Ottilie's eyes. Although both her and her brother are Eurasian, Duffy shows the disparity between the way people treated her because she looked Indian where as Thaddeus looked British (white). She never felt fully accepted by either culture in India, but when she arrived in Britain, she felt alone and alienated in her own home, while her brother was touted as the next heir of Hazelbrook Manor. Her search for belonging, to be accepted for who she was, not what she appeared to be, is a theme I find especially relevant for today's historical fiction reader. I was given a copy of this book by the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Marta ( Just Ordinary Bookshelf )

    3.5/5 Calcutta, 1886 - Ottilie Russel's life is once again upturned after the sudden death of her mother. Born from the English father and Anglo-Indian mother, she feels lost between two cultures and rejected by both Indians and British, and her distinctly Indian looks don’t make it easier for her to be accepted. Amidst her worries about the family’s, especially her young brother’s, survival she receives the news that once again reveal the long hidden family secrets. Her six years old brother is 3.5/5 Calcutta, 1886 - Ottilie Russel's life is once again upturned after the sudden death of her mother. Born from the English father and Anglo-Indian mother, she feels lost between two cultures and rejected by both Indians and British, and her distinctly Indian looks don’t make it easier for her to be accepted. Amidst her worries about the family’s, especially her young brother’s, survival she receives the news that once again reveal the long hidden family secrets. Her six years old brother is the new heir to the baronetcy and the stranger who brought the news wants him to come to England and assume the title. When the fatal disease that already cost them most of their family strikes again, Ottilie makes a decision to leave everything she knows and loves and sets out for the unknown country her father have long forsaken. In cold and unwelcoming England she’ll have to learn to rely on her faith and to trust those around her with her heart if she wants the chance for the better life. This was very emotional and enlightening story. It took me on a journey I wouldn’t neccessary choose to take if haven’t spotted this book on NetGalley and I’m better for reading it. I loved the descriptions of India and all the details about the way of life and people who lived there in 19th century. I appreciate how researched and respectful this story was. Even though I’m not religious ( my relationship with religion is complicated one ) I appreciated the parts where Ottilie struggled with her faith and I was not at all surprised to read author’s note on them being her personal struggles, because it really did feel personal and honest. There are several reasons why I didn’t rate this book higher even though I enjoyed the story. The first one is that I feel like at least first 50%, or even more, of this book could’ve been told in the first 25-30%. It just felt dragged out and the pacing felt off. That leads me to another reason and that is repetitiveness. Some things were repeated more than enough times and I was thinking – okay, we know that already, lets move on. A lot of the plot was sacrificed to the main characters introspectiveness, and that’s okay in certain measure but I felt like there was too much of it in the first part of the book and it took me some time to get into the story. There were also some inconsistencies in writing, namely in Ottilie’s feelings, such as when she at certain moments decides that she’s doing something for herself, then few pages later she says she’s doing it for Thaddeus. I also think that too many issues and subplots were introduced and then not developed properly and resolved too quickly – for example the part about colonel or the seamstresses. The less is more and all that. The story would’ve benefited from less subplots, less Ottilie’s repetitive doubts and more character development. I felt like the only character that got some development was Ottilie and even she took such a long time that I felt very frustrated with her. I wished for maybe Everett’s point of view, so that we could understand him better and experience the story from his side, or any other of the characters that take larger part in the story. Nevertheless, this was very interesting and, in the end, enjoyable read, despite my complaints. The author is talented and I will follow her work in the future. Her descriptions, both of places and emotions, are beautiful and made up for my frustration with some other parts of the book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Meagan Myhren-Bennett

    A Tapestry of Light By Kimberly Duffy Ottilie Russell is caught between two worlds accepted by neither and rejected by both. Her mixed heritage is held in contempt and viewed with suspicion - the British reject her due to her clearly Indian heritage and the Indians disdaining her British ties as a betrayal of who she could have been. She is clearly Indian but too British to be accepted by those she calls neighbors. She has lost the joy and peace that life once offered. Losing her parents, brother, A Tapestry of Light By Kimberly Duffy Ottilie Russell is caught between two worlds accepted by neither and rejected by both. Her mixed heritage is held in contempt and viewed with suspicion - the British reject her due to her clearly Indian heritage and the Indians disdaining her British ties as a betrayal of who she could have been. She is clearly Indian but too British to be accepted by those she calls neighbors. She has lost the joy and peace that life once offered. Losing her parents, brother, and sister has left her in fear and doubt. Fear that she will lose what little family she has left and in doubt that God is indeed loving and concerned for her. Using her skills as a beetle-wing embroiderer she manages to eke out a living that provides for the barest needs of her little brother Thaddeus and her grandmother. But life is anything but easy as she pushes herself to fulfill the work in the attempt to gain more. But she is adrift - when Everett Scott shows up claiming that he has been sent to bring Thaddeus back to England. But Ottilie cannot give up her brother her last reminder of her parents and their love. But Thaddeus has inherited a title and though he is only 6 he has a duty to fulfill. In the process of trying to convince Ottilie that Thaddeus's life will vastly improve if he is permitted to leave, Everett and Ottilie form a friendship of sorts. A friendship that has the potential becoming something more. When yet another tragedy strikes Ottilie agrees to Thaddeus's removal from India on the condition that she goes with him. As Ottilie faces the prospect of a new world so different from the one she's always known she finds herself adrift. The family that she prayed would accept her is shocked at her foreign appearance and ways. She is expected to reject the ties that bind her to England so as to not upset societal expectations and ruin her brother's future. Worse she faces betrayal once again from a man in whom she has placed her truth. Can she ever find a place to belong and find the answers she so desperately seeks? A Tapestry of Light is a journey of faith and discovery. Who is God? Throughout Ottilie and various other characters find themselves in doubt as to who God truly is and what role, if any, His plays in their life? Is He loving? A cruel tyrant? An indifferent deity who demands everything? These are the answers that drive the story as much as the prejudices that drive Ottilie to make choices that set her life on an altogether different path she never anticipated following. These are truths that all readers can take to heart as something to ponder. This book takes the reader on a journey through heartbreak, sorrow, desolation, and joy. It is also a look at the world under British rule and it is disheartening that the prejudices that were are still such a very real part of life today. Ethnic and class snobbery is not unique to any particular era or people and yet it is equally painful and destructive. Kimberly Duffy brings Ottilie Russell life with all her complexities, fears, hopes, and dreams. This is the first work of Kimberly Duffy that I have had the pleasure of reading and I can assure you that it will not be the last and I highly recommend her work if you are looking for something that entertains while providing a multifaceted depth. I was provided a complimentary copy with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mimi

    I was absolutely blown away by A Tapestry of Light. As I was reading through it, I was trying to think of whose writing Kimberly's reminded me of in this story. The angst of it put me in mind of Jane Austen. About 3/4 of the way through I thought of the book of Job from the Bible! Let me just say, the story took me on an emotional, vivid roller coaster ride. Kimberly's writing in this story has depth and beauty from start to finish. She paints a picture of India in such tangible detail, that when I was absolutely blown away by A Tapestry of Light. As I was reading through it, I was trying to think of whose writing Kimberly's reminded me of in this story. The angst of it put me in mind of Jane Austen. About 3/4 of the way through I thought of the book of Job from the Bible! Let me just say, the story took me on an emotional, vivid roller coaster ride. Kimberly's writing in this story has depth and beauty from start to finish. She paints a picture of India in such tangible detail, that when I was creating the photo for my Instagram to go along with this book review, I used some curry and I think I'll forever associate curry with Ottilie's story. I'll admit I was completely clueless of life in India during the Victorian age. I had no idea of the Eurasian population and what they had to endure socially. It was fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time. It was also mind boggling that so many people were dying of cholera. And I had no idea that beetle wing casings were used for fashion! The things people think of. I also loved the use of terms like "didi" for sister, maji for mama, and Nānī for grandmother. And yes, those are explained smoothly in the story. So, let's talk about the characters. And just know, my review is NOT going to do this story justice. It just isn't. AND, I "tabbed" so many pages in this book... we need to discuss people! Ottilie. She's such an incredible character. While she's already lost so much (hello, Job) she is grasping on to what & who is left. When she meets Everett, my heart absolutely sank. His purpose for being there - to take one more person away - nearly did me in. And I loved how she gave him a run for his money. But, Everett. I liked him and didn't like him. hahahaha He was just so "British". That was one of the pieces of this story that really was profound. How different Brits and Indians saw the world. I "understood" him, didn't like it, but I did. I also thought he was quite selfish in some instances. Read the book, you'll see what I mean. He's a super likable guy, just not a fan of his "purpose". One of my favorite characters is Damaris, and Puh-LEASE, Kimberly Duffy, give her a story!!! Oh my gosh, seriously, we all need a Damaris in our lives. She is feisty and British, and doesn't give one whit about status and propriety. She's Ottilie's champion and I'm here for it! And then, of course, there's the deep faith that is entwined in the story. A heritage of faith is passed down from Ottilie's Nānī on her Maji's side. It's rather a funny scenario with how she and her sister come to learn about Christianity and how significant it becomes in Ottilie's life. When Ottilie, Thaddeus, and Everett arrive in England, just as I expected, things go just like they did back in India. And it makes me want to shake everyone who treats her poorly! Ok, maybe more than shake them. Everett is focused fully on society's expectations and I want to shake him, too. I was so emotional from probably the halfway point and it just ramped up until the very end. Welling up with tears is a good sign, right? hahaha Please don't miss out on this beautiful work of art that Kimberly has created in Ottilie's story. This book will never leave my bookshelves! *I was sent this book for review. This is my opinion.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Voyage

    "A Tapestry of Light" is a book I very much enjoyed and look forward to reading it again the future, as I do with most of my favourite books! Set in the Victorian time, the story begins in Calcutta, India, where Ottilie, a young Eurasian women (of British and Indian ascent) lives in a poor neighbourhood with the remaining members of her family: her grandmother and younger brother. Then comes a kind, young, British man, Everett, who announces that Ottilie's younger brother Thaddeus is in fact a ba "A Tapestry of Light" is a book I very much enjoyed and look forward to reading it again the future, as I do with most of my favourite books! Set in the Victorian time, the story begins in Calcutta, India, where Ottilie, a young Eurasian women (of British and Indian ascent) lives in a poor neighbourhood with the remaining members of her family: her grandmother and younger brother. Then comes a kind, young, British man, Everett, who announces that Ottilie's younger brother Thaddeus is in fact a baron and must go to England to learn his role in the British society. After the death of her grandmother (which I wish wasn't revealed in the summary), Ottilie, her brother, and Everett embark on a ship towards England. There, Ottilie and Thaddeus meet their extended British family, the latter not knowing how to deal with the fact that their newly found family members have Indian ancestry. Both siblings try to find their place in British society as well as in their new family and community, but struggle to adapt to their new country. I loved the story and its sweet and relatable characters. I also loved travelling to India in my mind and learning so much about British and Indian societies in the 1880s. There are a few elements I particularly appreciated in the story: - the historical and geographical details. This book is full of descriptions which allows the reader to really imagine two societies and countries during the late 19th century, which the readers might not be familiar with. It allows them to really immerse themselves in the books' imagery. - the sensory details (visual, odorant, tactile, etc.) about India - it made me want to travel to India, see the colours; touch the silk saris; taste the food: the mustard seeds, the lassi, the sweets; as well as have an oil massage! - the faith element. I am not religious and don't usually like books with too strong a religious focus, but here it brought something important to the story as Ottilie struggled with her faith. I just wish faith was explained more clearly for non-religious people (here, I didn't really get most of the teachings of Christianity addressed in the book which is a shame - I'm sure I would have appreciated them). - the sensitive way in which topics such as death, grieving, loneliness and racism are dealt with. These are some topics that are not easy to address. What I would have appreciated it: - that the Indian words be explained. There was quite of bit of Indian vocabulary (that might or might not be found in English dictionaries), but as a non-native English speaker, I often wished there were small notes to explain what these words meant instead of having to guess or skip them. - I wish there was an illustration of the elytra/beetles embroidery in the first pages of the book (in addition to what's already drawn on the gorgeous cover), because I had never seen it before and couldn't imagine how beautiful it looks! - the ending was a bit too rushed. I seem to understand the author was already over a world limit. Considering the slow pace of the first three quarters of the book, I regret that the ending was so fast and resolved everything in so few pages. I was left hungry for a bit more. *I received an advanced copy of this book and provided my honest opinion*

  26. 4 out of 5

    Janelle

    I don’t believe I have ever read a book so meticulously researched and detailed as A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy. In reading this book you are transported to 1880’s India, where you learn every facet of Ottilie Russell’s life and history. This book tackles the struggles of belonging when you have multiple cultures in your bloodlines, yet do not fit in or receive acceptance from either one. Kimberly Duffy beautifully navigates racial prejudices and opens readers’ eyes to both the internal I don’t believe I have ever read a book so meticulously researched and detailed as A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy. In reading this book you are transported to 1880’s India, where you learn every facet of Ottilie Russell’s life and history. This book tackles the struggles of belonging when you have multiple cultures in your bloodlines, yet do not fit in or receive acceptance from either one. Kimberly Duffy beautifully navigates racial prejudices and opens readers’ eyes to both the internal and external challenges of racism. Characters: ☆☆☆☆☆ Each of Duffy’s characters are beautifully and richly detailed. She shows both the good and the bad of each character, making them feel dimensional and realistic. After reading Ottilie’s story, I feel like I intimately know not only her, but her brother, parents, Nani (her grandmother in India), her paternal grandparents, as well as her aunt and grandma in England and a few friends along the way. I could probably write an essay on the life and motivations of each one, honestly. Plot: ☆☆☆ Although a beautifully written and unique plot, for me this book moved very slowly due to the abundance of details and descriptions. Duffy put a lot of emphasis on transporting the reader to the time and place of the story, and succeeded in doing so, but it hindered the plot’s movement. For example, “His eyes softened and turned the green of Nani’s favorite dupatta. Ottilie loved that scarf, the way Nani slipped it over her head when in church. How it had grown threadbare over the years, turning velvety like the petals of an oleander. She couldn’t turn away from this memory of her grandmother displayed in vivid color on the face of Everett Scott.” (page 109) Although it was an interesting tidbit, it put a halt in following along their conversation and seemed an unnecessary tangent. Some readers may love such intricate details; I merely prefer details more directly tied to the story or scene’s plotline. Writing: ☆☆☆☆ There is no doubt that Kimberly Duffy is an amazingly talented storyteller. Her descriptions of India were breathtaking, and her ability to develop dimensional characters was very impressive. However, I didn’t become “hooked” on the story until page 335 of 422, and those 335 pages took discipline to get through. For me, there was just way too much detail in the book. I was impressed by it, but it made the plot move much too slowly for my taste. Overall, I think that this book was beautifully written and I admire the amount of research and accuracy put into it. Although it was rough for me to get through (with the exception of the last 100 pages that I loved), I think that to be my personal preferences, and don’t think that every reader will feel the same way that I did. If you are looking to be immersed in a culture, time period, and an intricate and complicated family dynamic, I would definitely recommend reading A Tapestry of Light! Thank you to author Kimberly Duffy and Bethany House Publishers for sending me a copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely honest and solely mine.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Les Romantiques

    Posted on Les Romantiques - Le forum du site Reviewed by Rinou Review Copy from the Publisher I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. IMO A Tapestry of Light is more woman fiction than romance, and it can be classified in inspirational fiction, or Christian fiction – it’s the second time I happen on this subgenre on Netgalley in a short period because it’s not said in the description. At least here there aren’t prayers or other religious t Posted on Les Romantiques - Le forum du site Reviewed by Rinou Review Copy from the Publisher I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. IMO A Tapestry of Light is more woman fiction than romance, and it can be classified in inspirational fiction, or Christian fiction – it’s the second time I happen on this subgenre on Netgalley in a short period because it’s not said in the description. At least here there aren’t prayers or other religious things on every page, even if the heroine’s reflection about her faith has an important place in the story. The descriptions of Calcutta, its surroundings, and the heroine’s life, are very detailed, with the good and the bad sides. Racism is also at the center of the story, as Ottilie, from mixed origin, is looked down on by the English people because she has the dark skin of her maternal family, without being accepted by the Indians because of her white father and grand-father. She even has been rejected by the soldier she loved, because of her skin color. After arriving in England she’s not treated better, the servants ignore or avoid her, and her aunt snubs her while telling her to hide her blood tie to her little brother in order for him to be accepted in society (he took after their father). I found that lot of tragedies befell on Ottilie: the father, a brother and a sister all died of cholera when she was younger, the mother was run over by a car just before the beginning of the book, the maternal grandmother gets cholera too – okay, Ottilie needed a strong reason to leave India, but that’s a lot for one person. Add to that the shock of the more than lukewarm reception by her paternal family, the separation with her little brother who’s sent to a boarding school at the age of six, and her relationship with Everett, and you’ll understand I was in a low spirit for her. Talking about Everett, don’t read this book if you want a novel where the story is more about the love story, or if you want sensual scenes. As I said, it’s more a woman fiction following the heroine’s journey. Everett, even if he’s present, is much in the background, and for most of the book he says he wants to rise in society through marriage, which wouldn’t be possible with Ottilie. All in all we only see them kiss two or three times. The cover attracted me, and it corresponds to the story. There’s an example of the beetle-wing embroidery, with the iridescent wings of the insects, that the heroine does, an Asiatic art really difficult and very sought after in London in the 19th century. I must say the result is splendid. As for the writing style, I thought there was slowness and repetitions, and a good amount of Indian words are not explained, which doesn’t help the understanding. But I still was touched by the heroine and I had a good reading time.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Wren

    Ottilie Russell is a woman standing on the edge of two cultures. Her father is a British scientist. Her mother, a woman with an Indian mother and a father who is a British army officer. While the British culture in India reviles her, determining that her racial heritage means she is a sort of a loose woman (she is nothing of the sort), Ottilie lives a joyful life with her grandmother, her parents, and her many siblings. Life is wonderful in so many ways. Until tragedy strikes, and Ottilie is left Ottilie Russell is a woman standing on the edge of two cultures. Her father is a British scientist. Her mother, a woman with an Indian mother and a father who is a British army officer. While the British culture in India reviles her, determining that her racial heritage means she is a sort of a loose woman (she is nothing of the sort), Ottilie lives a joyful life with her grandmother, her parents, and her many siblings. Life is wonderful in so many ways. Until tragedy strikes, and Ottilie is left with only her grandmother, little brother Thaddeus, and their faithful family servant Dilip. The four struggle by as their only income is brought in by Ottilie's extraordinary embroidery using fine thread and beetle wings, beautifying women's attire. Their income is meager, but they are able to squeak by. One day, a British stranger, Everett Scott, comes to their neighborhood. He is seeking the new baron of Sutherland. Ottilie tells him that he is definitely in the wrong place...until she discovers that the new Lord Sutherland is Thaddeus. Scott has come to India to take Thaddeus to England, where he can assume his noble title. Ottilie adamantly refuses, until tragedy attacks their family once again. And then the siblings, and Scott, are on a boat headed to England. Thaddeus, who strongly resembles his father, is warmly accepted. Ottilie is not. She resembles her mother, and is most markedly not what the British define as "English." She faces discrimination, separation from her beloved brother, and the loss of the only Englishman she thinks she could love. But God and Ottilie are about to head out on a remarkable journey. Life is about to change for her again. Will she retain her faith and find love? This book is not to be missed. Author Kimberly Duffy captures the landscape of 1860s India, with its heat, spices, religious observances, and cultural battles with the British, with such vivid language you'll feel transported back through time. Ottilie adores her family and her work, yet fears the God she believes has taken so much from her. She faces her challenges and battles with great determination. Will she begin to trust the God who loves her; and will she find love on the cold landscape of Britain? Get yourself and copy and find out! I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Kimberly Duffy writes historical fiction that grabs her readers and makes them think. A Tapestry of Light is no exception to that. Most of the time I won't take the time to read the author's notes, because I am more interested in the story being told. This time I did take the time to read it and I find that Kimberly has opened up her inner self in the notes and put herself into the book. Ottilie is the orphaned daughter of a British scientist and an Indian woman, and she also is the guardian of Kimberly Duffy writes historical fiction that grabs her readers and makes them think. A Tapestry of Light is no exception to that. Most of the time I won't take the time to read the author's notes, because I am more interested in the story being told. This time I did take the time to read it and I find that Kimberly has opened up her inner self in the notes and put herself into the book. Ottilie is the orphaned daughter of a British scientist and an Indian woman, and she also is the guardian of her little brother, Thaddeus. Just a few short months after her mother dies, someone comes looking for her brother to take him back to England to inherit his title. Because of her parentage and her looks, she is not accepted in the English world or in the Indian world. The only place she feels she belongs is with her brother and her grandmother. Now this interloper named Everett has upset the calm order of Ottilie's world. When her grandmother dies from the sudden onset of cholera, Ottilie decides that she will go back to England with her brother because there is nothing left in India for her. When Ottilie finally arrives in England, she finds just how unaccepted she is in her own family's home. Because of her coloring and her resemblance to her mother, she is looked down upon as less than. When her father's mother and her aunt decide to send Thaddeus to school, she decides to go to London to be nearer to her brother and find work as an embroiderer for a modiste. Ottilie's talent lies in using beetle wings in her embroidery and it is becoming quite the rage in London. She is the only one with a source and the talent to use the wings. With the unrest among the races that is current in today's world, Kimberly has brought out the unrest that has been prevalent for generations. She has also brought out the struggle to make faith something personal and something worth pursuing. This is one of those books that won't be forgotten soon. The other thing Kimberly does and does well is her descriptive settings that come alive in the reader's mind. If books could share the sights and scents of a setting, this one certainly could. This is a five-star book with two thumbs up and a beautifully embroidered dress for your next ball. Bethany House and NetGalley.com provided the copy I read for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Lex

    I didn't want this to end, yet I couldn't wait to find out how it ended. It almost felt like The Henna Artist meets Pride and Prejudice. It's 1886 in Calcutta and Ottillie Russell, a young British-Indian woman has grown up never feeling like she belongs anywhere outside of her family. That family also seems to keep shrinking. Years ago she lost her father and two of her siblings to Cholera, and now she has lost her mother after she was trampled by a horse. Suddenly, Ottillie's beetle-wing embroi I didn't want this to end, yet I couldn't wait to find out how it ended. It almost felt like The Henna Artist meets Pride and Prejudice. It's 1886 in Calcutta and Ottillie Russell, a young British-Indian woman has grown up never feeling like she belongs anywhere outside of her family. That family also seems to keep shrinking. Years ago she lost her father and two of her siblings to Cholera, and now she has lost her mother after she was trampled by a horse. Suddenly, Ottillie's beetle-wing embroidery is the only income she has to support herself, her younger brother, Thaddeus, her grandmother, and their former servant, who has become like family. When Everett Scott appears out of the blue from England claiming that Thaddeus is a Baron and he has traveled to India on behalf of Ottillie's paternal grandmother to collect Thaddeus, Ottillie begins to learn that sometimes even the closest knit families have secrets. This was a beautifully written novel with a fascinating story. The setting is written so well, I almost had to remind myself that I've never been to India. What I loved the most about A Tapestry of Light was how deep Kimberly Duffy dived into the complexity of being born from both British and Indian heritage during the nineteenth century. Ottillie is a wonderful character and I wanted her to have the world, but, because of her heritage, it won't come easily. I knew very little about the historical setting of this book and the history of the relationship between Britain and India. I felt like I learned a lot while reading this, which, I suppose, is the point of historical fiction. As Ottillie learned and navigated her faith, I felt like I was on a journey with a real person as her warmth seemed to float off the page (well, I read this on a Kindle, but floating off the screen doesn't sound as good). Duffy's characters are just about as well written as her settings. I really enjoyed every single character and learning about their motivations. There wasn't a single main or supporting character who felt out of place or undeveloped to me. I loved this from cover to cover and am looking forward to reading Duffy's first novel, A Mosaic of Wings, and her novel that's being released later this year, Every Word Unsaid. I received a free eARC from NetGalley in exchange for the promise of an honest review.

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