The Girl Who Wrote in Silk

Posted 05/11/2017 by Brandy in 4 Star Reviews, Book Reviews, Reviews By Genre, Reviews by Rating, Reviews By Title, Women's Fiction / 0 Comments

The Girl Who Wrote in SilkThe Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes
Published by Sourcebooks Genres: Fiction, Asian American, Historical, Contemporary Women
Pages: 400
Format: Ebook
Source: Purchase
4 Stars

A USA Today Bestseller!
The smallest items can hold centuries of secrets...
Inara Erickson is exploring her deceased aunt's island estate when she finds an elaborately stitched piece of fabric hidden in the house. As she peels back layer upon layer of the secrets it holds, Inara's life becomes interwoven with that of Mei Lein, a young Chinese girl mysteriously driven from her home a century before. Through the stories Mei Lein tells in silk, Inara uncovers a tragic truth that will shake her family to its core — and force her to make an impossible choice.
Inspired by true events, Kelli Estes's brilliant and atmospheric debut serves as a poignant tale of two women determined to do the right thing, and the power of our own stories.
"A touching and tender story about discovering the past to bring peace to the present."— Duncan Jepson, author of All the Flowers in Shanghai

Had this book not been selected for the book club I belong to, I’m pretty sure I would have never found it but I am so glad I did because it provided a memorable reading experience. Two tales – one set in the last part of the 19th century, the other in present day – weave themselves together to tell a story of love, sacrifice, and family secrets while bringing to light a painful and woefully unknown time in American history. Author Kelli Estes has skillfully combined details of the history of the persecution of Chinese immigrants in the Pacific Northwest with a fictional story and created an intriguing, heartfelt story.

I, as well as all the members of my book club, had no idea of  this particular page in American history and though tragic and difficult to read, I feel thankful for having learned of it through this book.

I predict, emotions will be strong and plentiful for most readers as they work their way through the book. There is the raw pain of loss, the anger and repulsion that comes from reading about the appalling racism experienced by Mei Lien and her family, and the helplessness that surrounds everything. And then there are the feelings of hope that come from seeing Mei Lien’s strength, unending love, and determination to survive. I also felt a wave of disappointment that there was no character in the story – beyond her family – who offered Mei Lien a real moment of humanity.


“Mei Lien felt the steamship shudder beneath her feet and wondered if the quaking of her own body had caused it.”


I loved Mei Lien and Joseph’s love story and though tragic found it to be inspiring

As a mother, I connected with and greatly appreciated seeing Mei Lien’s love for her son and how it impacted the stroy

The inclusion and use of historical facts as truth and inspiration to the story was probably one of my favorite elements.



Inara’s character lacked the passion, emotion, and ability to draw me in the same way Mei Lien did.

I wasn’t as invested in Inara and Daniel’s relationship as I would have liked.

The modern day section tended to drag a bit and was less impactive for me than the sections featuring Mei Lien and her story.


Though it stumbled a few times in its narrative, The Girl Who Wrote in Silk was an excellent debut novel from an author with a strong voice and an ability to tell an intriguing story. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a unique blend of history and fiction, a heartwarming love story, and a memorable character who will stay with you long after you have read the final page.

Do you like books set in two different time periods?  What works or doesn’t work for you?

4 Stars
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