For readers who love a heartwarming romance and a rich historical setting comes a tale of a young woman with a heavy burden, the International Cotton Exposition, and the pursuit of true love.
Eighteen-year-old Laurel Millard, youngest of seven children, is expected to stay home and "take care of Mama" by her older siblings, but Laurel has dreams of starting her own family. Operating a silk loom at the Atlanta Exposition will give her the chance to capture the heart of a man wealthy enough to take care of Laurel and any children she might bear, as well as her mother.
Langdon Rochester's parents have given him an ultimatum: settle down with a wife or lose his family inheritance. At the Exposition, Langdon meets Laurel. Marrying her would satisfy his parents's command, she would look lovely on his arm for social events, and in her besotted state, he believes she would overlook him continuing pursuing rowdy adventures with his unmarried buddies. Langdon decides to woo Laurel. Willie Sharp is not well-off and must take on an extra job at the Atlanta Exposition as a security guard. When mischief-makers cause trouble in the Women's Building, Willie is put in charge of keeping the building secure. He enjoys visiting with Laurel, who seems like the little sister he never had, but his feelings for Laurel change to something much deeper. Can Willie convince Laurel that he can give her better life--even with so little to offer?
Genre: Christian Historical Romance/Fiction
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Goodreads Rating: 4.47 Stars
Why I Chose This Book
I was kindly sent a copy of this book from the publisher. I absolutely adore Kim’s books. They always make me feel good and all fuzzy inside. They are good wholesome books.
First Initial Thoughts
Laurel is a 18 year old who’s family asks her to take care of her mother who is aging. I really felt bad for Laurel because her siblings were quite rude about the request. Specifically blaming her that because their mother had her late that she was responsible for taking care of their mother. Laurel and her mother are weavers and have a business where they make rugs. She gets a job as a weaver at the cotton exposition that is coming to Atlanta for the fall.
Willie is a factory worker barely scraping by taking care of his father who recently suffered a stroke. He can not talk and has motor issues. He then gets a job at the cotton exposition as a security guard- specifically because he needs the extra money for his father to go to Rehab.
Quincy is Willie’s best friend and an African American. He gets a job as a groundskeeper as well at the exposition. This book is taken place during 30 years after the Civil War. In the south tensions were still high between the whites and blacks. There were still strong opinions about the war and I liked that Kim pointed this out in the book.
Langdon is the son of the man who opened the cotton exposition. He is quite annoyed with his son for not having any aspirations. I didn’t really like him from the start. He just seemed to complain just about anything, especially having to actually work.
I have ever only been to Atlanta once and that was during Hurricane Michael a few years back. It was a short trip to the only hotel we could find that wasn’t booked that allowed pets so we could evacuate from the storm. We didn’t go out and see much - as it was still kind of rainy even in Atlanta from the storm.
The whole book was centered around Laurel’s home and the Cotton Exposition. Which I liked because we weren’t distracted by unnecessary scenes. I really found the exposition interesting. I kind of found it to be similar to an international fair where they had booths about different international cultures and food. I would definitely have fun going to such an event!
Willie and Laurel meet each other over the days of the exposition. I really enjoyed their interactions. Especially between Laurel and Quincy. Everyone gave Quincy such a hard time because of his race and Laurel never gave it a second thought.
Laurel of course fell for Langdon and his complete charm. He took her out on boat rides, picnics, and made her feel special and loved. However, Langdon got on my nerves real quick. He was quite the charmer and I couldn’t blame Laurel for falling for him. At that age, we are naive in relationships. He was just looking for a wife who could to submit to his needs which I found repulsive.
I liked that we got a perspective from each character in the story. I always like this in books because it’s nice to get a perspective from each character.
This book really reminded me of young love and learning mistakes in relationships. Leaning on God and trusting in him to let us learn from those mistakes. This book also touches on racial issues. Even though this book takes place 30 years after the Civil War we can still see racial issues today and how it impacts our community and society. It is still really sad how we treat people of color and other races - still to do this day.
Would I Recommend?
Yes! I definitely think this book has a unique synopsis and story from the other historical romance books I have read. Even though the story was slightly predictable, I enjoyed reading how the story played out.
Q&A with Kim Vogel Sawyer
Tell us about your new historical fiction novel, A Silken Thread.
This is a story about loyalty—to family, friends, and God. Each of the main characters face personal crises, and consequently they have important decisions to make that will impact the rest of their lives as well as the lives of people they care about. Of course, I always hope they will choose wisely!
The book centers on the International Cotton Exposition in 1895 Atlanta. With most of your novels taking place on the Kansas prairie, how and why did you decide on this setting?
I came across a large photograph of the expo in a museum in Atlanta, and it captured my interest. After reading some articles about the event, I knew I wanted to set a story there. There was no way I could include everything that happened during those three months of the expo in my story—it was like a small city/circus/amusement park sprang to life on the grounds. Sometimes I wish I had a time machine. I’d love to actually walk through the expo the way Laurel, Willie, Quincy, and Langdon did.
One of your characters is a black groundskeeper at the exposition who is the victim of others’ biases and acts of racism. Why did you choose to include this thread in the story?
Given the time period and the location, not including a thread about racism would have been historically inaccurate. More than that, racism is a subject that still needs to be addressed. You can tackle a tough subject in story form and allow the reader to see multiple points of view—something we can’t always do in real life because we’re only looking through our own eyes/experiences. When I write, I want to entertain, but I also want to edify. I hope the story will shed light on the inappropriateness of treating others unkindly simply because they are different from us.
Which scene did you most enjoy writing?
I think my favorite scene is between Quincy and Laurel near the end of the story, when both have made a startling discovery and realize how alike they are despite their external differences. A close second is the courtroom scene when a janitor named Ray Welch takes the stand. I named the character for a man in our church who graduated to heaven last year but had a fun sense of humor. He would have gotten such a kick out of being “in” the book.
What do you hope readers take away from A Silken Thread?
I hope readers will come away with a fresh awareness of the importance of treating people equally. I also hope they will be inspired by some of the characters’ dedication to friendship even in the face of conflict and potential loss.
You can purchase the book —-> HERE
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Note: I was sent a copy of this book from the publisher to review. All opinions are my own.