Friday, November 9, 2007

A Tapestry of Hope by Tracie Peterson & Judith Miller

This is book 1 in the Lights of Lowell Trilogy. The Belles of Lowell is an earlier series set in the same community..... Lowell, Mass. These books focus a great deal on the Mill Industry in the mid to late 1800s and the workers there, especially the treatment of the Irish workers.

In Tapestry, we are given another perspective, that of the cotton grower and the Mill owners courtship of him as they seek to purchase their cotton. I really like how these authors portrayed slavery in the South.... and how they showed that while the north didn't haven't slavery, it had its own injustices. There can be no doubt that slavery was and is wrong, however, many in the north chose to turn a blind eye to it as long as it made them a profit and it stayed out of their own states.

In Tapestry, we once again see the unfair treatment of millworkers and we encounter indentured servants. While it is true, as one character points out, that indentured servants could eventually earn their freedom, for a time they were for all practical purposes slaves and often mistreated and abused.

Tapestry opens on a plantation in Lorman, Mississippi. I have to admit I got a kick out of this. I grew up in South Mississippi in an area know for tourism and its romanticism of the antebellum period. I have seen more than my share of plantation homes, slave quarters and belles in hoop skirts. My hometown is less than an hour from Lorman... I know it well. It is nothing like the Lorman found in this book. There is one plantation home there now... a Christmas tree farm (pines)... Alcorn State University.... and a building that until recently housed the Lorman General Store which was a combination store and museum (it was a wonderful treat!).

Tapestry centers around a business agreement between Mill liaison Bradley Houston and the Wainright plantations... as part of the bargain, Houston gets a wife... the young and very naive Jasmine Wainwright. Jasmine is an only girl who has rarely ventured from her family's home. She has an idealized view of not only the world unknown to here, but also her own world. Forced into a loveless marriage, Jasmine faces the task of growing up over night.

Jasmine's eyes are opened to much of the ugliness of the world and she has a choice to make... she can grow bitter or she grow closer to God. She chooses God.. eventually.

Tapestry is an interesting tale. A bit surreal at times to me. It is difficult to imagine women having no voice and being given in marriage against their will. I am looking forward to reading the other 2 books in this series very soon.


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