Reviewed by Mirella Sichirollo Patzer
Burning Silk is a story set in the 19th century France and America about the Duladier family known for the craft of spinning silk. For decades, their maitresses of women have raised the finest silk moths from cocoon to their mating and then death in order to spin the fine threads of silk. Catherine, the newest maitresse is sent to visit a perfumier who ultimately exploits her sexually and painfully, an experience that she has never forgiven or forgotten.
Later, the she moves to Bucks County, Pennsylvania with a family of her own to start the family business in the new world. Even though she has started a new life, she has never been able to forget the horrible sexual experience she had to endure. It is her fear and torment that continues to haunt her and her family.
Burning Silk is an erotic novel not for the faint of heart. The novel delves deep into the topics of sexuality and the journey into womanhood. It is a rich, complex story that is not to be rushed when reading it. Although not an easy read due to numerous point of view shifts and short sentences of introspection, it is a book worth persevering through. Many readers might find the sexual explicit rape scene in the first chapter a little difficult to read, but if readers continue past that point, they will discover a lovely, emotional story.
This is the first novel in a series about textiles. It was also nominated as a finalist in the International Book Awards.