Thursday 24 February 2022

Book Review: The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield

I have always been fascinated with all types of history and The Embroidered book gave me a new insight into late 18th century Europe, plus wove some delicious magic in too! 


The Embroidered Book tells an intricate, magically woven story of two sisters who are sent to marry men they have never met for the good of alliances. Charlotte is sent to Naples and Antoine to France where she is renamed, Marie Antoinette. Although they have been stripped of their self-identity, they are not completely powerless as when they were younger, they discovered a book of spells that enabled them to do things that others couldn’t. 

This becomes very useful in the cut-throat world of politics and a woman’s place in the 18th century, even if you are Queen. However, every spell requires a sacrifice, be that a memory, a love for someone, or a lock of hair. As tensions rise, rivalry surfaces between the sisters, and a revolution begins.
Historical fiction and fantasy are my all-time favourite genres, so mix them together and I have book heaven. This was a brilliant reimagining of a wretched part of European history. The author clearly did a lot of research into this time period and I learnt quite a bit! The magic is so seamlessly woven into it, that I could almost believe it actually happened.

I love a character driven plot and The Embroidered Book delivered exactly that! Plus it was made all the more enjoyable by two female characters defying the constraints women of that time faced. This quote from the book sums it up perfectly: "Power is not something you are given. Power is something you take. When you are a woman, it is a little more difficult, that's all."

The only thing I found a bit of a struggle was the length of this book. At over 650 pages it is pretty intimidating and I think it could have been a little shorter in places. However, the overall story was fascinating and really well written so this hugely made up for it.

The Embroidered Book was a clever, insightful and magical read. I loved reading about two Queens of Europe, the dynamics of motherhood, sisterhood and female power.

The Embroidered Book is out now

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