Fiction Debut: The Loom by Shella Gillus
by Shella Gillus
This book arrived in the mail as a surprise from the publisher. Although this is set in a time period I love to read about I had never heard of the book or the author and I'm happy to say I enjoyed it. The Loom is definitely not a romance but rather a story of a slave in the antebellum South trying to capture the one thing she wants the most--her freedom. Lydia (aka Caroline) is so light-skinned that she learns she can pass for white and in spite of being in love with a field hand at the Kelly plantation she runs away to a neighboring home where she captures the owner's eye.
The Loom definitely has an authentic to the period feel but the story itself is somewhat lacking. I didn't think it was feasible that a slave who had tried to escape before but was captured and beaten wouldn't be sought after by her owner and found almost immediately especially since she was still so close to home. I also thought that the reasoning behind why she left John who she was supposed to love without so much as a word were a bit selfish. However the story is still eye-opening concerning slavery and filled with lessons about deceit and its consequences as well as faith and love that make it a book to read.
Shella Gillus has a good thing going and The Loom is a fine debut. I really look forward to reading more from this author who definitely has the potential to write a five star book in my opinion.
*Note: The ARC of this story was apparently tweaked and looks like it varies from the final version of the book.*
About the book:
Caroline Whitfield lives in the world she dreamt of as a child. Married to Jackson, a plantation owner, in the quiet hills of 1835 Montgomery County, Maryland, she enjoys a simple life, until new slaves, seven-year-old Sadie and her father, arrive.
When Sadie’s daddy is taken from her, the young girl is forced to serve the master and mistress she holds responsible for her loss. With her grandmother, fellow slaves in the “Loom Room,” and a young man bent on obtaining his freedom, Sadie struggles to make sense of God’s will in the midst of pain.
But Caroline harbors a secret that could bring her world crashing down, and her love for Sadie, the daughter no one knows she had, threatens to tear it all apart. Meanwhile, Caroline draws closer to an old friend, an empathetic and dependable married man. Now she must douse the raging flames of a jealous husband and fight to keep her perfect world intact. The Loom is a colorful tale of three families linked by a lie and their discovery that the truth is not always black and white.
Visit the author's website HERE
*Thanks to the publisher for the complimentary ARC. I was under no obligation to provide a positive review.*