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Calcutta, 1886. Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women. When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Su Calcutta, 1886. Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women. When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie's English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home. But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn't forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.


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Calcutta, 1886. Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women. When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Su Calcutta, 1886. Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women. When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie's English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home. But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn't forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.

30 review for A Tapestry of Light

  1. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    3.5 stars India, 1885. Ottilie Russell and her brother Thaddeus have just lost a second parent. In order to support her family, Ottilie continues her mother’s work of embroidery. As the story begins, her mother’s recent passing puts a dark cloud over the story. Ottilie’s thoughts keep referring to her mother’s memory, which gives a melancholic atmosphere. Faith is a big part of this story and those who like books under Christian category will probably appreciate this story. The story is presented 3.5 stars India, 1885. Ottilie Russell and her brother Thaddeus have just lost a second parent. In order to support her family, Ottilie continues her mother’s work of embroidery. As the story begins, her mother’s recent passing puts a dark cloud over the story. Ottilie’s thoughts keep referring to her mother’s memory, which gives a melancholic atmosphere. Faith is a big part of this story and those who like books under Christian category will probably appreciate this story. The story is presented with beautiful prose, well-developed characters. It is rich in customs, touching upon English and Indian ways of life and having influence on each other. However, I wished there was a bit more to the plot to carry this story a bit faster. Source: ARC was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn Green

    A Tapestry of Light took me on a journey that began in vibrant, flavorful, cacophonous Calcutta in 1886, but it didn’t end there. This immersive experience explores, through the character of Otillie, the complexity of being both British and Indian, as well as the timeless dilemma of reconciling human suffering with a loving God. Duffy’s writing is beautiful, deep, and contemplative. Tragedy haunts the characters, but ultimately does not defeat them. Otillie’s spiritual journey is one of the most A Tapestry of Light took me on a journey that began in vibrant, flavorful, cacophonous Calcutta in 1886, but it didn’t end there. This immersive experience explores, through the character of Otillie, the complexity of being both British and Indian, as well as the timeless dilemma of reconciling human suffering with a loving God. Duffy’s writing is beautiful, deep, and contemplative. Tragedy haunts the characters, but ultimately does not defeat them. Otillie’s spiritual journey is one of the most authentic I’ve ever read. Recommended for historical fiction lovers who appreciate the honest examination of loss and healing.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rachel McMillan

    Read for Endorsement: A Tapestry of Light is an elegant treat for the senses threaded with delicate, thoughtful prose and lush locales. Both a treatise on faith and family as well as an exploration of belonging, readers will find themselves transported to Colonial-Era Calcutta thanks to Duffy's capable pen and inimitable passion for portraying India. Ottilie, our guide, is a strikingly memorable character balancing strength and sacrifice and certain to appeal to fans of Laura Frantz and Lori Bent Read for Endorsement: A Tapestry of Light is an elegant treat for the senses threaded with delicate, thoughtful prose and lush locales. Both a treatise on faith and family as well as an exploration of belonging, readers will find themselves transported to Colonial-Era Calcutta thanks to Duffy's capable pen and inimitable passion for portraying India. Ottilie, our guide, is a strikingly memorable character balancing strength and sacrifice and certain to appeal to fans of Laura Frantz and Lori Benton. Duffy's deep research and refreshing settings, not to mention, intelligent heroines are a wonderful addition to inspirational historical fiction and I cannot wait to see where she takes us next.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Heather Wood

    Some of my favorite things about A Mosaic of Wings, my previous read by this author, was the way she writes (in general), and her beautiful and respectful descriptions of colonized India. So those were the main things I was looking forward to in A Tapestry of Light. A Tapestry of Light had all the things I liked about Mosaic of Wings and none of the things I didn't. It was everything, better. We returned to late nineteenth century India, this time to Eurasian siblings, the children of a British f Some of my favorite things about A Mosaic of Wings, my previous read by this author, was the way she writes (in general), and her beautiful and respectful descriptions of colonized India. So those were the main things I was looking forward to in A Tapestry of Light. A Tapestry of Light had all the things I liked about Mosaic of Wings and none of the things I didn't. It was everything, better. We returned to late nineteenth century India, this time to Eurasian siblings, the children of a British father and a half-British, half-Indian mother. My heart was shredded walking with Ottillie through unfathomable loss of her family and control over her future, painful wrestling with her identity, and deep doubts about her faith. She has to navigate shame, regrets, and unforgiveness on both sides of her family tree and figure out what it all means to her now, and is able to participate in and observe hearts being softened all around. She willingly sacrifices her own future and happiness to serve those she loves, and she allows her own struggle with bitterness to drive her to the Scripture, where she discovers the same key to rebuilding her faith that her grandmother had years before. There was just so much that I loved about this book. I liked the main characters. I felt hopeless when they felt hopeless, but the author never left us in a pit of despair. It wasn't so depressing that I didn't want to pick the book back up; as the characters kept pressing toward the light, I was kept turning pages faster and faster. I think we were able to have more empathy with the "difficult characters" in this book than in Mosaic, and they actually softened in this story. I loved the complexity of all the relationships. Nothing was simple, nothing was cut and dried, and none of the characters were too hateful to love. The faith thread was strong and consistently a major theme throughout the book. It was very well done. I loved the friendships, I loved the family relationships, I loved the romance. I loved the storyline (I hadn't read the whole blurb before reading the book, so I didn't actually know what was going to happen.) This book was just a lot of everything and I loved it all. The one thing that dropped from a "love" to a "like okay" was that in some places, the description got in the way of the story. For the most part the scene setting was terrific, but in a couple of places, I was so desperate to know what was going to happen, that I lost patience with it. I'm sure the author intended us to slow down in those places, but I rebelled. I would be happy to be in a book discussion about this book, and recommend it to book clubs and lovers of historical fiction. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley and the publisher, but I was not required to leave a positive review. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated in any way.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Monique

    A Tapestry of Light is the second novel of Kimberly Duffy and I’m glad to say my prediction that she will be the next big name in Christian Fiction is still standing strong. But first, let me tell you a bit what it’s about. The story starts in India, where Ottilie lives with her grandmother and younger brother. She has already had her fair share of loss, and is grieving for her mother who recently passed. Funds are low, and she turns to her family’s tradition of beetle wing embroidery (featured A Tapestry of Light is the second novel of Kimberly Duffy and I’m glad to say my prediction that she will be the next big name in Christian Fiction is still standing strong. But first, let me tell you a bit what it’s about. The story starts in India, where Ottilie lives with her grandmother and younger brother. She has already had her fair share of loss, and is grieving for her mother who recently passed. Funds are low, and she turns to her family’s tradition of beetle wing embroidery (featured on this beautiful cover!) when a man arrives who wants to take her brother to England, where he is in line for a title. Thaddeus can pass as white, where Otillie looks very Indian like her mother, and this brings a clash of cultures as she’s not sure where she belongs. Will she find a place where she is truly loved? I absolutely loved A Mosaic of Wings with the focus more on romance, I can appreciate this book even more, I feel like the author bared her soul in this one. Otillie is doubting her faith, she wants to believe but with all the grief and hardship she’s had, it’s very hard to do that, understandably. This is a theme that struck home with me, I struggle a lot too and to see it reflected in fiction and to make her see her choice to stubbornly believe despite it all made me feel less alone. Okay, I guess I wanted to start with deep thoughts. The story itself is very rich and layered, and I now want to visit India. I loved reading more about the culture! The writing is well done, though I do think there are some pacing issues, it took a while for the story to really go somewhere, and then it rushes a bit toward the end. But I don’t mind that really as I wasn’t bored at all. I loved the developing friendship between her and the man that wants to take her brother away to England. There are also a strong female friendships which I love to see in books. I also liked that racism was addressed, as Otillie is too white to fit in with native Indians, and too Indian too fit in with white people, which made that she experienced racism a lot. I think the author shows this very well, she does not spell it out, but it’s always there in the background. The story itself was quite heavy as there is so much grief throughout the entire book and the hardships are many, but I love stories that have depth in them and I could handle it. But if you yourself are grieving, you might want to avoid this book. There is plenty of other stuff too, forgiveness, family secrets, embroidery (yay!), sibling love and wise grandmother words, and of course a bit of romance. Despite the pacing issues, every scene feels important and necessary to the story, and is filled to the brim, so much has happened! And I can’t even talk about it as that is spoilery... All in all, I loved A Tapestry of Light and I think it’s quite unique in this genre. I received a free e-copy of this book through Netgalley but it hasn’t influenced my opinion.

  6. 4 out of 5

    MJSH

    "I wonder if it has been smothered beneath my bitterness and unforgiveness. That's a greater threat to Christian faith than a million other gods. There is no room for it. And if you allow it in, it burns away the blood of Christ as surely as flesh is burned on a funeral pyre." This is my first book by Kimberly Duffy and I am astounded by her ability to deftly transport the reader to the late 1880s Calcutta with its beauty and poverty, its sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. Learning about a cer "I wonder if it has been smothered beneath my bitterness and unforgiveness. That's a greater threat to Christian faith than a million other gods. There is no room for it. And if you allow it in, it burns away the blood of Christ as surely as flesh is burned on a funeral pyre." This is my first book by Kimberly Duffy and I am astounded by her ability to deftly transport the reader to the late 1880s Calcutta with its beauty and poverty, its sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. Learning about a certain type of Indian embroidery was fascinating. For the first half of the book, I was enthralled by the Indian city that Ottilie and her brother Thaddeus called home and felt the heartache and tension between the British and Indian during this tumultuous time. There has been much suffering, loss, and pain in their lives which is compounded by their mixed heritage. The story is told strictly from Ottilie's point of view in the third person. Though this allowed the reader to really engage in empathizing with the main character's innate and unshakable sense of rejection, bitterness, anger, and loneliness, Ottilie's thoughts and feelings became somewhat repetitive over time because she was the only narrator. Ottilie is a remarkable young woman - talented, compassionate, loyal, hard-working, dedicated, self-sacrificial. But she is also quite stubborn, impulsive, and sometimes blind to her own faults and flaws. She does mature as the story progresses - in character and in faith - which was nice to see. Her past loss and grief, as well as the prejudice and unwarranted hatred she receives from both the British and Indian, are hard to read about but unfortunately quite realistic and heart-wrenching. The author also places the plight of overworked and abused London seamstresses into the plot, which was eye-opening. Although this is a historical fiction with fantastic setting, it is really a young woman's spiritual journey. Ottilie's hardships and doubts push her so close to the edge of breaking and it takes her a long time, many people speaking into her life, and a trip across the world to release the tight hold she has on bitterness, anger, blame and unforgiveness. It is a relatively long book and the plot seemed to lose a bit of momentum in places, especially during their days in England. There is romance in the book, in the line of star-crossed lovers, but the resolution of the romance and the ending seemed rushed and too coincidental. Nevertheless, it is a well-written book with raw and powerful emotions, great spiritual lessons, and beautiful historical setting woven throughout the story and any historical fiction fan will enjoy it. I received the book via Celebrate Lit Tours and was under no obligation to post a positive comment. All opinions are solely my own.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Faye

    Well written, with lush descriptions that bring to life in vivid detail the two cultures that Ottilie is torn between. After the death of her mother, Ottilie struggles to support her grandmother and brother with her beetle-wing embroidery, but when news comes from across the waters that her brother is heir to a title she makes the difficult decision to move with Thaddeus to England, knowing that her Eurasian blood will make her even more of an outcast there than in India. This book does a great Well written, with lush descriptions that bring to life in vivid detail the two cultures that Ottilie is torn between. After the death of her mother, Ottilie struggles to support her grandmother and brother with her beetle-wing embroidery, but when news comes from across the waters that her brother is heir to a title she makes the difficult decision to move with Thaddeus to England, knowing that her Eurasian blood will make her even more of an outcast there than in India. This book does a great job of showing rather than telling with regard to the characters, their interaction, and relationships. And while this book has a more steady pace, I think that each scene did its part to progress the plot. I love learning about the different cultures as well as the history, and the beautiful art of the beetle wing embellishments. Ottilie is a woman who has faced much loss, but loves her brother fiercely. I admired her for bravely moving to another country, knowing that it would be especially difficult for herself. I also really liked her faith arc, and how serious seeking doubt was portrayed. I also enjoyed the complex depth of many of the other characters, like Alberta and Everett who are burdened by the conventions of society. Overall, this was a well done and enjoyable read, well researched, with layered characters and a steady pace. I also think that this book did an excellent job of feeling authentic to the time period in the manners, culture, and characters, perfect for fans of classic Masterpiece Theatre. Well worth the read! I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  8. 5 out of 5

    R.j.

    Excuse me while I gush a bit. Oh my. I was not prepared for this story to hit me like a ton of bricks. I had heard great things about this author, so when I had the chance to read one of her books, I took it. But wow. I was ready for a nice story of a girl leaving her home in India to live in England. And of course fall in love. Because it has to happen in these stories, right? But what I got was so much better, deeper, so much MORE than that. As someone who often struggles with feelings of isol Excuse me while I gush a bit. Oh my. I was not prepared for this story to hit me like a ton of bricks. I had heard great things about this author, so when I had the chance to read one of her books, I took it. But wow. I was ready for a nice story of a girl leaving her home in India to live in England. And of course fall in love. Because it has to happen in these stories, right? But what I got was so much better, deeper, so much MORE than that. As someone who often struggles with feelings of isolation, I found the main character‘s struggles to speak to me. I could so easily identify that feeling. And the faith element blew me away. The author is to be highly recommended for her adept weaving of a faith element. It could have been preachy or fake. It was so honest and raw and real I was almost in tears. This book will be on my list of best books of the year. And probably all time. It was so good. Buy this book. I know I will buying it for my friends. I did receive a copy of this book to facilitate a review. All opinions are my own and I was not required to leave a review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lu

    A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy is a heart-wrenching story of loss, prejudice, and fortitude. Ottilie was born in India to an Anglo-Indian mother and an English father. Looking like an Indian but educated within the English community, Ottilie lived amidst two different cultures, not being accepted by either. The story is so sorrowful. My heart went to Ottilie and her endless string of losses and all the pain it brought her. The blatant prejudice she was subjected to was heart-breaking. She im A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy is a heart-wrenching story of loss, prejudice, and fortitude. Ottilie was born in India to an Anglo-Indian mother and an English father. Looking like an Indian but educated within the English community, Ottilie lived amidst two different cultures, not being accepted by either. The story is so sorrowful. My heart went to Ottilie and her endless string of losses and all the pain it brought her. The blatant prejudice she was subjected to was heart-breaking. She immigrated to England with her brother, and matters became even worse when not even her own family members fully accepted her. The characters were layered and flawed. Ottilie's strength and courage despite all her misfortunes were very inspiring. She was always kind and understanding of her family and friend's many weaknesses. There was a strong faith element throughout the story. Ottilie's faith was repeatedly tested, and she did not hide from her doubts. There was a little romance in the story's background, although I must confess I resented the hero too much to rejoice in their HEA. I loved to learn about an embroidering technique that uses iridescent beetle wing cases. I checked online, and they have a lovely blue hue. I could imagine how stunning Ottilie's creations would have been. A Tapestry of Light is a moving story to read with a box of tissues at hand. Disclosure: I received an ARC of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. *For more reviews, book art, and book-related articles, please visit https://lureviewsbooks.com *

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kelly-Ann ~ Sassy Bookish Mama

    I have been wanting to read a book by Kimberly Duff ever since she released Mosaic of Wings. (I have the book in my extremely long TBR pile!) I was so happy to be able to review this book. This story is filled with SO much! The author does an incredible job at drawing you in with her descriptive words. She paints such a beautiful picture with words and makes you feel like you are in the different locations this story takes place in. The story is jam-packed with so much emotion. It encompasses bi I have been wanting to read a book by Kimberly Duff ever since she released Mosaic of Wings. (I have the book in my extremely long TBR pile!) I was so happy to be able to review this book. This story is filled with SO much! The author does an incredible job at drawing you in with her descriptive words. She paints such a beautiful picture with words and makes you feel like you are in the different locations this story takes place in. The story is jam-packed with so much emotion. It encompasses big feelings such as loss, pain, rejection and feelings of loneliness. I'm not going to lie, tears were shed and the tissue box got put to use as I went through Ottilie's journey. Despite all of that what I loved most is how her faith in God grew and was made stronger throughout the story. Although there was some romance in the book. I honestly think the story could of been just about Ottilie and it would have been just as good. I didn't want to give too much of the story away because you should really take the time to read it. Just be mindful that it is emotional and you may need some tissues handy. I can't wait to see what else Ms. Duffy writes in the near future! I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to post a positive review. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Dean

    Last year I read Mosaic of Wings and was blown away by the beautiful writing style of Ms Duffy. I felt the same way reading A Tapestry of Light. The author writes in such a wonderful, descriptive way that draws you in and makes you see and feel everything the characters do. This story is about loss, pain, loneliness and rejection. It broke my heart reading what Ottilie was going through. But there is also hope. Thadeus, who had also experienced loss and rejection, offers a friendship to Ottilie Last year I read Mosaic of Wings and was blown away by the beautiful writing style of Ms Duffy. I felt the same way reading A Tapestry of Light. The author writes in such a wonderful, descriptive way that draws you in and makes you see and feel everything the characters do. This story is about loss, pain, loneliness and rejection. It broke my heart reading what Ottilie was going through. But there is also hope. Thadeus, who had also experienced loss and rejection, offers a friendship to Ottilie that she hasn't had before. I loved Ottilie's grandmother and the words of wisdom she gave to her. It was wonderful seeing these truths begin to help Ottilie grow stronger as a person and also spiritually. I absolutely loved this book and highly recommend it! I am already looking forward to more books by this author. **I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the publisher and Netgalley. All opinions expressed are my own.**

  12. 5 out of 5

    Connie Carpenter

    A Tapestry of Light By: Kimberly Duffy is Historical Fiction book. This is the first book that I have read by this author and I enjoyed it very much. I am a history nerd and I have a masters in military history. I have NOT ever read a book that was based in India during 1885. I do not know a lot about the culture or this time period. I learned a lot from the author. The author did careful research to make this feel as real as possible. In this story we meet Ottilie. She is trapped between two cu A Tapestry of Light By: Kimberly Duffy is Historical Fiction book. This is the first book that I have read by this author and I enjoyed it very much. I am a history nerd and I have a masters in military history. I have NOT ever read a book that was based in India during 1885. I do not know a lot about the culture or this time period. I learned a lot from the author. The author did careful research to make this feel as real as possible. In this story we meet Ottilie. She is trapped between two cultures. She does not feel like she belongs to either of them. Ottilie and her brother Thaddeus have just lost their second parent. Ottilie knows that she still has to support her family - so she continues her mother's beetle wing embroidery business. I felt bad for Ottilie - the loss of her parent - the struggle of being caught in two cultures where you don't feel like you belong. Ottilie looks Indian like her mother, while Thaddeus can pass for white. There is also a family secret that threatens to bring shame to the family. I love the way that the author wrote her characters. When they felt sad, that oozed off the pages. You felt their emotions. The author has also done a great job weaving faith into the story. Ottilie was faced with a lot - and she surely felt like she was losing her faith in God. Special thanks to the author and the publisher for allowing me to read a copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

  13. 5 out of 5

    KES

    Yes - read it. It's another beautiful read by Kimberly Duffy. The visuals of India that your mind imagines while reading are just wonderful. If you enjoy the imagery part of reading, this is most definitely a read for you. I happen to be intrigued by India especially during the raj so I enjoyed it immensely. It is a HEA ending but it takes a while, and in my case tears, to get there. I actually felt the ending was rushed. I could have handled a few more chapters. I received an ARC from Netgalley a Yes - read it. It's another beautiful read by Kimberly Duffy. The visuals of India that your mind imagines while reading are just wonderful. If you enjoy the imagery part of reading, this is most definitely a read for you. I happen to be intrigued by India especially during the raj so I enjoyed it immensely. It is a HEA ending but it takes a while, and in my case tears, to get there. I actually felt the ending was rushed. I could have handled a few more chapters. I received an ARC from Netgalley and Bethany House Publishers to prepare for my honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lindsey

    This novel was exquisite in its attention to detail – not in a monotonous or droning way – but in the essence of how the author captured the senses in every paragraph. With some well-crafted wording, we’re transported from 2021 into a time and place far from home. I don’t generally read about the British colonization of India, for no other reason than it just hasn’t struck my fancy. Duffy has changed that for me by bridging the two worlds of British society and Indian culture and highlighting th This novel was exquisite in its attention to detail – not in a monotonous or droning way – but in the essence of how the author captured the senses in every paragraph. With some well-crafted wording, we’re transported from 2021 into a time and place far from home. I don’t generally read about the British colonization of India, for no other reason than it just hasn’t struck my fancy. Duffy has changed that for me by bridging the two worlds of British society and Indian culture and highlighting the plight of a people caught in the middle. My heart broke for the injustice of this novel and the theme of searching for home – the longing for acceptance, love, and belonging. Even as the author struck a chord with her tale, did she do justice in a book whose very core message highlights difficulties due to one’s family tree or the people group they belong to? I think Duffy told Ottilie’s story well. She also created an awareness that prods me to dig deeper into learning about the history of Anglo-Indians – to hear their stories and to learn. Overall, this was a moving page-turner of a tale. It brought me to tears, to frustration, to empathy. It didn’t coat over messy moments. It made me want to dig deeper, and that’s not something that every piece of fiction can do. It was an engaging work of fiction with notes of bittersweet honesty. Thankfully, it wasn’t just darkness and uncertainty, struggle and loss, but also a richly captivating beacon of beauty, hope, and welcome. My thanks to the publisher for the complimentary copy via NetGalley. Opinions expressed are my own and excerpts from a full review on my personal blog: www.lifelovelaughterlinds.ca

  15. 4 out of 5

    Anne

    A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy Back of the Book: “Calcutta, 1886. Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women. When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ot A Tapestry of Light by Kimberly Duffy Back of the Book: “Calcutta, 1886. Ottilie Russell is adrift between two cultures, British and Indian, belonging to both and neither. In order to support her little brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother, she relies upon her skills in beetle-wing embroidery that have been passed down to her through generations of Indian women. When a stranger appears with the news that Thaddeus is now Baron Sunderson and must travel to England to take his place as a nobleman, Ottilie is shattered by the secrets that come to light. Despite her growing friendship with Everett Scott, friend to Ottilie's English grandmother and aunt, she refuses to give up her brother. Then tragedy strikes, and she is forced to make a decision that will take Thaddeus far from death and herself far from home. But betrayal and loss lurk in England, too, and soon Ottilie must fight to ensure Thaddeus doesn't forget who he is, as well as find a way to stitch a place for herself in this foreign land.” Impressions: I’m about to be really honest and admit my world-based knowledge is pretty pathetic. My understanding and history of other countries is slim. One special thing about fiction is that it catches your attention with something you find enjoyable and then piques your curiosity for the non-fiction as you read bits of truths. I always enjoy the authors spill-all at the end of the book on its real and fictionized bits and pieces. This book was no different. That being said I love learning as an adult and seek to know more. In this book specifically, I enjoyed learning about the relations of India and Britain in the past. Rated: Discussed massacre, racism Liked: I enjoyed learning new things about the Indian and British cultures. I also enjoyed learning about the elytra embroidery. This was new to me and deemed Google worthy which side barred me from reading for a bit to observe this beautiful art. Without a picture, the idea of any kind of bug on my person was a little off-putting. The elytra embroidery however is unique and held no resemblance to my idea of bug art😊 Disliked: I won’t lie the I was not a fan of the romance in this novel. I felt burned by Ottilie’s rejection to British society and wasn’t able to fully fall in love with her love story. Ottilie had a tragic past and was not delicate but strong. As strong as she was, she was also vibrant with emotion and love for her family and culture. As she gets lost in work at the end, I struggled to make the transition of her life with her extended family. I feel like that transition would have been messier than the book allowed. Alas, it is just a book. Of course, it needs an ending. I just never like endings. It’s a personal problem I assure you. Quotes: “’ You’re looking at things the wrong way. You only see what God has taken…But not what he has given…You are so talented, stitching art out of beetle parts. Creating beauty from the ordinary. But even you wouldn’t appreciate your work if you only saw it in reverse.’” -It is hard to be patient as God works in our lives. Sometimes it is downright ugly. Jeremiah 29:11 tells us to keep hope as God's plans are good even when life is messy. “It was the only place in the city that enfolded God’s children into an embrace that left little room for bigotry and arrogance.” – Can you guess where Ottilie is referring to? A church. Would you say this is true of churches today? Do you feel there are open arms welcoming you into the church, void of bigotry and arrogance? Why or why not? “’ I know it’s no comfort, but I’ve seen how suffering can produce good character. It makes people resilient. Compassionate toward others. The things they accomplish are made more beautiful because of the strength it took to persevere.’” – I just loved this quote. It is so true how God works through hardships in our lives. “’ It’s not as though we have a say in the tragedy we endure. It happens and we grow. Or it happens and we wither.’” – With God, we have the courage to look forward and grow from tragedy. Without him, we are hopeless and wither, or I would add bitter and jaded. “…Home was never supposed to be a place. It is the people.” -Yep! “As romantic as going back in time sounds, I’m grateful we only have to log on to a computer to open the pages of a book to experience life and culture in different places and ages.” – Kimberly Duffy writes this at the end of the book and I couldn’t agree more! I received a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review shared here.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Paty

    Ottilie Russell longs for belonging. Being part of two greatly different cultures she has never fell more alone in her life after her mother dies. Having recently lost her father, and her sister and brother, her only remaining family is her grandmother and her loving little brother Thaddeus. Her mother being Eurasian (half british and half Indian), and her father british, Ottilie takes after her mother, with darker skin and hair, while her brother Thaddeus takes after her father, or maybe her ma Ottilie Russell longs for belonging. Being part of two greatly different cultures she has never fell more alone in her life after her mother dies. Having recently lost her father, and her sister and brother, her only remaining family is her grandmother and her loving little brother Thaddeus. Her mother being Eurasian (half british and half Indian), and her father british, Ottilie takes after her mother, with darker skin and hair, while her brother Thaddeus takes after her father, or maybe her maternal grandfather, who’s British (whom she rejects because he left her grandmother and mother for another woman), while her grandmother is Indian. Even in India, Ottilie is already used to rejection because of her appearance. Being the head of her now small family, Ottilie has to support them with work, so she immerses full time in the beetle wings artful embroidery of gowns, shoes and accessories, an exotic style that her mother taught her. She’s very gifted, but the situation in Calcutta is difficult and she struggles to makes ends meet. Then, an unexpected visit changes her already fragile world upside down. Everett Scott arrives from England, a friend from her father’s family in England, claiming young Thaddeus is the new Baron of Hazelbrook Manor, Lord Sunderson, being the only male heir left in the family line. But Ottilie is determined not to let her brother go, until a tragedy strikes, and she finds herself more lost than ever, but willing to sacrifice for her brother’s inheritance and heritage. But will she also be a part of her father’s family or will she continue to experience rejection because of her race? What other family secrets will she uncover? She has forged a deep friendship with Everett, but how can she continue to have him in her life if he’s planning to marry a british woman of means? This story was truly amazing, I have no words! The author has such a talent for storytelling and for describing in such a vivid and enchanting way the cultural customs, the scenery and particular setting -Calcutta, India and Wiltshire, England-, that I felt transported in time! I have to see I visited India many years ago -not Calcutta- and that helped me imagine everything with more intensity and detail. But I’m sure I’m not partial about this novel, it’s a true gem. Her writing style is almost poetic, it just flawed so naturally, that I felt I was really part of the character’s plights. I felt very related to Ottilie, although I have never gone through such tragic or difficult situations. But her struggle in trusting God that everything that happens is for a better good and that He’s always supporting us, is something I relate with, and I loved Ottilie’s journey to faith and trust in God. It was humbling, because she had so many reasons to be untrustful, but God always provides a way for us to discover He is in charge and will never forsake us. I also loved reading at the end how much of a personal story from the author is inside. It was humbling too for her to share that, and I admired her more for it. The secondary characters are loveable too (some have some growing to do though). Everett was a true gentleman, even if he had to overcome his own fears and insecurities and desire to belong too; his heart was so compassionate, and his story was heart-wrenching too. Thaddeus was plainly adorable, and Nani was one of my favorite characters with her wisdom and affection. Damaris and Penny were the loyalest of friends and sweetened Ottilie's struggling journey. Thank you Mrs. Duffy for an epic journey of faith, forgiveness and redemption! So many things to learn, and through a touching and beautiful story that will bring tears to your eyes, but smiles as well. The romance wasn’t the main focus of the story but it was still sweet and heart tugging. I can’t recommend this book highly enough! It made a positive spiritual impact on me!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Goshorn

    What. A. Book! I was completely enchanted by A Tapestry of Light. Duffy does an excellent job bringing the sights and sounds of colonial India to life. Through crowded streets, lush gardens, and the scent of Indian spices, I was transported to another world. Beautifully woven with a sprinkle of Hindi words and customs, we see 19th century India through, Duffy's heroine, Ottilie Russell, a young woman of Eurasian (Indian & British) descent. Ottilie is carrying the weight of the world on her shoul What. A. Book! I was completely enchanted by A Tapestry of Light. Duffy does an excellent job bringing the sights and sounds of colonial India to life. Through crowded streets, lush gardens, and the scent of Indian spices, I was transported to another world. Beautifully woven with a sprinkle of Hindi words and customs, we see 19th century India through, Duffy's heroine, Ottilie Russell, a young woman of Eurasian (Indian & British) descent. Ottilie is carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders. As her story begins, she is swept up in a tragedy that brings the vivid memories of losing her father and two sisters to cholera years earlier. Ottilie relies on her talent to embroider with iridescent beetle wings to support her family. Apparently this was a fashion craze in the 1800s and I'd never heard of it, so I looked it up. As you can see, It's just lovely. I've had no idea those were the casings for beetle wings, would you? Ottlie is guarded and fiercely protective of her only two remaining family members, her younger brother, Thaddeus, and her grandmother. While this may shy some readers away, I urge you to read on. Who hasn't suffered in this world? Who hasn't wondered where God is when the circumstances of their life overwhelm them? If our faith is so fragile that we cannot voice our doubts in our grief or despair and come out stronger on the other side, like Ottilie, I would question how strong it was in the first place. Just like in her debut, A Mosaic of Wings, Duffy has once again created characters that leapt off the page into my heart. The story is told through Ottilie's perspective, yet the entire cast of secondary characters were well thought out and developed. They were my friends and I was sorry to part with them when the story ended. Even the antagonists recognized their flawed thinking and seek forgiveness by novel's end. But it was Everett Scott, Ottilie's friend and eventual romantic interest, that took my heart by storm. Everett is a kind, honorable man, with a strong faith, who never looks down on Ottilie because she is of Eurasian heritage. As feelings grow between them, Everett is torn between the woman he loves and the responsibility he feels to carry on his father's business and make him proud, thus redeeming himself from the sordid details of his own ancestry. But in order to do that, he needs a proper British wife, the kind that can open the right doors for him. Despite the fact I wanted to shake him at times for putting societal expectations above his growing feelings for Ottilie, Everett is one of my favorite heroes of the year. This flaw only made him more realistic, not only as a man of his era, but as a human being who needed to grow and be stretched. Seeing Everett open his heart to God, to allow God to prune him, and him being willing to let go of what he thought he'd always wanted, made Everett's journey all the more satisfying. And Duffy doesn't shy away from tough topics like prejudice and racism. As a white woman living in one of America's most affluent counties, I really appreciated the opportunity to see the world through Ottilie's eyes. Although both her and her brother are Eurasian, Duffy shows the disparity between the way people treated her because she looked Indian where as Thaddeus looked British (white). She never felt fully accepted by either culture in India, but when she arrived in Britain, she felt alone and alienated in her own home, while her brother was touted as the next heir of Hazelbrook Manor. Her search for belonging, to be accepted for who she was, not what she appeared to be, is a theme I find especially relevant for today's historical fiction reader. I was given a copy of this book by the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Marta ( Just Ordinary Bookshelf )

    3.5/5 Calcutta, 1886 - Ottilie Russel's life is once again upturned after the sudden death of her mother. Born from the English father and Anglo-Indian mother, she feels lost between two cultures and rejected by both Indians and British, and her distinctly Indian looks don’t make it easier for her to be accepted. Amidst her worries about the family’s, especially her young brother’s, survival she receives the news that once again reveal the long hidden family secrets. Her six years old brother is 3.5/5 Calcutta, 1886 - Ottilie Russel's life is once again upturned after the sudden death of her mother. Born from the English father and Anglo-Indian mother, she feels lost between two cultures and rejected by both Indians and British, and her distinctly Indian looks don’t make it easier for her to be accepted. Amidst her worries about the family’s, especially her young brother’s, survival she receives the news that once again reveal the long hidden family secrets. Her six years old brother is the new heir to the baronetcy and the stranger who brought the news wants him to come to England and assume the title. When the fatal disease that already cost them most of their family strikes again, Ottilie makes a decision to leave everything she knows and loves and sets out for the unknown country her father have long forsaken. In cold and unwelcoming England she’ll have to learn to rely on her faith and to trust those around her with her heart if she wants the chance for the better life. This was very emotional and enlightening story. It took me on a journey I wouldn’t neccessary choose to take if haven’t spotted this book on NetGalley and I’m better for reading it. I loved the descriptions of India and all the details about the way of life and people who lived there in 19th century. I appreciate how researched and respectful this story was. Even though I’m not religious ( my relationship with religion is complicated one ) I appreciated the parts where Ottilie struggled with her faith and I was not at all surprised to read author’s note on them being her personal struggles, because it really did feel personal and honest. There are several reasons why I didn’t rate this book higher even though I enjoyed the story. The first one is that I feel like at least first 50%, or even more, of this book could’ve been told in the first 25-30%. It just felt dragged out and the pacing felt off. That leads me to another reason and that is repetitiveness. Some things were repeated more than enough times and I was thinking – okay, we know that already, lets move on. A lot of the plot was sacrificed to the main characters introspectiveness, and that’s okay in certain measure but I felt like there was too much of it in the first part of the book and it took me some time to get into the story. There were also some inconsistencies in writing, namely in Ottilie’s feelings, such as when she at certain moments decides that she’s doing something for herself, then few pages later she says she’s doing it for Thaddeus. I also think that too many issues and subplots were introduced and then not developed properly and resolved too quickly – for example the part about colonel or the seamstresses. The less is more and all that. The story would’ve benefited from less subplots, less Ottilie’s repetitive doubts and more character development. I felt like the only character that got some development was Ottilie and even she took such a long time that I felt very frustrated with her. I wished for maybe Everett’s point of view, so that we could understand him better and experience the story from his side, or any other of the characters that take larger part in the story. Nevertheless, this was very interesting and, in the end, enjoyable read, despite my complaints. The author is talented and I will follow her work in the future. Her descriptions, both of places and emotions, are beautiful and made up for my frustration with some other parts of the book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Meagan Myhren-Bennett

    A Tapestry of Light By Kimberly Duffy Ottilie Russell is caught between two worlds accepted by neither and rejected by both. Her mixed heritage is held in contempt and viewed with suspicion - the British reject her due to her clearly Indian heritage and the Indians disdaining her British ties as a betrayal of who she could have been. She is clearly Indian but too British to be accepted by those she calls neighbors. She has lost the joy and peace that life once offered. Losing her parents, brother, A Tapestry of Light By Kimberly Duffy Ottilie Russell is caught between two worlds accepted by neither and rejected by both. Her mixed heritage is held in contempt and viewed with suspicion - the British reject her due to her clearly Indian heritage and the Indians disdaining her British ties as a betrayal of who she could have been. She is clearly Indian but too British to be accepted by those she calls neighbors. She has lost the joy and peace that life once offered. Losing her parents, brother, and sister has left her in fear and doubt. Fear that she will lose what little family she has left and in doubt that God is indeed loving and concerned for her. Using her skills as a beetle-wing embroiderer she manages to eke out a living that provides for the barest needs of her little brother Thaddeus and her grandmother. But life is anything but easy as she pushes herself to fulfill the work in the attempt to gain more. But she is adrift - when Everett Scott shows up claiming that he has been sent to bring Thaddeus back to England. But Ottilie cannot give up her brother her last reminder of her parents and their love. But Thaddeus has inherited a title and though he is only 6 he has a duty to fulfill. In the process of trying to convince Ottilie that Thaddeus's life will vastly improve if he is permitted to leave, Everett and Ottilie form a friendship of sorts. A friendship that has the potential becoming something more. When yet another tragedy strikes Ottilie agrees to Thaddeus's removal from India on the condition that she goes with him. As Ottilie faces the prospect of a new world so different from the one she's always known she finds herself adrift. The family that she prayed would accept her is shocked at her foreign appearance and ways. She is expected to reject the ties that bind her to England so as to not upset societal expectations and ruin her brother's future. Worse she faces betrayal once again from a man in whom she has placed her truth. Can she ever find a place to belong and find the answers she so desperately seeks? A Tapestry of Light is a journey of faith and discovery. Who is God? Throughout Ottilie and various other characters find themselves in doubt as to who God truly is and what role, if any, His plays in their life? Is He loving? A cruel tyrant? An indifferent deity who demands everything? These are the answers that drive the story as much as the prejudices that drive Ottilie to make choices that set her life on an altogether different path she never anticipated following. These are truths that all readers can take to heart as something to ponder. This book takes the reader on a journey through heartbreak, sorrow, desolation, and joy. It is also a look at the world under British rule and it is disheartening that the prejudices that were are still such a very real part of life today. Ethnic and class snobbery is not unique to any particular era or people and yet it is equally painful and destructive. Kimberly Duffy brings Ottilie Russell life with all her complexities, fears, hopes, and dreams. This is the first work of Kimberly Duffy that I have had the pleasure of reading and I can assure you that it will not be the last and I highly recommend her work if you are looking for something that entertains while providing a multifaceted depth. I was provided a complimentary copy with no expectations but that I provide my honest opinion. All thoughts expressed are my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mimi

    I was absolutely blown away by A Tapestry of Light. As I was reading through it, I was trying to think of whose writing Kimberly's reminded me of in this story. The angst of it put me in mind of Jane Austen. About 3/4 of the way through I thought of the book of Job from the Bible! Let me just say, the story took me on an emotional, vivid roller coaster ride. Kimberly's writing in this story has depth and beauty from start to finish. She paints a picture of India in such tangible detail, that when I was absolutely blown away by A Tapestry of Light. As I was reading through it, I was trying to think of whose writing Kimberly's reminded me of in this story. The angst of it put me in mind of Jane Austen. About 3/4 of the way through I thought of the book of Job from the Bible! Let me just say, the story took me on an emotional, vivid roller coaster ride. Kimberly's writing in this story has depth and beauty from start to finish. She paints a picture of India in such tangible detail, that when I was creating the photo for my Instagram to go along with this book review, I used some curry and I think I'll forever associate curry with Ottilie's story. I'll admit I was completely clueless of life in India during the Victorian age. I had no idea of the Eurasian population and what they had to endure socially. It was fascinating and heartbreaking at the same time. It was also mind boggling that so many people were dying of cholera. And I had no idea that beetle wing casings were used for fashion! The things people think of. I also loved the use of terms like "didi" for sister, maji for mama, and Nānī for grandmother. And yes, those are explained smoothly in the story. So, let's talk about the characters. And just know, my review is NOT going to do this story justice. It just isn't. AND, I "tabbed" so many pages in this book... we need to discuss people! Ottilie. She's such an incredible character. While she's already lost so much (hello, Job) she is grasping on to what & who is left. When she meets Everett, my heart absolutely sank. His purpose for being there - to take one more person away - nearly did me in. And I loved how she gave him a run for his money. But, Everett. I liked him and didn't like him. hahahaha He was just so "British". That was one of the pieces of this story that really was profound. How different Brits and Indians saw the world. I "understood" him, didn't like it, but I did. I also thought he was quite selfish in some instances. Read the book, you'll see what I mean. He's a super likable guy, just not a fan of his "purpose". One of my favorite characters is Damaris, and Puh-LEASE, Kimberly Duffy, give her a story!!! Oh my gosh, seriously, we all need a Damaris in our lives. She is feisty and British, and doesn't give one whit about status and propriety. She's Ottilie's champion and I'm here for it! And then, of course, there's the deep faith that is entwined in the story. A heritage of faith is passed down from Ottilie's Nānī on her Maji's side. It's rather a funny scenario with how she and her sister come to learn about Christianity and how significant it becomes in Ottilie's life. When Ottilie, Thaddeus, and Everett arrive in England, just as I expected, things go just like they did back in India. And it makes me want to shake everyone who treats her poorly! Ok, maybe more than shake them. Everett is focused fully on society's expectations and I want to shake him, too. I was so emotional from probably the halfway point and it just ramped up until the very end. Welling up with tears is a good sign, right? hahaha Please don't miss out on this beautiful work of art that Kimberly has created in Ottilie's story. This book will never leave my bookshelves! *I was sent this book for review. This is my opinion.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Voyage

    "A Tapestry of Light" is a book I very much enjoyed and look forward to reading it again the future, as I do with most of my favourite books! Set in the Victorian time, the story begins in Calcutta, India, where Ottilie, a young Eurasian women (of British and Indian ascent) lives in a poor neighbourhood with the remaining members of her family: her grandmother and younger brother. Then comes a kind, young, British man, Everett, who announces that Ottilie's younger brother Thaddeus is in fact a ba "A Tapestry of Light" is a book I very much enjoyed and look forward to reading it again the future, as I do with most of my favourite books! Set in the Victorian time, the story begins in Calcutta, India, where Ottilie, a young Eurasian women (of British and Indian ascent) lives in a poor neighbourhood with the remaining members of her family: her grandmother and younger brother. Then comes a kind, young, British man, Everett, who announces that Ottilie's younger brother Thaddeus is in fact a baron and must go to England to learn his role in the British society. After the death of her grandmother (which I wish wasn't revealed in the summary), Ottilie, her brother, and Everett embark on a ship towards England. There, Ottilie and Thaddeus meet their extended British family, the latter not knowing how to deal with the fact that their newly found family members have Indian ancestry. Both siblings try to find their place in British society as well as in their new family and community, but struggle to adapt to their new country. I loved the story and its sweet and relatable characters. I also loved travelling to India in my mind and learning so much about British and Indian societies in the 1880s. There are a few elements I particularly appreciated in the story: - the historical and geographical details. This book is full of descriptions which allows the reader to really imagine two societies and countries during the late 19th century, which the readers might not be familiar with. It allows them to really immerse themselves in the books' imagery. - the sensory details (visual, odorant, tactile, etc.) about India - it made me want to travel to India, see the colours; touch the silk saris; taste the food: the mustard seeds, the lassi, the sweets; as well as have an oil massage! - the faith element. I am not religious and don't usually like books with too strong a religious focus, but here it brought something important to the story as Ottilie struggled with her faith. I just wish faith was explained more clearly for non-religious people (here, I didn't really get most of the teachings of Christianity addressed in the book which is a shame - I'm sure I would have appreciated them). - the sensitive way in which topics such as death, grieving, loneliness and racism are dealt with. These are some topics that are not easy to address. What I would have appreciated it: - that the Indian words be explained. There was quite of bit of Indian vocabulary (that might or might not be found in English dictionaries), but as a non-native English speaker, I often wished there were small notes to explain what these words meant instead of having to guess or skip them. - I wish there was an illustration of the elytra/beetles embroidery in the first pages of the book (in addition to what's already drawn on the gorgeous cover), because I had never seen it before and couldn't imagine how beautiful it looks! - the ending was a bit too rushed. I seem to understand the author was already over a world limit. Considering the slow pace of the first three quarters of the book, I regret that the ending was so fast and resolved everything in so few pages. I was left hungry for a bit more. *I received an advanced copy of this book and provided my honest opinion*

  22. 5 out of 5

    Wren

    Ottilie Russell is a woman standing on the edge of two cultures. Her father is a British scientist. Her mother, a woman with an Indian mother and a father who is a British army officer. While the British culture in India reviles her, determining that her racial heritage means she is a sort of a loose woman (she is nothing of the sort), Ottilie lives a joyful life with her grandmother, her parents, and her many siblings. Life is wonderful in so many ways. Until tragedy strikes, and Ottilie is left Ottilie Russell is a woman standing on the edge of two cultures. Her father is a British scientist. Her mother, a woman with an Indian mother and a father who is a British army officer. While the British culture in India reviles her, determining that her racial heritage means she is a sort of a loose woman (she is nothing of the sort), Ottilie lives a joyful life with her grandmother, her parents, and her many siblings. Life is wonderful in so many ways. Until tragedy strikes, and Ottilie is left with only her grandmother, little brother Thaddeus, and their faithful family servant Dilip. The four struggle by as their only income is brought in by Ottilie's extraordinary embroidery using fine thread and beetle wings, beautifying women's attire. Their income is meager, but they are able to squeak by. One day, a British stranger, Everett Scott, comes to their neighborhood. He is seeking the new baron of Sutherland. Ottilie tells him that he is definitely in the wrong place...until she discovers that the new Lord Sutherland is Thaddeus. Scott has come to India to take Thaddeus to England, where he can assume his noble title. Ottilie adamantly refuses, until tragedy attacks their family once again. And then the siblings, and Scott, are on a boat headed to England. Thaddeus, who strongly resembles his father, is warmly accepted. Ottilie is not. She resembles her mother, and is most markedly not what the British define as "English." She faces discrimination, separation from her beloved brother, and the loss of the only Englishman she thinks she could love. But God and Ottilie are about to head out on a remarkable journey. Life is about to change for her again. Will she retain her faith and find love? This book is not to be missed. Author Kimberly Duffy captures the landscape of 1860s India, with its heat, spices, religious observances, and cultural battles with the British, with such vivid language you'll feel transported back through time. Ottilie adores her family and her work, yet fears the God she believes has taken so much from her. She faces her challenges and battles with great determination. Will she begin to trust the God who loves her; and will she find love on the cold landscape of Britain? Get yourself and copy and find out! I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the author. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    Kimberly Duffy writes historical fiction that grabs her readers and makes them think. A Tapestry of Light is no exception to that. Most of the time I won't take the time to read the author's notes, because I am more interested in the story being told. This time I did take the time to read it and I find that Kimberly has opened up her inner self in the notes and put herself into the book. Ottilie is the orphaned daughter of a British scientist and an Indian woman, and she also is the guardian of Kimberly Duffy writes historical fiction that grabs her readers and makes them think. A Tapestry of Light is no exception to that. Most of the time I won't take the time to read the author's notes, because I am more interested in the story being told. This time I did take the time to read it and I find that Kimberly has opened up her inner self in the notes and put herself into the book. Ottilie is the orphaned daughter of a British scientist and an Indian woman, and she also is the guardian of her little brother, Thaddeus. Just a few short months after her mother dies, someone comes looking for her brother to take him back to England to inherit his title. Because of her parentage and her looks, she is not accepted in the English world or in the Indian world. The only place she feels she belongs is with her brother and her grandmother. Now this interloper named Everett has upset the calm order of Ottilie's world. When her grandmother dies from the sudden onset of cholera, Ottilie decides that she will go back to England with her brother because there is nothing left in India for her. When Ottilie finally arrives in England, she finds just how unaccepted she is in her own family's home. Because of her coloring and her resemblance to her mother, she is looked down upon as less than. When her father's mother and her aunt decide to send Thaddeus to school, she decides to go to London to be nearer to her brother and find work as an embroiderer for a modiste. Ottilie's talent lies in using beetle wings in her embroidery and it is becoming quite the rage in London. She is the only one with a source and the talent to use the wings. With the unrest among the races that is current in today's world, Kimberly has brought out the unrest that has been prevalent for generations. She has also brought out the struggle to make faith something personal and something worth pursuing. This is one of those books that won't be forgotten soon. The other thing Kimberly does and does well is her descriptive settings that come alive in the reader's mind. If books could share the sights and scents of a setting, this one certainly could. This is a five-star book with two thumbs up and a beautifully embroidered dress for your next ball. Bethany House and NetGalley.com provided the copy I read for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lex

    I didn't want this to end, yet I couldn't wait to find out how it ended. It almost felt like The Henna Artist meets Pride and Prejudice. It's 1886 in Calcutta and Ottillie Russell, a young British-Indian woman has grown up never feeling like she belongs anywhere outside of her family. That family also seems to keep shrinking. Years ago she lost her father and two of her siblings to Cholera, and now she has lost her mother after she was trampled by a horse. Suddenly, Ottillie's beetle-wing embroi I didn't want this to end, yet I couldn't wait to find out how it ended. It almost felt like The Henna Artist meets Pride and Prejudice. It's 1886 in Calcutta and Ottillie Russell, a young British-Indian woman has grown up never feeling like she belongs anywhere outside of her family. That family also seems to keep shrinking. Years ago she lost her father and two of her siblings to Cholera, and now she has lost her mother after she was trampled by a horse. Suddenly, Ottillie's beetle-wing embroidery is the only income she has to support herself, her younger brother, Thaddeus, her grandmother, and their former servant, who has become like family. When Everett Scott appears out of the blue from England claiming that Thaddeus is a Baron and he has traveled to India on behalf of Ottillie's paternal grandmother to collect Thaddeus, Ottillie begins to learn that sometimes even the closest knit families have secrets. This was a beautifully written novel with a fascinating story. The setting is written so well, I almost had to remind myself that I've never been to India. What I loved the most about A Tapestry of Light was how deep Kimberly Duffy dived into the complexity of being born from both British and Indian heritage during the nineteenth century. Ottillie is a wonderful character and I wanted her to have the world, but, because of her heritage, it won't come easily. I knew very little about the historical setting of this book and the history of the relationship between Britain and India. I felt like I learned a lot while reading this, which, I suppose, is the point of historical fiction. As Ottillie learned and navigated her faith, I felt like I was on a journey with a real person as her warmth seemed to float off the page (well, I read this on a Kindle, but floating off the screen doesn't sound as good). Duffy's characters are just about as well written as her settings. I really enjoyed every single character and learning about their motivations. There wasn't a single main or supporting character who felt out of place or undeveloped to me. I loved this from cover to cover and am looking forward to reading Duffy's first novel, A Mosaic of Wings, and her novel that's being released later this year, Every Word Unsaid. I received a free eARC from NetGalley in exchange for the promise of an honest review.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Phyllis

    Filled with fantastic imagery and faith Trapped between two cultures, Ottilie longed to find her place. To find home. As a very Indian-looking Eurasian, she was rejected by Indian and British alike. My heart was broken for her in her grief - she had experienced so much loss! Her heart was filled with love for her little brother and she toiled diligently to provide for him - sweet Thaddeus, the glowworm, casting light on everyone around him! Their sweet relationship was touching and uplifting. Otti Filled with fantastic imagery and faith Trapped between two cultures, Ottilie longed to find her place. To find home. As a very Indian-looking Eurasian, she was rejected by Indian and British alike. My heart was broken for her in her grief - she had experienced so much loss! Her heart was filled with love for her little brother and she toiled diligently to provide for him - sweet Thaddeus, the glowworm, casting light on everyone around him! Their sweet relationship was touching and uplifting. Ottilie's search was not just to find her place. She also struggled with her faith, doubting His goodness when she surrounded by loss. Even once she chose to believe, she still wavered. Her decision to praise God in the morning was transformational! I loved watching her faith grow from the tiniest seed. Ottilie's sweet Nānī (grandma) and the strong faith she exhibited even in times of grief endeared her to me. The beautiful spiritual lessons she shared were poignant. She also had endured much hardship and rejection in her life and yet was confident in her knowledge that she belonged to Jesus. Even the way she came to know Him when she was a girl was amazing! Entrancing imagery filled my mind with the sights, sounds, and aromas of India! Some of which were lovely and others... Well, let's just say they were not. When the scene changed and moved to Victorian England, the lovely descriptions did not end. I loved the way I could so easily picture everything that was happening in the story. The beetle-wing embroidery fascinated me! Hearing the descriptions though, only made me want to see pictures. Search for it online if you get the chance and you will be amazed by the beauty that comes from bugs. (Technically, as Ottilie pointed out in the story, the elytra are not the actual wings but their protective casings.) Readers of historical fiction will not want to miss A Tapestry of Light! Originally Reviewed on Among The Reads I was given a copy of this book. I was not required to give a favorable review nor was any money received for this review. All comments and opinions are my own.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Christi

    I hate when I struggle to love a book. I wanted so much to love A Tapestry of Light, but sadly this was not an enjoyable read for me, but instead felt like a struggle, almost like I was wading in a rhetorical quicksand. One caveat I must stress is that I might not have been in the right frame of mind while reading this novel. I had a lot of heavy personal things going on while I was trudging through this book, and this narrative is a pretty heavy and depressing one, so I do believe my current si I hate when I struggle to love a book. I wanted so much to love A Tapestry of Light, but sadly this was not an enjoyable read for me, but instead felt like a struggle, almost like I was wading in a rhetorical quicksand. One caveat I must stress is that I might not have been in the right frame of mind while reading this novel. I had a lot of heavy personal things going on while I was trudging through this book, and this narrative is a pretty heavy and depressing one, so I do believe my current situations did affect my perception. One thing that hit me like a ton of bricks was the onslaught of tragedy that we are introduced with in the first chapter. Wow! I felt like it was plowed onto the reader, much like it was gorged onto poor Ottilie and her family. My heart did go out to this poor dear, the loss unimaginable, and it is no wonder that she struggles with her faith throughout the book. I think if I had to deal with everything that was thrown at her I would've felt the same way! Not only does she deal with deep personal loss, she also had to deal with a multicultural heritage at a time when the dual cultures were not seeing eye to eye, thus making her an outcast no matter where she is, something that I'm sure many can relate to. A Tapestry of Light has a great premise but despite feeling empathy for Ottilie and her plight, I fought to connect with her personally, and never felt truly vested in her story, and I think I know why. One thing that bothered me throughout was the immense details that went into this novel. There is no doubt there is no detail left to the imagination, which made for some incredible imagery, but I felt like Ottilie's story got too bogged down in mundane details, which was upsetting, as this was a well written novel that was weighty in more ways than one. Though I have seen A Tapestry of Light in a more negative light I still refuse to give up on this book, and plan to read it when I am in a better frame of mind, and commend the author for a very passionate, detailed, and tragic yet redemptive tale that will stick with me for years to come. *I have voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book which I received from the author/publisher through JustRead Tours. All views and opinions are completely honest, and my own.

  27. 4 out of 5

    LisLovesReading E.Espinoza

    A Tapestry of Light, by Kimberly Duffy, is a genuinely moving novel. Thoughtfully written, well-researched, and memorable, it beckons the reader to venture into a meaningful story that deftly spans two continents and cultures. Stunningly detailed and rich in history, this book is both touching and inspirational as it explores the significance of loss, rejection, family, faith, and purpose. With immersive settings, authentic characters, and a captivating plot, this novel is certainly worthy of be A Tapestry of Light, by Kimberly Duffy, is a genuinely moving novel. Thoughtfully written, well-researched, and memorable, it beckons the reader to venture into a meaningful story that deftly spans two continents and cultures. Stunningly detailed and rich in history, this book is both touching and inspirational as it explores the significance of loss, rejection, family, faith, and purpose. With immersive settings, authentic characters, and a captivating plot, this novel is certainly worthy of being noticed.     A gifted writer, Ms. Duffy bolsters the historical genre with her keen insights and bold perspectives. In A Tapestry of Light, she successfully appeals to the reader’s senses and emotions through beautifully descriptive writing. Vivid sensory details ensure that sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures are deeply authentic. From the sparkle of a beetle’s wing, to sweet treats sticky with syrup, to warm air heavy with humidity and memories, this book fully envelops the reader in its fictional world.      Page after page this novel brings to life a story of loss, faith, courage, forgiveness, and love. Themes of hope, healing, and redemption are woven skillfully throughout the novel as the characters encounter significant challenges and difficult choices that profoundly shape their hearts and define their futures. Living under the shadows of colonialism, bound by the expectations of their social classes, and threatened by ignorance and prejudice, the characters endeavor to forge a life for themselves while grappling with fearful worries, unexpected grief, and surprising revelations. And in so doing, they face their fears, address their insecurities, pursue forgiveness, and nurture their faith even as their dreams and prospects are threatened.    From beginning to end, A Tapestry of Light offers the reader a genuinely gripping story of perseverance, resiliency, and faith while providing a fresh outlook on the complicated history of nineteenth century India and Victorian England. Strengthened by such important themes as compassion, generosity, human worth, and Gods grace, this novel is compelling, relevant, and truly thought-provoking. I recommend it wholeheartedly.     *I was given a copy of this book by the publisher. A review was not required. The review I have written is voluntary and contains opinions that are entirely my own. 

  28. 5 out of 5

    Heather Russell

    Right from the cover of Tapestry of Light, the magnificent colors capture the reader’s attention. The intriguing story begins with Ottilie Russell, who is faced with critical decisions now that her mother has passed away. To make matters worse, she has the weight of her grandmother and her brother as well as a servant relying on her. She tries to find the best way to continue to provide for them, so she uses her gift of embroidering. One would suspect that once a person has faced several trials a Right from the cover of Tapestry of Light, the magnificent colors capture the reader’s attention. The intriguing story begins with Ottilie Russell, who is faced with critical decisions now that her mother has passed away. To make matters worse, she has the weight of her grandmother and her brother as well as a servant relying on her. She tries to find the best way to continue to provide for them, so she uses her gift of embroidering. One would suspect that once a person has faced several trials and hardships, they would come to the end of the valley so they could move upward towards the peak. Unfortunately, hardships do not stray far from Ottilie as she seeks to find a world she belongs in. Her heritage is both English and Indian, but she does not feel a sense of belonging in either world. She thinks she finds a sense of acceptance and kindness in an unexpected stranger, but time tells a different story. The book was well written with a tapestry of words to enlighten all the senses. The reader could visualize the bright colors of India as well as the rich smells and intense flavors from Ottilie’s world. Having been to a Hindu country, my experience came alive again as I journeyed with Ottilie. The imagery was stunning. Personally, I loved the richness of the language within the pages because it was educational and brought a sense that it was greatly researched. It had me wanting to learn more. Page after page Ottilie’s struggle with her faith took the reader along for the journey. The authentic thoughts and emotions were raw and real. I loved the wisdom Nani shared with Ottilie patiently. Most importantly, I loved the discovery of a deeper faith with Nani’s Bible. This is another reminder of the legacy we leave behind for those we love. Tapestry of Light was a well written story of faith and acceptance. Reading the novel was more than just for entertainment but for opportunities to see our own faith in another light. It was definitely that had one thinking after reading, which is a big accomplishment in my opinion. I would highly recommend this book. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own and I was not required to leave a positive review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Gretchen Garrison

    This is a book about loss and love and family and searching for faith. This is the second book that author Kimberly Duffy has partially set in colonial British India. Britain is the other location. The plot of the book focuses on how these cultures do not manage to mix well. Actually this title helped me to understand how deep prejudice that is based on appearances can be. Even though the two siblings featured in this book have the same parents, they are definitely treated differently. Because of This is a book about loss and love and family and searching for faith. This is the second book that author Kimberly Duffy has partially set in colonial British India. Britain is the other location. The plot of the book focuses on how these cultures do not manage to mix well. Actually this title helped me to understand how deep prejudice that is based on appearances can be. Even though the two siblings featured in this book have the same parents, they are definitely treated differently. Because of circumstances in her life, Ottilie, the main heroine, struggles with her faith. She doubts that God is with her. I found that to be acceptable because that theme does come to a resolution. Celebrating Indian culture is another important part of this title. Ottilie has learned beetle-wing embroidery. (In the afterward, the author tells about all of the research that she did to better understand this type of handcraft art.) Indian clothing and food are also celebrated. Family honor is also emphasized. Should love supersede all barriers? Can people from different backgrounds truly connect to the point that heritage no longer matters? The reader gets to ponder those mindsets as a part of the plot. What Ottilie really wants is to maintain her heritage and to keep her close connection to her younger brother. Both of those goals prove to be challenging. While I would not call this a "happy" read, I do think the book is a meaningful one. This one does not let the reader "rest easy." Instead he or she is almost forced to reconcile with held beliefs that may not be fair overall. My only small complaint - I wish there would have been one more chapter between the final one and the epilogue. I felt like the transition was a bit abrupt. (My guess is that the author might have pushed her word count and not been able to elaborate anymore.) This results in my final rating being a 4.8 because overall I did love the rest of the book. Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for letting me read this book through NetGalley during the month it was released. I wanted to read the book. All opinions are my own.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Abigail

    “Nothing you do or I do will ever make me acceptable. Nothing society thinks can make me unacceptable. My worth, your worth, is found in God alone. And he says we are accepted.” A Tapestry of Light is a tender story of acceptance. Not just acceptance from others, but from oneself, and knowing that we are accepted by God, the One who truly counts. The story starts off in India where Ottilie was born and raised in a loving household. One-by-one, her family leaves for their eternal home, and she is f “Nothing you do or I do will ever make me acceptable. Nothing society thinks can make me unacceptable. My worth, your worth, is found in God alone. And he says we are accepted.” A Tapestry of Light is a tender story of acceptance. Not just acceptance from others, but from oneself, and knowing that we are accepted by God, the One who truly counts. The story starts off in India where Ottilie was born and raised in a loving household. One-by-one, her family leaves for their eternal home, and she is faced with a choice: stay in a place where she is comfortable even though death can knock at her door at any moment, or pick up her life and the only family she has left, and enter into English society, a place where she knows she could never belong. I struggled to get into this novel as I felt the beginning moved too slowly, and then I felt that the ending was a bit rushed. But in between the two was a beautiful story that pulled at the heartstrings and even made me cry at one point (and almost cry at others). I could feel Ottilie’s agony over wanting what was best for her little brother Thaddeus, yet at the same time knowing she wouldn’t be welcomed as he was. Though both from the same parents, it was obvious that Ottilie had Indian blood, a taboo at that time, whereas her brother looked every bit English. Her other concern was that Thaddeus would lose the Indian part of him, forgetting where he came from. Family was important to Ottilie, and she felt it was her duty to protect them. But as the book neared the end, she discovered that family was more than just blood. “…since I arrived in London, I’ve learned family is made up of more than those related by blood. And before I left India, Dilip told me that home was never supposed to be a place. It is the people.” The pages were also filled with romantic tension. Though it was obvious to both Ottilie and Everett that they had deep feelings for each other, a successful match between them could not be possible. Everett needed to marry someone who could help him in society, and, sadly, Ottilie could not be that woman given her Eurasian heritage. I thought Kimberly Duffy did a wonderful job showing the issues society brought upon Indian and England in the late 1800s and the individual struggles that came from them. No character remained static as they each faced their own battles, and because of this, the story truly was a beautifully woven tapestry. I received a copy of A Tapestry of Light thanks to NetGalley and Bethany House. Opinions are my own.

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