26 June 2020

Review: The Silk House by Kayte Nunn

The Silk House by Kayte Nunn book cover
* Courtesy of Hachette Australia *

The Silk House is an historical fiction novel by Australian author Kayte Nunn with a gothic mystery at its heart that unfolds in dual narratives. In the present, Australian history teacher Thea Rust takes up residence in Silk House, located in Oxleigh in the British countryside. She's in charge of the first intake of female students in the exclusive boarding school nearby and she will reside in Silk House along with the students.

We go back in time to the 1760s where the house is owned and occupied by a silk merchant and his family and bolts of silk are sold from the shop at the front of the building. Young Rowan Caswell is hired as a maid and we follow her as she settles into the household, her talent for making the odd tincture soon in high demand. Mary-Louise Stephenson is a talented artist living in London who dreams of becoming a silk designer.

The lives of these three women begin to intersect and overlap as they weave a delightfully engaging and haunting tale for the reader.

I love historical fiction that includes: an old building with character and perhaps a murky history; strong female characters; boarding schools; life below stairs; whispers of witchcraft; secrets waiting to be unearthed and a window into the past. I became heavily invested in Thea and Rowan's stories and enjoyed both narratives equally.

Rowan's determination and spirit reminded me a little of Alinor from Tidelands, and if you're a fan of Laura Purcell (in particular The Silent Companions or The Corset) or The Familiars by Stacey Halls I think you'll love this.

I thoroughly enjoyed The Silk House by Kayte Nunn and looked forward to picking it up again every night, admiring the stunning cover design and re-joining Rowan and Thea. Highly recommended.

Carpe Librum!

My Rating:

P.S. Check out my review of The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant Kayte Nunn.

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  1. This was my first Katye Nunn book, but I don't think it will be my last!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Marg, I'm so glad you enjoyed this too. It definitely won't be my last either and you might like to keep an eye out for an upcoming interview with the author ;-)

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