The Embroiderer - Book Review
Updated: Jun 8, 2020
by Kathryn Gauci
The historical and cultural scope of The Embroiderer, debut novel by Kathryn Gauci, makes this book an important and compelling read. In western culture we have studied the great wars and a number of regional ones, but few of us would know anything of the Greek War of Independence, and later, the massive exchange of population between Greece and Turkey. Millions were expelled leaving behind everything they owned and loved.
Using her extensive knowledge of this history, Ms Gauci has embroidered for us a complex and sweeping tale of love, danger, and survival. From an intriguing prologue in Chios 1822, to the final pages in London 1973, Ms Gauci has crafted this story with conviction and drama. I could smell the aromatic Sevkiye’s Pilav and feel the touch of sumptuously embroidered silk. In ill-fated Smyrna, I panicked along with the fleeing crowds and cried for the families and friends torn apart. The characters may be fictional but not the meld of elegance, bravura, hardship and despair.
The Embroiderer is a fabulous novel, with believable characters and plot lines comparable with the best-sellers in historical fiction.