The Lace Weaver by Lauren Chater

Lauren Chater knows how to spin a great yarn…

In her debut novel, The Lace Weaver, Lauren Chater brings us a fresh perspective of World War 2, as it was experienced in Estonia. The story of two women, Katarina and Lydia, is interwoven into a gripping tale about friendship and survival. With their lives shattered by the oppressive occupying regimes of first communist Russia and then fascist Germany, the two women struggle to make sense of their existence amid the horror of war and losing loved ones. Chater’s writing is compelling and focuses on both the physical and emotional battles these women are subjected to. Kati and Lydia demonstrate both inner resolve and great determination, however their strength is also shown in their unity, the bonds of the lace-weaving group, and the support the women in that ‘sisterhood’ show for one another. The motif of lace-making is woven throughout, from spiders’ webs, to the lace-weaving sisterhood and friendships, to the intricate fabric of Estonian life. Particularly resonant for me, was the way Chater highlighted war not just being about those bearing arms, but more often, about the people caught up in its web, the unspoken heroines and heroes, who must also fight their own battles to find a way through.

Lauren Chater has written a stunning debut in The Lace Weaver and  I would not hesitate recommending it. She is currently working on her second novel and the dangling thread is that it will be another women’s story of friendship and survival, but this time set amid the chaos of midwifery in eighteenth century England, told from the wife’s perspective when Gulliver returns from his travels …

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