At first this book felt like a coming of age story, then it became a love story and a tale of war, prejudice, and how it can destroy people. Then it began to feel like a moral...karma gets you. Retribution. Guilt. And finally, letting go and forgiveness.
I went on a rollercoaster ride of emotions with this. As the story changed, so did my emotions. I had feelings of anger and disgust. Sometimes I hated the heroine, wanted to slap her silly, sometimes I gasped. By the end, I had tears on my cheeks.
It's a silk factory in a time of war. They make silk for parachutes. The entire factory was an educational read for me. I learned a lot and was intrigued. When they take in German refugees to help, the heroine falls in love with one, but the town begins to show animosity toward the Germans in light of the war. (WWII) Stefan is deported to prison in Australia, merely because of his nationality. Lily is forced to take over the running of the silk factory, a task she is and yet, isn't quite ready for as we see when she makes a very poor decision in a stressful moment. All the while she pines for Stefan and their moments together are all the sweeter for there being so few. Their love radiates off the page.
As a mechanic, I know how deadly some choices can be and could not forgive Lily for something she does. But can Lily forgive herself? Can she forgive herself for how she treats another woman, Gwen? Sometimes we use people and don't realize it until it's too late.
There are tons of morals within the pages. Tell your parents you love them. Don't let yourself be bullied. Take care not to use others. Make choices you know you can live with. I got a lot more than I expected. It truly surpasses majority of WWII novels I've read.
I was riveted to this book. There's forbidden love, teen angst, growing up, war, jealousy, using people, living with guilt. There's death, sadness, heartache, and joy.
Five stars. I received this from netgalley.