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'The day was dove grey, and silk. A melancholic cloth that whispered and rustled. Who could say what it foretold.'
Dublin, 1840: Rhia Mahoney watches in despair as her father's linen warehouse goes up in flames. Her family is ruined. Her imagined future, full of pattern and colour, plum brocades and beetle-green taffeta, crumbles to ashes.
Seeking work as a governess in dismal London, Rhia's life is changed beyond all imagination when her uncle, a shipping merchant, commits suicide. Rhia cannot - will not - believe he would take his own life, but before she can investigate, she is accused of a crime she didn't commit, and forced to board a prison ship bound for New South Wales.
The voyage is one of dry biscuits and endless sea, made bearable by the women's daily chore: to sew scraps of cloth into an elaborate quilt. What Rhia does not realise is that with every stich, she binds herself closer to a journey of discovery that will not end in Australia ...
Weaving death, love and adventure into a vivid tale of the world at the height of Empire, The Silver Thread is plotted like a murder mystery, but narrated with the skill and style of a literary storyteller.
Kylie Fitzpatrick was born in Denmark and grew up in England, America and Australia. She has worked as a researcher and script editor and now teaches creative writing at Bath Spa University. She is the author of The Silver Thread, Tapestry and The Secret of the Ninth Stone, and has been published in eleven languages.
'A novel of genuine power and conviction'
The Sunday Times
'impressively researched and closely imagined. An exciting, spirited and ambitious tale'
Andrew Miller, Costa-award winning author of Pure
'Fitzpatrick's world is well-researched and many-hued, filled with references that enrich the reader's experience' For Books'