Today’s review is for the gorgeous The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield, a magical novel based in the time running up to the French Revolution.
Book Review: The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield
Title: The Embroidered Book
Author: Kate Heartfield
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Genre: Fantasy, historical
Release Date: 17th February 2022
‘Power is not something you are given. Power is something you take. When you are a woman, it is a little more difficult, that’s all’
1768. Charlotte, daughter of the Habsburg Empress, arrives in Naples to marry a man she has never met. Her sister Antoine is sent to France, and in the mirrored corridors of Versailles they rename her Marie Antoinette.
The sisters are alone, but they are not powerless.
When they were only children, they discovered a book of spells – spells that work, with dark and unpredictable consequences. In a time of vicious court politics, of discovery and dizzying change, they use the book to take control of their lives. But every spell requires a sacrifice.
And as love between the sisters turns to rivalry, they will send Europe spiralling into revolution.
Harper Voyager excel at designing book covers that catch your eye and lure you in as if they are enchanted like many of the articles in this book. The cover made me need this book even before I became intrigued by the blurb. I love books with a magical twist but my European history is dire and my knowledge of Marie Antoinette is patchy so I did worry the plot would go over my head. I love historical fiction but with an attention span of a gnat, I have a tendency to get confused. There was no need for my concerns. With a list of main characters at the front and immersive plot I was thrown into the lives of Charlotte and Antoinette after they discover an embroidered book of magic. The spectacular blend of magic, history and sense of place kept me enthralled.
It is an epic read of 656 pages where the two sisters have to journey through the complex politics of these turbulent times while balancing family and societal expectations when their central reason is to do anything is to do the best for their respective countries. It’s told with empathy and made me consider questions about power, class and influence.
The palaces and characters were brought to life and it was a highly visual experience reading it and would make a wonderful tv series under the right director.
Would I recommend?
Oh yes, The Embroidered Book is one to read, keep and treasure. It is as beautiful inside as out and though it’s a work of fiction it gave me a platform to build my knowledge of this era while I was immersed in magic. Full of imagination, magical world building overlaid by historical fact it is a must for fans of both history and fantasy.
It is a book for my forever shelf and will be popular for visitors to the Enchanted Emporium bookshelf.
Kate Heartfield is the author of The Embroidered Book, a historical fantasy novel out in February 2022. Her debut novel won Canada’s Aurora Award, and her novellas, stories and games have been shortlisted for the Nebula, Locus, Crawford, Sunburst and Aurora awards. A former journalist, Kate lives near Ottawa, Canada.
Thank you Random Thing Tours for inviting me to this tour and providing an advanced copy for me to review and give my honest and unbiased opinion.