In every sense, The Silk House seems to have encapsulated the author’s passion for history, weaving and healing. Her enthusiasm for these topics makes the story come alive and with some interesting research and some fine imagination, a creative tale is told. Katye Nunn writes so well she seamlessly moves from the past to the present forming links for the reader.
The story begins with Thea Rust, an Australian teacher who has been accepted to teach History at a Public School in England. Her father was an excellent student there, and the school has just decided to enrol girls. She was the ideal choice as her History teaching and studies are specifically what the school is looking for, as well as her sporting prowess on the hockey field. Until the girls and Thea have suitable housing, they are staying at a place called Silk House.
Silk House is the central core to this story. We follow in earlier times, a maid called Rowan, who served there. In 1768, Rowan has been employed by the master of the house, Patrick Hollander. At the front is a shop selling fine silks. It is not a happy house though, as the maid Alice, resents Rowan, and makes her life difficult. The master and his wife have problems as it seems his wife is unable to conceive.
At this time, a new pattern maker, Mary-Louise Stephenson approaches Patrick with some amazing styles and designs, and he is taken by their beauty. A poor manager, Patrick manages to inflame his wife, the maid and the pattern maker. The outcome is tragic.
Thea, who is sensitive to the history of the house, senses a presence. There are physical signs of occupancy to contend with. Her introduction to a new school and a new country could not be more enthralling, mysterious and exciting. With help, Thea uncovers a tragedy and dismantles the problem. A very satisfying read in all respects!