Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Queen of Silks
(US Title: Figures in Silk)

by Vanora Bennett


Isabel Lambert wants anything but to have to marry Thomas Claver, but her mercer father has decided her fate.  While she is praying in her local church, she meets up with a mysterious man with some advice to offer, as well as a certain casual friendship.  But nothing is going to be quite how it seems for Isabel, the fictitious sister to Jane Shore, Edward IV’s mistress.

This is a compelling tale which mixes the history of the Wars of the Roses with that of the silk industry.  It paints a picture of a pre-Renaissance world where women with strength of character and good business sense ran their own lives, often independent of men.  I would have liked to have read more about the silk industry, which remains more shadowy than the commonplace descriptions of court life and high politics.  This is also very much a story about Richard III, depicted here as something between the more usual extremes of either a villain or a hero.  He is shown as a charismatic man, easy to like but at the same time several steps ahead of most people and a born schemer.  His portrait rings truer than most of the others I have read about in other books, and is perhaps the book’s main strength.  Ms. Bennett is adept at delineating her fictitious characters too, and shows how they grow and change as events affect them.  If you enjoy books by authors like Philippa Gregory and Tracey Chevalier, this ought to appeal.

The Book

Harper (HarperCollins UK)
July 2009
0007224958 / 9780007224951
Historical / 1471 onwards / London
More at US || UK
NOTE: US Title Figures in Silk also reviewed on

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2009
© 2009