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The Loom by Shella Gillus
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The Loom

by Shella Gillus

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The Loom by Shella Gillus is a debut novel. I downloaded a free Kindle edition. The book cover is so compelling and looks like a story to draw you in. This was a book I was so anxiously waiting to read. As a lover of historical fiction, it’s a heart wrenching story of love and redemption set in the Pre-Civil War era. Lydia (aka Caroline) a slave in the pre-Antebellum south, is so light-skinned that she learns she can pass for white and in spite of being in love with John, a field hand.

It was a very slow almost painful start. I had to keep backtracking just to keep up. I felt there where to many subplots and overall the story was just not believable for the time period and the end left me with many unanswered questions, like who was Lydia's mother? How did she inherit her pale skin? This story of the main character passing was improbable just based on the proximity of the two plantations. I didn't think it was feasible that a slave who had tried to escape before but was captured and beaten wouldn't be sought after by her owner and found almost immediately especially since she was still so close to home. However I also thought that the reasoning behind why she left John who she was supposed to love without so much as an explanation was not exploited enough. There are numerous characters whose stories are introduced but not in depth. Lou, Ruth, and Odessa were a bit unclear to me as to their relations to the main characters. Maybe I missed it, but the connection between freedom and the loom were never made in my opinion. I expected, based on the title for the book to focus on the loom as its symbolism. I just never saw its connection to the overall story. I kept waiting and waiting for a twist or something insanely exciting to brighten this plot.

Gillus makes good use of imagery and the story has a spiritual undercurrent to it that makes it amiable. I would tell Gillus, just introduce us to the amazing characters and let us fall in love with them. I feel lying dormant inside of Shella Gillus is a truly gifted writer. Although it was hard to follow at times it really wasn't a terrible book. I look forward to reading more from this author. The book had the potential to be great literature. Lydia's spiritual journey, gave me a little something to think about after I put the book down. This is surely one of the better free reads available. ( )
  altima313 | Oct 25, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0824948165, Paperback)

Lydia knew her fate. Like every other slave on the Maryland plantation, her life would end at the loom...

Throughout the pre-Civil War South, older slaves too worn out for anything else worked daily in the plantation's loom room, weaving and creating cloth for their families. Tucked away out of sight and forgotten by most everyone, the wisdom and hard-won experience of these slaves were often overlooked. But Lydia, a light-skinned house slave, listens to their words and dreams of a better life.

When running away leads to her recapture, Lydia discovers that with her pale skin, the right clothing, and pretense, she can walk into a world of freedom and wealth she has only dreamed of.

But Lydia struggles to leave behind the man she loves and the culture of a world in which she belongs. Drawing on the wise community in the plantation's loom room, Lydia chases freedom in a way no one ever expected and finds that she ultimately must choose between the love she has and the life she doesn't.

The Loom is a colorful tale of love linked to a lie and the discovery that life is not always black or white.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:32 -0400)

Lydia, an old weaver slave, dreams of a better life, but she is torn when she has the opportunity to escape and pass as a white woman, but must leave the man she loves behind in the process.

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