Sarah’s review

Title: The Lace Weaver
Author: Lauren Chater

A charming debut novel from author Lauren Chater, The Lace Weaver is set in Estonia, just prior to World War II.

Squeezed between the two major powers of the Soviet Union and Germany, Estonia is coveted by both. Maintaining independence is all but impossible, and the Estonians endure great hardship as two evil empires – the Russians, then Germans – occupy their land.

The people take great heart from their traditions, particularly lace weaving, but as Russia and Germany grow ever more determined to impose their will, even these small freedoms are threatened.

Drawn together through the lace weaving of their ancestors, Katia, an Estonian farm girl, and Lydia, a privileged Muscovite, navigate the storm of oppression that heralds World War II. Together they find friendship and love.

Lace motifs run through each chapter. The fragility of the lace echoes the fragility of the characters’ lives – of all life; and its beauty is a political statement against the ugliness of both Soviet proletarianism and German anti-semitism – it is dangerous.

It’s a novel you can cuddle up with on a rainy day, confident of being transported to another time and place.