by Linda Chaikin
Trade Paperback: 348 pages
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Released: February 28, 1993
Source: Borrowed from the local library.
Book Description, Modified from Back Cover:
Coral Kendall is an heiress to the Kingscote Silk Plantation in northern India in the last decade of the 1700s. Breaching cultural boundaries and shunning the scorn of some of her wealthy English family, she adopts the orphaned baby of a friend she led to Christ. But the baby is an "Untouchable" from the bottom of the Hindu class system, and the local Indians aren't pleased that he will be brought up in a wealthy Christian home.
The bond of love that develops between Coral and Gem is that of a mother and son. Tragedy strikes when the boy is abducted and the body later found in the river. But there is a reason to believe that Gem did not perish...
Silk is a Christian historical novel set in 1793 to 1799 in northeast India and in London, England. This book is the first in a trilogy, but I didn't realize that when I picked it out. I kept waiting for the pace to pick up so that something would get resolved before the end, but it didn't. Very little was resolved, and it ended like the end of a chapter instead of the book. (The next book does, indeed, pick up exactly where this one left off.)
Though the back cover book description indicates that the "sea captain" will be Coral's love interest, it doesn't happen in this book. He isn't even a suitable match for her at this point. Two other men seem like wonderful men and share her interests, and I would have preferred she end up with one of them. But I suppose things will change in the next two novels.
I didn't like that we're never given a reason why a certain main character put himself in danger after saying common sense and sickness would prevent him, he was commanded not to, and there was no need for him to.
All that said, this is a very interesting time period. The British were slowly taking over parts of India and missionaries were starting to reach out to the Indians. Coral is linked by birth to British trade interests in India yet linked by her heart to telling the Untouchables about Christ despite the danger of doing so. For the most part, the historical everyday, cultural, and political details were generally woven into the story rather than being lectures, and there were plenty of political intrigues going on that pushed the story forward.
The Christian element was a strong part of the story, but I felt it was worked naturally into the flow of the story. There was no bad language or sex. Despite what I felt were flaws in the writing, I did enjoy the main characters and the dilemmas they faced and so I'd recommend this novel to those who enjoy historicals and are interested in this time period.
Update: I forgot to mention that the villian(s) are subtle but powerful, realistic, and very well written.
If you've read this book, what do you think about it? I'd be honored if you wrote your own opinion of the book in the comments.