The Tailor's Daughter by Janice Graham
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Veda Grenfell comes from a prosperous tailoring family, but her brother longs to be a scholar rather than take over the family business one day. Veda, on the other hand, loves tailoring and has a knack for design, but is stymied by her gender and the societal restrictions of 1860s London. A series of tragedies plague her small family, including the illness that leaves Veda deaf. She struggles against the overwhelming isolation that causes, determined to find a way to communicate and make a life for herself. Love and marriage seem unlikely in the extreme when society equates physical disability with mental incompetence, but hope is hard to extinguish, despite cruel disappointments and heartbreaking betrayals.
My aunt and uncle recommended this book to me, and I am so grateful! It's a very character-driven story, where I felt immersed in Veda's life and the strangeness of her silent world. I agonized alongside her when she lost loved ones, and I cheered her on as she fought to make those who remained understand and communicate with her. My heart broke for her many times, and I KNEW she was not told the truth when she was in France.
For readers' advisors: character doorway is primary; setting secondary. The relaxed pace might frustrate those who read for story, although the end gets much more exciting. There is no onscreen sex or bad language.
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