The Loom by Shella Gillus- Review

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I give the loom 4.0 stars

This book transports you back to the 1800’s during the time of southern slavery in America.  The point of view character is Lydia, a light skinned slave.  Through genetics and the practice many slave owners had of either brutalizing or falling in love or lust with their slaves, Lydia a slave girl arrived on the scene as white as her slave owners daughter.  The girls played as children and though they looked very similar, their worlds were the antithesis of one another.   Lydia looked white, but her heart was that of a slave.  Her passionate yearning for freedom, like all her friends and relatives living the life of a slave, had her running and yearning for escape.  Her escape attempt failed, but when she accidentally passed herself off in a social situation on the arm of her Master’s daughter as a young white woman in society, Lydia knew that she didn’t have to run away.  She could walk right off the plantation and into white society, and she did.  The conflict is so great as Lydia is torn between the people she loves and left behind and her yearning to be free.  The author magically weaves so much depth into this novel with biblical themes, and symbols with incredible skill.  The actions of the characters have you worked up and the lessons you learn from their actions will both inspire and disappoint.  The intense contrast the author provides for the reader between Lydia’s two different worlds, and the intense inner conflict of Lydia herself shakes you to your very core.  This novel reminded me of Steinbeck’s East of Eden, his take on Cain and Abel, because of the skillful way Shella Gillus used contrast and hints at biblical stories to ratchet up the tension.  The Biblical symbols are so subtle they will resonate if you are a believer, and not notice them if you are not a bible reader.  So it is a novel for everyone interested in a good story.  It is a character driven novel, with a plot that delivers.  Rare today to find a book with both, and one by a first time author.

You do not find this type of depth and skill in a first time author.  Shella Gillus truly was born to write.

Flyby Rating System
1* hated it2** didn’t like it
3*** liked it and totally recommend it
4****loved it may read it more than once
5***** so impacted by it and will read it over and over in my lifetime
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