There is an art to writing a novel; an arc of movement, a thread of thought, an inner fire stoked by imagination and all the writers come before. A writer can be a person who strings words together in an endless river; or a writer can be an artist. Taking paper, ink, and words; creating something otherworldly, something elsewhere. Destiny Kinal’s novel Burning Silk, the first in the Textile Trilogy, is the product of this type of writer.
Set in and around the 1840s, Burning Silk begins the story of the Duladier family. With a rich history of silk spinning to their name, the Duladier’s have a long family tree of maitresses extended down the female line, women who nurture and develop the moth cocon to bring about its silk. Catherine, as the youngest and newest maitresse, takes us from 1839 Grasse France, where she experiences her first painful introduction into the role of a Duladier woman; to Bucks County, Pennsylvania, a decade later as wife and mother, to launch the American-based Duladier silk enterprise. She may be on another continent, but Catherine has never escaped the inner torment of her earlier years, and she is forever anguished by the experiences of her youth. Her fear, her pain, sets about a series of events from which the Duladiers may never recover.
To say this novel is about silk spinners in the nineteenth century is a trite understatement. Silk as a fabric is sensual by definition, and though Burning Silk is marketed as ”erotic fiction,” don’t confuse it with an easy paperback romance. It is an epic work of fiction, doused in rich historical language and time, exploring the role of woman as mother, daughter, sister, lover, and self. A complex, multilayered book, Burning Silk tells a story with power and identity, letting the characters develop into themselves. It exposes given certainties and changes them; a child becoming a woman, the first experience of sexuality, confronting ones innermost desires, the voices used to speak to ourselves and others. It is truly unlike any book I’ve ever read.
Look past the editorial distractions of first and third person point of view shifts, for they are not perfectly constructed. Continue past the beginning plot, Catherine’s ordeal is glaring and painful and difficult. Read on because you will be rewarded with a lush and luxurious story, developed and fruitful, deep and melancholically beautiful.
I received this book from Destiny herself, and wasn’t sure how I would feel about the novel when I first started. As a book reviewer, however, I am pledged to objectivity and I was rewarded for persisting past the parts that would normally turn me away. The words, the characters, the immense story, won me over. I could hardly set it aside at the end. Like a true artist, Destiny Kinal amazed me with her raw talent. I eagerly await the next installment of the Duladier’s story in the Textile Trilogy.
(I received this book from the author for a fair and objective review)