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The Embroiderer by [Kathryn Gauci]

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The Embroiderer Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 100 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


5***** pamporos
The Embroiderer reveals the futility of war and the restoration of thehuman spirit of love. I believe it is one of the vitally ...September 1, 2017
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Glittering tapestries are woven throughout the lives of four generations of womenin this engrossing novel. (The introduction and historical notes are not to be missed!) In the Prologue, we witness lovely Greek Artemis givingbirth to a baby girl in the Monastery of Nea Moni on Chios amidst thehorror of the massacre by the Turks. The baby's life is the only onesaved. Fast forward to Eleni, a gallery owner in London 1972 who knowslittle about her ancestors until she is called frantically to her Aunt's bedside as she nears death in Athens. There all, from wealth andopulence to war and famine, is finally revealed. Captivating,historically correct, fascinating and educational, The Embroidererreveals the futility of war and the restoration of the human spirit oflove. I believe it is one of the vitally important books of our time.Translated into Greek, and I hope it will be in Turkish too. It needs to be read by all. Thank you, Kathryn Gauci!
The Just-About-Cocky Ms. M
5.0 out of 5 starsThe Embroiderer Stitches a Legacy
March 9, 2015
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I adore sagas, big, fat epic stories covering generations of familymembers across a nice chunk of geography. Even better when said saga is a single book, hefty in your hands, weighty with promises made andpromises delivered, without the jolt of a cliffhanger ending requiringme to wait--and purchase--the next installment. Instant gratification,please, and a lot of it. Alas, these wonderful sagas are thin on theground.

But wait...look what I found, purely by a fortuitoushappenstance: a marvelous tapestry [no pun intended, well, maybe] of the eastern Mediterranean world beginning with the Greek struggle forindependence from the Ottoman Empire, an event overly romanticized bythe 19th century Romantics Byron and Delacroix, through the fall of theOttomans, not with a bang but a whimper, and then the Nazi occupation of Greece in World War II. The history forms the warp and weft of thistapestry, but it never rises above its supporting role, nor does it tapthe reader on the shoulder and say, "Look how much about X you'relearning!" The true beauty of this novel arises from the varied silkenthreads woven over and under and through the weft of history, some ofthose threads shining with hope, beauty, and the rosemary-scented dayswhen there is peace, while others are stained through with blood, pain,and loss, stretched until they snap...almost. The analogy of threads also extends to the tethers linking the three main protagonists throughtheir turbulent histories, together with the complex, colorfulembroideries they created in fact or by analogy--these ladies are farbeyond the counted cross stitch fad of the 1980s.

The novelalmost generates sensory overload--strong, evocative appeals to smell,touch, sound, and feeling, too often ignored, unfortunately. In theauthor's skillful hands, these sensory treats are as much a part of thestory as the words you read. In other words, there is a veritablewealth of Byzantine bits to savor along the way, so don't overlook them.

I found the juxtaposition of Dimitra Laskaris's delicate crystal saucerand embroidered napkin and the old seer's dire prophecy as the OttomanEmpire was ending to be particularly illustrative of the tensionthroughout the book--for nearly each interlude of peace and beauty thereis one or more of death and destruction, of horror and loss. Still, the women and their embroideries, stitched for themselves and for countless unfortunate, destitute women in the empire and beyond, survive, assharp and shining as their needles. Make no mistake--Dimitra, hergranddaughter Sophia, and Sophia's granddaughter Eleni are notone-dimensional "strong, feisty heroines" of many forgettable historical novels. These women show from the massacre on Chios through the end of WWII in Greece that they are not too much apart from us, or as we might have been in similar circumstances. Not a Mary Sue in the crowd!

I rarely extol a historical novel because I can always find someinaccuracies to carp about, more than a baker's dozen of peskyanachronisms, and all too often pedestrian writing. It's much easier to write a critical review than a glowing one. However, folks, here is my genuine effort to praise a novel I loved, and one I'd encourage anyoneto read at the first opportunity.
Laura L. Rahme
5.0 out of 5 starsJames Michener could not have done better.
June 30, 2016
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
James Michener, one of my favorite authors, could have written a tale set inan Ottoman world, for he was fond of complex human identities and evenspoke of the Golden Men in his best-selling novel, Hawaii. KathrynGauci's The Embroiderer has much of the Golden Men in it - but herethough, we should speak of Golden Women. Eleni Stephenson, the firstwoman we meet, is after all an impressive blend of Greek, French,Russian and English. Meanwhile, her Greek heritage bears an undeniableOttoman influence.
James Michener never wrote The Embroiderer. But he could have. It is perfect.

A vivid, cinematic tale, The Embroiderer is a richly woven family sagabeginning during the Ottoman Empire through to its downfall and endingin the 70s. On the light side, it is a tale that travellers and thosewho seek culture and oriental history will love. But it is also a taleof love, survival, loss, revenge and the search for one's identity. Itunravels the lives of four passionate women: Eleni Stephenson, her aunt, Maria, her grandmother, Sophia, and her great-grandmother, Dimitra.

Most of the story centers on the talented and shrewd Sophia who lives in the cosmopolitan Smyrna (modern day Izmir) during the early 20th century.Following in the footsteps of her embroiderer grandmother, Dimitra,Sophia runs a successful fashion boutique catering to an eliteclientele, both Turkish and Greek. In a world where both Greeks andTurks have over centuries, inherited deeply felt resentments, Sophiabecomes swept up in complex and dangerous political times, spanning from the Balkan Wars, through the Great Fire of Smyrna, the genocidal crimes involving Turks against Greeks and Armenians, and the dramaticemigration of Greeks from Turkey to Athens. Through Sophia's life, wemeet a vast cast of touching and fascinating characters. Even the minorcharacters are so well-portrayed that their fate keeps the readerinterested.

Both Dimitra and Maria were intriguing to me. Dimitra was my favorite character because of her enigmatic and old worldquality. As for Maria, given the hostility and romantic disappointmentsshe had to face in her life and her desire to be loved and admired, Ithought that her psychology was well-executed.

The Embroidererwas a fantastic, entertaining read with much depth. There is never amoment where the story loses momentum or wavers. There are two mysteries to keep one reading - what happened to the baby we learn of in thefirst chapter? And will the fortune-teller's prediction come true andhow? Yet even without those two questions, the reader is enthralled bythis hybrid Ottoman-Balkan world of romance, glamour, espionage,political turmoil and family drama.

When dealing with thepolitical, The Embroiderer, provided a well-balanced view of both Greekand Turkish sides, never judging or aligning itself. It was morefocussed on the theme of revenge. Revenge is explored both at theindividual level and on a mass social level. Both times it is portrayedas senseless, a series of actions that reap no rewards. The rich quotethat accompanies this theme opens the story, and resurfaces later, where it makes a high impact.

I learned so much from this novel. After reading it, my mind wondered to Smyrna and what it must have lookedlike before the Great Fire. I read up about the great famine thatovertook Greece during World War II, a part of history I ignored, andwhich this story touches on. The author's knowledge of the secretsocieties was intriguing while the historical detail on the whole wasexceptional without being overwhelming or boring.

Kathryn Gauciis a gifted storyteller whose passion for her subject showed. I am evergrateful that she has penned this masterful tale. Some stories changeyou. This is one of those.
Bonnie Toews
5.0 out of 5 starsRiveting 20th Century Saga Set in Asia Minor
June 27, 2016
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
The Embroiderer I loved "The Embroiderer." New writer Kathryn Gauci has written anextraordinary novel through the eyes of four generations of Greekheroines. These women are caught in tumultuous times from the bloodiestmassacres of the Greek War of Independence in 1822 to the Balkan Wars of 1912-13 through Greece during the Second WWII to Greece's more peaceful days of 1972. For North Americans, "The Embroiderer" brings Asia Minorto life along with an understanding of its clashing cultures, religiousconvictions, ruthless wars and social power struggles. How theseheroines survive amid superstition, secret forces and tragedy forges afascinating tale even more engaging than the American Civil War wherefamilies and friends were torn apart by their fight for personalfreedom. This is a story that would make a great movie and giveactresses a chance to play beautiful women who are worldly wise andheroic yet humanly flawed, who are also driven by their destinies andsuperstitious beliefs. This novel's historic significance along with its relentless suspense makes it a must read.
Kindle Customer
4.0 out of 5 starsI really enjoyed the story and found this period of history fascinating
March 25, 2018
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I really enjoyed the story and found this period of history fascinating.Sometimes, especially the start, I found quite it rushed but other parts were very beautifully written and I was immersed in the lives of thecharacters especially Dimitra and Sophia.
Viviane CrystalTop Contributor: Historical Fiction Books
5.0 out of 5 starsFamily Loyalty Reshapes History
October 2, 2016
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
For those who love a grand family saga, The Embroiderer will more thansatisfy your love of the genre. To begin with, we meet Dimitra, astrong, old-fashioned woman who raises strong daughters. Dimitra's past remains a secret until the very end of this novel but what is depictedbefore that astonishing finale is more than worth the wait!
Dimitrais the talented embroiderer, weaving together Turkish and Greek textilematerials into designs that elicit awe in the beholder, all marked with a small, beautifully colored and crafted trademark flower. While sheencourages her daughters to be educated in languages and other subjects, she also allows them space to develop their own incredible talents.One particular prophecy troubles her on and off until it comes to become reality years later.
Dimitra's daughter, Sophia, becomes a talenteddesigner of high couture women's clothing that is popular with bothGreeks and Turks, a surprise given the deep animosity between those twopeoples. Indeed

From the Back Cover

1822: During one of the bloodiest massacres of The Greek War ofIndependence, a child is born to a woman of legendary beauty in theByzantine monastery of Nea Moni on the Greek island of Chios. Thesubsequent decades of bitter struggle between Greeks and Turks simmer to a head when the Greek army invades Turkey in 1919. During this time,Dimitra Lamartine arrives in Smyrna and gains fame and fortune as anembroiderer to the elite of Ottoman society. However it is hergrand-daughter Sophia, who takes the business to great heights only tosee their world come crashing down with the outbreak of The Balkan Wars, 1912-13. In 1922, Sophia begins a new life in Athens but the memory of a dire prophecy once told to her grandmother about a girl with flamingred hair begins to haunt her with devastating consequences.
1972: Eleni Stephenson is called to the bedside of her dying aunt inAthens. In a story that rips her world apart, Eleni discovers thechilling truth behind her family's dark past plunging her into theshadowy world of political intrigue, secret societies and espionagewhere families and friends are torn apart and where a belief insuperstition simmers just below the surface.

Set against the mosques and minarets of Asia Minor and the ruins ofancient Athens, The Embroiderer is a gripping saga of love and loss,hope and despair, and of the extraordinary courage of women in the faceof adversity.

Product details

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B073WRLD8H
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ebony Publishing; 1st edition (July 12, 2017)
  • Publication date ‏ : ‎ July 12, 2017
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • File size ‏ : ‎ 1959 KB
  • Text-to-Speech ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Enhanced typesetting ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • X-Ray ‏ : ‎ Not Enabled
  • Word Wise ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 374 pages
  • Lending ‏ : ‎ Enabled
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 100 ratings

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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
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Marjory McGinn
5.0 out of 5 stars A towering achievement
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 10, 2016
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Suzi Stembridge
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a stack of finely embroidered cloths
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 13, 2015
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5.0 out of 5 stars A rich tapestry of an historical novel
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 20, 2019
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Wilma Lettings
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 24, 2016
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great saga across the ages in Greece
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 20, 2015
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