The Girl Who Wrote in Silk

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk

by Kelli Estes


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781492608332
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication date: 07/07/2015
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 30,639
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Kelli Estes lived in the deserts of eastern Washington state and Arizona before settling in the Seattle area. She's passionate about stories that help us see how the past shaped who we are today, and how we all have more in common than we think. The Girl Who Wrote in Silk is her first novel.

Emily Woo Zeller is an Audie and Earphones Award-winning narrator, voice-over artist, actor, dancer, and choreographer. AudioFile magazine named her one of the Best Voices of 2013. Her voice-over career includes work in animated film and television in Southeast Asia.

Read an Excerpt


Sunday, February 7, 1886-just past sunset

Puget Sound, Washington Territory

Mei Lien felt the steamship shudder beneath her feet and wondered if the quaking of her own body had caused it.

"You don't have a choice," Father hissed. Before she knew what was happening, he'd prodded her to the ship's cold metal railing. "Climb up, Mei Lien."

She looked at him in horror. She'd always obeyed him without question. But this? "I can't." She pressed a hand to where her heart pounded in her chest and felt the coin purse under her bindings. "Please!"

His face hardened. "Do not disappoint me, Daughter. Do it. Now!"

His tone made her fear recede long enough for her to hear her own voice of reason. It told her Father was right. She had no other choice.

Shaking, she climbed up on the railing to sit at the top, her hands holding tight to the wet metal bar. Beneath her right palm, she felt a pockmark where someone had painted over an old chip. She wondered if that was the last thing she'd touch before death.

Before Mei Lien could say another word, Father placed his palms at the small of her back and pushed her off the steamship.

"Bàba!" she screamed, the words echoing as she fell. Her breath left her as she hit the bitterly cold water. Icy fingers dragged her into the void below.

Somehow she found the strength to fight. Kicking and clawing at the water, she dragged herself upward, her lungs on fire.

As her head broke through the surface, she dragged in lungfuls of air between racking coughs. When she managed to wipe the water from her eyes with her fingers, she saw the ship passing dangerously close. Father stood at the railing but his back was to her, as if he hadn't just cruelly pushed his only child to what could be her death.

A wave splashed over her face, and she felt herself sinking again. This time her limbs felt stiff and her muscles were starting to cramp in the near-freezing water. Instinct took over, making her feet kick as she dragged her body away from the ship with her arms, as Father had taught her all those years ago. She shut off her mind and swam, with no idea of what she might be heading toward.

Mei Lien's head pounded from the cold. With each kick, her limbs ached to rest, to give in to the pull from below that promised ease and warmth.

She looked one last time toward the ship, but it was little more than a distant blur of light growing smaller.

Her family was gone from her. Her life was gone from her. If she gave in to the pull of the water, what would it matter?

She stopped trying to fight and let herself fall into the water's frigid grasp, willing it to carry her to the spirit world. She even saw death coming. It rose out of the water as a huge, black sea monster, one glaring yellow eye boring into her aching head. Just as the monster grabbed her, she felt the void take over her mind.

She welcomed it.

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The Girl Who Wrote in Silk 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 24 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author skillfully wove a very moving story around Mei Lien from the 19th century and Inara from the present. The book opened my eyes to the horrible persecution of the Chinese in our country in the past. The research that went into writing the book was impressive! I really liked this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
this book was recomended to me by a librian, and friend who loves good fiction as much as i do. i was intriged by the title and devoured every word of this beautiful novel. thanks for this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book i have read in a long time loved the stories of mei lie and irana and how their families were all connected
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Probably one of the most amazing books ever. The story actually tore at my heart, be prepared to feel some of the strongest emotions ever. The writing is so descriptive you feel you are right there, hearing the waves, smelling the forest, and seeing all the beauty of the Orcas Island. I had never heard of this part of our country's history, it should be taught in our schools. Be prepared for one of the best books ever!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written, complex and interesting plot. Great read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved reading this book with its contrast between modern and historic times. Historic fiction that painted clear pictures though its good writing.
Anonymous 3 months ago
Discrimination against different groups has existed for centuries. Here is a sweet story about one family.
Anonymous 11 months ago
Author is very talented and wove in history with romance and heartbreak in the most delightful story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The parts of the story that tell of Mei Lein were interesting , however the rest of the book was just too romantic and saccharine for this reader.The novel might have appeal to young adults .
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A well told story that reminds me of something Lisa See would write. I was pulled in immediately; author created believable characters and the duality of the history kept me wanting more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sometimes books come along that just fill your heart. This is one. The story of Mei Lien and Inara is compelling and timely. Racism, injustice, and love are all explored by the author. Highly recommended !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books i have read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reads fast. Keeps your interest. Good story line but weakens at end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful book! Loved the characters and the historical time period. Easy to read and a story that you never wanted to stop! Looking forward to reading more from this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
SUEHAV More than 1 year ago
Way too many coincidences. Had to force myself to finish. Very predictably happily ever after.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book should be made into a movie. The interwoven layers of culture, human experiences, gender issues, family issues all enveloped in interact detail and creative expression- it's simply to die for. I couldn't put the book down. Awesome work! I would recommend it to any of my finicky fellow writers or family members.
Romance_ReaderHF More than 1 year ago
I don’t run into a 5-star read very often-this is one. The Girl Who Wrote in Silk follows the stories of 2 women. Mei Lien, is a Chinese woman who lived in the late 19th century. Inara Erickson is a modern woman who is trying to unearth Mei Lien’s story after finding an elaborate embroidered sleeve hidden in the property she recently inherited. As the book unfolds, we learn more about each woman’s life, and their 2 stories are intertwined. The book is well plotted, well written, and well researched. The story deals with prejudice, intolerance, love, and honor. It was written in 2015 but it felt incredibly timely in early 2017. While there are tragedies in both women’s lives, the book left me feeling uplifted. The reader learns more about Mei Lien than Inara does, and some details of Mei Lien’s story are not revealed at all, but the ending was extremely satisfying. My biggest disappointment with this book was going online and discovering that the author has not yet written another book! I will be looking for future works by Kelli Estes.
DeborahMO More than 1 year ago
Best book I've read in a while. So interesting that I didn't want to stop reading it. You cannot go wrong with this book. I urge you to read it soon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved the intertwining stories told in this book of the lives of Mei Lie and Irana. At any free moment, I had to pick up the book to see what would be happening next. Now that I've finished it and completely enjoyed the book, I hope I can find another equally as well written.
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
I just finished a marvelous novel from Kelli Estes. It is called The Girl Who Wrote in Silk. I just loved this book and did not want it to end. The book starts out in February 1886 in Puget Sound, Washington Territory. Liu Mei Lien (Liu is her surname) works with her father in his shop in what is now Seattle in Washington Territory. The white people in the area are not happy with the Chinese. They do not like them coming in and taking their jobs. Mei Lien dresses like a boy as protection when she is out in the city (a girl could be attacked). One morning just after Mei Lien awakened there are white men outside their homes with weapons. All the Chinese are being escorted out of the city to a ship called the Prince of the Pacific. Mei Lien, her father, Liu Huang Fu, and her grandmother (who is frail) are forced onto the ship (and have to pay for passage). The ship is to take them to San Francisco. Once the ship is underway Mei Lien overhears Duncan Campbell (owner of ship) talking about the Chinese on the ship. Campbell has no intention of allowing the Chinese to stay on his ship. He is going to dump them into the water when they get far enough out. When Mei Lien tells her father what is going to happen, he gives her his money bag and, when they are near the last island before open water, he pushes her off the ship. Inara Erickson has just inherited her Aunt Dahlia’s estate on Orca Island called Rothesay (near Seattle, Washington). Inara loved going their when she was younger before the death of her mother. Inara has just graduated from graduate school (majored in business) and has a job lined up at Starbucks. Inara is a descendant of Duncan Campbell. Her family runs the business Campbell started. It was originally called Campbell Lines but is now called Premier Maritime Group. PMG is run by Charles Erickson (Inara’s father). Charles has high expectations for his daughter. He expects her to sell the estate and return to Seattle. Inara is exploring the house when she discovers a loose step in Aunt Dahlia’s house (she lived in a little house behind Rothesay). There is a cloth wrapped bundle in the step. When Inara unwraps it she finds a beautifully embroidered blue silk sleeve. It has lovely silk embroidery picturing scenes. Inara would like to discover more about the sleeve. She feels that it is important. Inara calls Dr. Daniel Chin who teaches China studies. This sleeve leads Inara and Daniel on a journey into the past. We get to find out what happened to Liu Mei Lien after she was shoved into the water near Orcas Island. It is amazing how the past can affect the present. This is a moving book that will captivate you from the very first page. I give The Girl Who Wrote in Silk 5 out of 5 stars. This is one of the best books I have read this year. The Girl Who Wrote in Silk is superbly composed. It is one of those books that you will continue to think about for days after you have finished reading it. This is Kelli Estes first novel and I impatiently await her next book. I received a complimentary copy of The Girl Who Wrote in Silk from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own.