Liberty Silk – Hollywood, Finistere, London – Kate Beaufoy

liberty silk

Not a set costume piece as the cover and title might suggest but rather a journey back in time to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood of the 40s and Paris of  1919 and the secrets hidden behind the polished facades

Story in a nutshell

France 1919: Jessie is celebrating the last heady days of her honeymoon. But when her husband suddenly disappears she finds herself bereft. Until a chance encounter thrusts her into the centre of the intoxicating world of Parisian high life.

Hollywood 1945: Lisa has come a long way from her quiet, unassuming life in London and is taking Hollywood by storm. But all that glitters is not gold, and as the smoke and mirrors of the lifestyle she so longed for shatter around her there are some secrets she can never escape.

Liberty Silk tells the stories of three different women in three different eras, Jessie, Baba and headstrong Cat. Their stories intertwine in unexpected ways and a fascinating account of different lives and different eras unfolds.

Place and setting

From London to Finistere to Hollywood, this is quite a journey!
From London to Finistere to Hollywood, this is quite a journey!

Liberty Silk tells the stories of three different women in three different eras –

Paris 1919 –  Jessie is a newlywed and so when her husband vanishes while on their honeymoon, she is devastated and bereft. In a strange city on her own,

Baba soon finds that the dreams she had of hollywood are not all the are cracked up to be and that the reality behind the glitz is something else entirely. She finds herself in situations that she doesn’t want to be in and has decisions to make but not before she explores some of the hollywood landscape further.

London, 1965 – Cat is a photographer who really believes and wants to make a difference in the world with her work. The reality of being in some of the most shocking and war torn places around the world really show her the brutality of human behaviour and suffering and it opens her eyes to so much.

It’s not just the settings that are evocative of a different time and place. For in which other novel do we ‘meet’  Coco Chanel, the Fitzgeralds and Pablo Picasso?

The landscapes and settings are all so wonderfully evoked so when you realise that the author Kate Beaufoy wrote this based on letters from her Grandmother, Jessie Beaufoy, who fell in love with a painter in France, the authentic touch is something that is invaluable and places the novel on another level.

As an extra treat at the end of the book, Kate has written a beautiful situation involving her Grandmother, as well as a quiz to find out which character from the book you would be – it’s a really lovely little touch to finish off.

liberty silk

After having read TheDress Thief by Natalie Meg Evans and The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott, this caught my eye as it seemed to be as sumptuous and fashion orientated as the others. It  unravels in a vintage style theme with letters written long ago about a love affair with a painter during WW1 forming the basis of this lovely winding story. The real inspiration for this story were the letters written by the author’s grandmother jessie Beaufoy a character in the book and this makes for a unique and poignant angle for the story.

The dress – from Liberty’s of London of course – is a feature and is part of the heritage passed down here from one woman to another,coming to mean a lot more than  a simple dress.

It was lovely to read how the author got the idea for this novel from real life  – her own – and how she used this to blend and weave a story of fiction through the ages that all of us could enjoy and take heart in.

If you desire the cover and wish to indulge in the time periods it suggests then you could not do better than to lounge in your finest silk dress and feather bower whilst reading this, a glass of wine in one hand, reclining on a vintage chair.

Its sad, poignant yet full of hope as three different women in different times find their own way of getting through life and doing the best they can. From the glittering streets of Hollywood to the artistic alleyways of Paris, this is a whirlwind tour of some stunning and thrilling locations that you will not have experienced before – well not like this!

Quite remarkable.