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THE LAST TELEGRAM
Genre: Mainstream, General Mainstream Fiction
Trenow’s debut is utterly enrapturing from the start. The first few chapters about Lily’s present-day life tease readers with a premise so intriguing it will seduce them into reading the rest of the book hungrily without stopping. Lily’s account of the silk-weaving industry and life in England during World War II is entrancing and beautifully told, and could possibly leave most readers clasping their box of tissues. The author’s research and personal experience regarding the silk business is evident through her writing, which will regale those who enjoy a touch of historical fiction. This heartbreaking, yet romantic and redeeming story is likely to stick in readers’ minds long after they finish this novel.
In England, just a few years prior to World War II, ambitious 18-year-old Lily Verner begins working for her family’s centuries-old silk weaving business. When a group of young Jewish refugee boys begin working at the silk mill, Lily falls in love with one of them — an intelligent, dark, and sultry young man named Stefan. When her family’s business begins manufacturing silk parachutes for troops, Lily makes a terrible mistake that haunts her for the decades that follow. In an effort to find inner peace, Lily takes the necessary steps toward facing the truth, and toward finally coming to terms with her longtime guilt. (SOURCEBOOKS, Apr., 416 pp., $14.99)
Reviewed By: Sarah Eisenbraun
Published: April 2013