The Hatmaker's Secret

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 14 Jun 2018

Member Reviews

A beautiful and at the same time heart breaking story of family and love. Make sure you have tissues ready!
Was this review helpful?
Really torn - on one level this is an intriguing book with layers around family relationships, secrets, dealing with unexpected events, and racial tolerance. On another level, it’s a family story with lots of characters and a social history of how times have changed.

Lots of ingredients for an interesting and thought-provoking book. Sadly it didn’t quite hit the mark, some characters were over played and others were almost a footnote (eg Thea’s daughter, Vanessa who is Katie’s mother but is rather a background character despite being instrumental in the later chapters).

For me there were quite a few gaps, characters that appeared and disappeared without too much fanfare or description. 

The later chapters were excellent yet disappointing- too neat, bizarre and yet lacking sufficient detail. 

3* - areally interesting book that just didn’t quite deliver for me.
Was this review helpful?
DNF at 28%.

I was really intrigued by the story. I think the race issues are fascinating. Jill Treseder succeeded in creating a unique voice for the character of Thea.

My issue with the book is the dual storyline. While Thea has a unique voice, Kate's story felt a bit flat to me. Because we know right from the start where the mystery of the baby's skin colour comes from, I found it very difficult to maintain interest in the story developing. I'm not sure actually how it could have been improved, it feels like there are two stories in one book here. I would have loved to read a linear story of Thea's story in her unique voice, I think.

I believe readers who like dual storylines with like this one though, so please take my opinion with a grain of salt!
Was this review helpful?
This was a very interesting read.  Usually i am not fond of stories which is written at different times by two females, but in this story, it worked well.  A well written book and one that i do recommend.  I hope to read more books in the near future by Jill Treseder.  

My thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers for my copy.  This is my honest review, freely given.
Was this review helpful?
I really liked this story although it took me a long time to read and to get the characters straight in my head. The issues of racial prejudice and its effect on relationships of all kinds was very deftly handled and also presented with thought.  Two distinct time periods were depicted well and the characters were generally believable and fully developed.  I would read more by this author and thank #netgalley for the opportunity to read #thehatmakerssecret
Was this review helpful?
This novel is not one I could persevere with. The narrative style felt juvenile, the language possibly reflecting the juvenile voice of the early narrator. I say early as Indid not get beyond 9% of the way through.
Was this review helpful?
Wow just like to day with all people getting DNA results !  Really believe that  we're ALL relateated so LIVE and let live!
Was this review helpful?
Love a family mystery! I received a copy from NetGalley and this is my honest review. I found this book to be extremely interesting. This is a great story about family secrets and what happens when the secrets start to see the light of day but no one is around to answer the questions one has. I would definitely recommend this book.
Was this review helpful?
This story is about having ´coloured’ skin in the family tree and how the issue surfaced in several generations of the Silking family. At the same time, it’s a story of not quite belonging, not really fitting in. It is written in the perspective of  2  female narrators at different times which makes it very interesting. I found the book thought-provoking as many relationship issues surface in this complex family history. However, at times I found it a bit difficult to keep track of all the new names appearing. Overall, a fascinating read, which I would recommend.
Was this review helpful?
When Kate and Daniel's longed for second child arrives there is a big shock,  Kate and Daniel are both fair but the child is obviously of mixed race!  Kate knows the child is Daniel's but he doesn't believe it and the rift in an already shaky marriage deepens!  Kate is determined to go back through her ancestry and find where this colouring comes from and she is convinced that the answer lies with her grandmother Thea.  Thea's story is very interesting and dates back to her being a hatmaker in the early 1900s and as we follow her life we find all of the answers. 

A good historical family saga with interesting characters and storyline especially for someone of mixed race in those days
Was this review helpful?
I found the description on Net Galley quite intriguing: However, in my opinion, I’m not sure that it really lived up to its 4 star rating on the site, even though I found the story interesting. I didn’t really warm to any of the characters, finding that they were rather two-dimensional. The young Thea, who narrated part of the strory was the most appealing, but I couldn’t really accept the premise that while she was clearly seen as a mixed race young woman, she was able to hide this as she grew older. How could you not know your mother was mixed race? It seemed just a little far fetched…The prejudices and attitudes towards Thea, and towards other members of the family were explored, and gave an interesting insight into how these attitudes have (or haven’t !) changed over the years.

However, the central theme of how secrets kept from generation to generation can cause a ripple effect down the years was sensitively handled.

And, as I have discovered this is becoming more and more important to me as I read books from Net Galley, this book was well edited, with no bizarre sentence structure, incorrect grammar or poor use of vocabulary. For that alone it deserves the three star ranking. Not great, but certainly interesting enough.
Was this review helpful?
An interesting book about the issues family secrets can cause. This brought up an issue that I had thought very little about. I found the flipping between past and present to get a bit confusing. Thea was a sad, unlikable character. She was so consumed by jealousy and hatred. Very sad.
Was this review helpful?
Interesting and most enjoyable read.  A women's novel about 3 generations, family secrets, mending differences and the strong bond of love. Meet the beautiful, Vanessa.   A book that you will not want to put down and at the end will miss these characters who have become like family.
Was this review helpful?
The Hatmaker's Secret
The Hatmaker's Secret 
by Jill Treseder (Goodreads Author)  
Change edition
My rating: 1 of 5 stars2 of 5 stars[ 3 of 5 stars ]4 of 5 stars5 of 5 starsClear
Bookshelves/tags:
Choose shelves...
read
What did you think? Formatting tips Insert book/author Enlarge text field 
Kate, a fair skinned woman, and her fair skinned husband, Daniel give birth to their second child, a girl that they named Flora. Flora is obviously a mixed race child. Kate firmly denies having an affair. However, Daniel did not accept baby Flora so he ran a genealogy test. The test proved that Flora is his child. Somewhere in Kate's ancestry someone is keeping a secret, 'The Hatmaker's Secret' by Jill Treseder tells how Kate and her mother set out to reveal the family secret. This story is told by shifting between present time and Thea (Marge) telling her story in the early 1900s. I liked this book because it analyzes deep rooted prejudice in many people of the past and today.  Kate's family is toren apart because her husband Daniel could not accept his own child with dark skin. 
I liked this book because I feel like it has a purpose. The family list in the beginning of the book is confusing. I think it could have been done better. Overall the book was good. I give it 3 1/2 stars. I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I hope  future readers find my opinion helpful.
Was this review helpful?
An interesting family history novel dealing with genes that show themselves generations later.  The author looks at the ramifications even today when a darker skinned child is born into a white skinned family.  The distrust that is immediate and the racism toward that child.  The family search for an elusive answer (ancestor) was interesting, if a little convoluted.  You will need to keep up with the family tree.  For readers of Wiseman and Montefiore.
Was this review helpful?
Really interesting story.  As a Hampshire lass I enjoyed the Hampshire references, eg Radio Solent, the M27.
Very involved plot with many generations , became a bit confusing trying to keep up with everyone but the idea is brilliant.  I would have liked more of Thea and Floras story .
Felt so t ended abruptly, maybe there will be a follow up with Flora?
Was this review helpful?
When a fair skinned couple give birth to a mixed-race child, a well-kept family secret is revealed. It emerges that Flora’s great granny Thea was mixed race, but buried her racial difference for two generations; successfully passing herself of as white.

This novel didn’t reach the expected heights for me. The story just ran rough shod over the history. Characters dropped out of sight, and Thea was someone that I just couldn’t like.

I really wanted to like this as it’s a twin timeline, historical novel that I usually love. Just didn’t cut the mustard for me. Lovely cover though.
Was this review helpful?
received an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review 

This was a bit of fresh air, really enjoyed the story and the protagonist.Loved it would like to read more from the author
Was this review helpful?
I loved every minute of involvement in the unravelling of The Hatmaker’s Secret, examining the contemporary social attitudes of a bygone era. Deliberately hidden for four generations, the matriarch’s story is exposed and celebrated in reuniting forgotten family members. A powerful retelling of lies and cover ups threading through the generations of one family.
Was this review helpful?
This family story started with just the present generations around. Grandparents, parents, the grown up children and their toddlers. It ended up going back several generations across countries and oceans to solve a puzzle which seemed insurmountable.

Kate and David are expecting their second child. The marriage is already tenuous and Kate hopes that with the birth of this baby things will settle down and they can make a go of their marriage. She did not account for her daughter Flora being born biracial to parents who were white. Davids skepticism as to Flora's origins and the general questions being asked around did not help either. It also did not help when Kate appealed to her mother Vanessa for help, her mother more or less ignored her cry for help in any way. Vanessa was nervous around her mother Thea, now in a stage of dementia and did not want to rock the boat in anyway. That she preferred to be deaf and dumb and not be supportive of Kate was a terrible flaw in her personality. 

Thea's past was a secret. Kate knew that Thea was the key to unlocking Flora's antecedents. When Thea met her great grand daughter for the first time she threw the baby away almost causing a major accident. She turned vituperative and vicious but still Vanessa and Ted (Thea's husband) were not willing to find out anything further. It is with Thea's death that Kate persuades Vanessa whilst clearing the debris of Thea's house to seek clues as to what actually was their family history.

The story mainly of Thea's past, difficult and complicated and her present life far removed from what it was unravels the difficulties of being different in a country only used to one kind of people. Not that things have changed very much even today where racism thrives in every country in one form or another.

This was an intriguing story, with especially good characterization of women in very difficult situations in life.
Was this review helpful?