The Lady's Slipper by Deborah Swift
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
The Lady's Slipper is symbolic. Alice is a botanist and artist. She is introduced to a rare orchid growing in a neighbor's yard. She is immediately struck by the flower, it was her deceased sister's favorite plant. She steals the plant to help it and cultivate it. She destroys a pair of slippers in the process.
To me the slippers represent the changes in life circumstances. The soft silky slippers of a lady, the clogs of the peasants, the homespun clothes of a religious group that puts off the frippery of man and turns to God, and finally the frailty of a rare orchid.
This is set in the early 1600's in England. The Quakers are gaining popularity and disdain as a religious group. The book shows the struggle of a plant, the struggle of a religious sect and the struggles of a woman. The plant struggles for life alone, the lady's slippers (Alice's) would condemn her and teach her many lessons on life and love.
This book is not a religious book. But it does explore how religion can set man against man. The book illustrates what a person will do for power and money. And finally how we look can inward to find who we are and our place in the scheme of life. This is a fantastic piece of historic fiction.
There are adult situations that are not overly graphic. I recommend only to adults. I received this book from a GoodReads first reads contest.
1660. King Charles II has returned from exile, but memories of the English Civil War still rankle. There are old scores to settle, and religious differences threaten to overturn a fragile peace. When Alice Ibbetson discovers a rare orchid, the Lady’s Slipper, growing in a wood belonging to Richard Wheeler, she is captivated by its beauty— though Wheeler, a Quaker, is determined to keep the flower where God intended it to grow. Knowing that the orchid is the last of its kind, she steals the flower, little dreaming that her seemingly simple act will set off a chain of events that will lead to murder and exile, and change her life forever… Description from GoodReads.