One Illumined Thread

Dispatches on 5/06/2024


A beautiful, enthralling and powerful story of three women separated by centuries, yet connected by a thread of longing and a singular creative spirit - for readers of Geraldine Brooks, Sarah Winman, Maggie O'Farrell and Pip Williams.

Longlisted for the 2023 Mark and Evette Moran Nib Literary Award.

Booktopia Best Books of 2023

In Judea, under the brutal rule of King Herod, a woman yearns for a child but is outcast when she does not fall pregnant. Against all convention, she masters the art of glassblowing, a creative act she believes will keep her dream of motherhood alive. In Renaissance Florence, a young wife is left penniless by her hopelessly unfaithful husband, and struggles to find a way to support herself and her young son. And in contemporary Australia, a talented textile conservator, devastated by loss, is desperate to regain control of her life. Each woman wants something that seems unattainable, and it will take all their courage, creativity and determination to achieve it.

A stunning, sweeping historical novel spanning two thousand years, One Illumined Thread celebrates the power and creative spirit of the female heart, as each woman finds freedom through an extraordinary connection.

'An ambitious and creative novel about ambition and creativity.' Geraldine Brooks

'A dazzling story of the intimacy between women. There is wisdom, beauty and hope in this yearning song to motherhood sought, granted, lost and denied - a remarkable novel.' Suzanne Leal

'Fans of Sarah Winman and Pip Williams will love Sally Colin-James's debut novel One Illumined Thread, an intriguing story of three women separated by centuries yet inextricably connected by their quests for self-realisation ... The author's detailed exploration of each character's creative world is extraordinary. But more striking is how the reader is moved to think, feel and ultimately cheer for the creative spirit of the female heart and its incomparable ability to illuminate the world despite extreme obstacles. One Illumined Thread is one of those rare books that will stay with you. The historical depth and authentic character development keep your mind (and heart) immersed long after that last page has been read.' Books+Publishing

'Crafted masterfully ... This is a story of love - both its presence and absence - but above all, it gives agency to its female protagonists. Extensively researched, expertly written.' Good Reading

'Stunning ... A must read for all who wish to make the world a more empowering place for women.' Georgia Free, Radio Presenter (Hope 103.2) and Podcast Host (Hope Book Club)

'So alive and brimming with story, One Illumined Thread held me captive from the start. An exquisite interweaving of history and herstory ... a compulsively good read.' Lyn Hughes, author of Mr Carver's Whale

'A gorgeously evocative, beautifully wrought story that weaves across time, connecting and illuminating the experience of creative women throughout history.' Kayte Nunn, author of The Silk House