Words || Lauren Chater
The Estonian word for fate is saatus which conveys not only a path that is predetermined, but one which is entrenched in the culture and folklore of the place in which the subject lives.
My moment of saatus occurred as I was shelving books in my local library one warm Sunday afternoon in 2014. As I pushed the trolley along, avoiding the bung wheel which kept trying to trip me over (most library trollies have at least one bad wheel), I found myself in the craft section where I stumbled across a book called Knitted Lace of Estonia by Nancy Bush.
Intrigued by the title, I pulled it down, determined to check it out for later perusal. When I finally got around to reading it, I was astonished by what I found within its pages.
Part history, part craft manual, it told the story of Estonia’s rich shawl-making tradition which had started in the small coastal town of Haapsalu in the late 19th Century, when Estonia was beginning to assert her independence from the Baltic German nobles and the rich Russian landowners who ruled Estonia at that time.
Leafing through the beautiful shawl patterns, I had an image of a novel which would explore Estonia’s part in WW2 beneath the occupying forces of both the Russians and the Nazi’s through the eyes of a young Estonian master knitter, a girl who had been taught by her grandmother how to retell the stories of her people through the lace.
I knew I had to tell that story the best way I knew how. Finding Knitted Lace was just the beginning of a journey which led me to many more serendipitous discoveries and revealed to me the courage and resilience of the Estonian people whose capacity for survival knows no bounds.
About the author
Lauren Chater writes historical fiction with a particular focus on women’s stories. After working in the media sector for many years, she turned her passion for reading and research into a professional pursuit.
In 2014, she was the successful recipient of the Fiona McIntosh Commercial Fiction Scholarship. In addition to writing fiction, Lauren established The Well Read Cookie, a blog which celebrates her love of baking and literature. The Lace Weaver is her first novel, and she is currently working on her second, Gulliver’s Wife. She lives in Sydney with her husband and two children.