Most novels seem to take textiles for granted; that is, they’re just part of the background and one doesn’t need to think about where they come from, even though in pre-industrial-revolutionary societies, the production of textiles is part of everyday life. (From what I can tell, at least.)
It is therefore a pleasure when I come across a novel which has textile production at least given a mention, and a joy when it’s really woven (ha! that wasn’t on purpose) into the story.
Rav Hisda’s Daughter, by Maggie Anton, is somewhere in between.
A little background: It’s set in Persia, in the time after after the fall of the Temple in Jerusalem. It’s based on stories from the Talmud. There are Jews who follow Rabbis and there are Jews who don’t. Christianity is still in its early stages. I haven’t double-checked the dates yet, but I think Islam doesn’t exist yet. The Persians are Zoroastrian and the Romans are not yet a Christian empire.
I don’t think any of the rest of what I’m writing is spoilers, but I’m going to put the rest behind a link just in case.
It’s not one of my favorite books ever, but I will be reading the sequels.