October 07, 2011
A Single Thread by Marie Bostwick
Evelyn Dixon's world is falling apart. After over twenty years her marriage is ending and her husband has fallen for a very young replacement for her. Her son lives in Seattle and while he is a loving person and everything she could hope for, he is too far away to be much comfort. Needing to just go away she drives from her home in Texas all the way to New England and finds herself in a town called New Bern. Its quaint and perfect and when she stumbles upon an old abandoned building she sees the potential for making one of her dreams come true; opening a quilt shop. She makes the big move and while everything doesn't go according as planned she opens her quilt shop months later.
Unfortunately sales don't come quickly but that's when a friend of hers, Charlie with his charming Irish accent and keen taste for keeping wonderful food in his restaurant, gives her the inspiration to take part in "Quilt Pink" day. Quilt Pink is actually a real life event that takes place every year and helps raise money towards breast cancer research. Thousands of people and quilt shops across the nation take part in this event.
Bad luck strikes though when just a day before the event takes place, Evelyn finds out that she has breast cancer. She makes it through the event ok but finds herself breaking down in front of three strangers. Margot is unemployed but an absolute joy and warm spirit who rallies around Evelyn and wants to help all she can. Abigail is a rich woman who participates in numerous charities but never feels connected to anyone and is greatly surprised when she is roped into helping Evelyn. Liza is Abigail's niece and due to a parole hearing currently living with her despite the fact that they have been estranged all of Liza's life. Together these unlikely three along with Charlie and Evelyn's son help keep her spirits up through this trying time and also help keep her fledgling quilt shop afloat.
The characters in this novel are amazing. Bostwick does a wonderful job of making you really experience them as people and this causes them to be very lifelike. I especially loved Charlie, who despite his gruff exterior, was really quite a charming romantic who can cook up a storm. Evelyn was an inspiration and although I've never experienced breast cancer myself or had any immediate relatives who have either, I have experienced the pain of family members having other cancers and the theme of this book really resonates with me. With my limited knowledge I think Bostwick did a wonderful job of expressing the emotions that come along with the disease.
Her writing is very clear and emotional. At times I could feel tears coming to my eyes at the plights of some of the characters. That is always an indicator of exceptional writing to me. The book is told in the first person from both Abigail's and Evelyn's eyes and Bostwick does a nice job of transitioning back and forth between them. They are both very different narrators and it's interesting to see the different perspectives they have from one another. Another element to this book is that I think it could be considered Christian fiction. While there is not a lot of it mentioned there is some writing on Christian elements and attending church. This could be a bonus for a lot of readers.
This book is definitely one that is hard to put down. I wanted it go on forever but knew it must end eventually and was pleased with the way it did. Its a wonderful telling of a unique friendship and a triumph over adversity. It also inspired me to seek out the next Quilt Pink function and participate. Absolutely amazing reading.
A Single Thread
328 pages plus an author's note and reader's guide.