22 September 2016

Review: A Tapestry of Secrets by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Promising but Slow

When Ella's grandmother has a stroke and needs in-home care, quilt artist Ella is happy to volunteer both to help Gran, and to escape Mark, her ethically-challenged overbearing ex-fiance. Here she spends time with her parents, and with Aunt Sadie, who never married.

The story is told in two points of view, in two separate timelines. The present timeline is mostly Ella's story, with some scenes from Gran, Perla. But the stroke has affected Perla's ability to speak, which means she can't share the big secret in her life: the identity of Sadie's father.

The past story is Perla's story from the summer she met Sadie's father and the events leading up to her conception. This is interesting because it gives momentum to the present story, but it was the present story, Ella's story, which engaged me more.

Ella's family live in a small town where their history goes back several generations, which gives the novel a sense of place which fascinates me (a first-generation immigrant to New Zealand). Ella places a lot of importance on the past, on past traditions--perhaps too much, perhaps to the point where she worships tradition over God. There were some great pearls of wisdom around this, especially around our plans vs. God’s plans:
You get to the place where you want whatever the Lord wants and you'll find you have more than you ever dreamed.
Getting things wrong is nothing more than one of the steps on the way of getting them right. All you've done is learn a valuable lesson.
Anything God gives you is sure to be better than what you thought you wanted in the first place.
I thought the first half of A Tapestry of Secrets was excellent. Great characters, great writing, and lots of fascinating questions (although this is part of a series called Appalachian Blessings, and I got no sense of place. It could have been set in any small town in America).

But I thought the second half lost its way. It felt slower, almost as though it was going around in circles and not getting anywhere. The end finally came and was good, but I got frustrated by the whole Mark subplot (if he was such a slimeball, why did she not tell her parents? There was no reason for keeping that a secret).

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Sarah Loudin Thomas at her website, and you can read the introduction to A Tapestry of Secrets below:

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