Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Tapestry of Secrets by Sarah Loudin Thomas

This is a character driven novel so I'll describe them.

Perla is the grandmother of the story. Sixty years ago she had a child out of wedlock. While she has kept the identity of the man from her daughter all this time, she now wants to reveal the truth. Before she can, however, she has a stroke.

Sadie is Perla's daughter. She is a successful college professor. While she has spurned her mother's previous hints of revealing her biological father, she now wants to know. Her mother's stroke makes it imperative Sadie know her father's medical history.

Ella is Perla's granddaughter. She dreams of living an artist's life in the old farmhouse. She finds herself returning to her home town to take care of her grandmother instead. That move is one she gladly makes. It allows her to escape the unwanted attention of a man she once dated. Her life gets a little complicated when two eligible men in her home town show interest in her.

This novel was difficult for me to read. Nothing really grabbed me about the plot nor the characters. Perla ends up having two strokes. That seemed unnecessary to me as one would have been sufficient for the plot. The narrative switches back and forth between 2008 and 1948. A present action stirs a memory in Perla and we go back to the era of the secret boyfriend. At times the transitions were so seamless it took me a paragraph or two to realize the time change. That was disconcerting. I felt the novel moved very slowly and it was just not a compelling novel for me.

I also had a little difficulty with Ella. I can't believe she accepted a lunch invitation from a fellow she never wanted to see again, having dated him and then broken off the relationship. And later in the novel she emails him. She regrets her actions a short time later. I like a character I can admire and Ella was not one.

There were several issues introduced into this novel besides the birth of a child out of wedlock sixty years ago. A secondary character is buying up land to make a hunting preserve. There is some issue about the land being removed from the families who have had it for generations. Another issue regards the small local church. It seems to be dying and some think the property should be sold to the hunting preserve fellow. Others think there is too much heritage in the building to let it go. Is the church the building or the people?

I always like to learn something when I read fiction and I wish there had been more about the unusual quilts Ella made. They were apparently amazing and sold well so I would have like to know more about the style, technique, etc.

People who like character driven stories set in Appalachian country may like this one. There is a clear presentation of the gospel included as well as much discussion about Christian beliefs.

You can read an excerpt here.

My rating: 3/5 stars.

Sarah Loudin Thomas is a fund-raiser for a children's ministry. She has a bachelor's degree in English from Coastal Carolina University. She is the author of two previous novels. She and her husband live in Asheville, North Carolina. You can find out more at www.sarahloudinthomas.com.

Bethany House Publishers, 304 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this novel from the publisher for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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