by Lisa Van Allen
The Van Ripper women have always been knitters, using the yarn from their shop to create gloves and hats for the residents of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow. The Stitchery, as their home/place of business is called, has long been in decline, as the neighborhood around it falls in disrepair, but old Mariah has stubbornly refused to sell it to redevelopers. For the items made by the Van Ripper women are magic spells that can change a life, and the power to knit spells has been passed from one woman to the next for generations. On Mariah’s death, her niece Aubrey expects to inherit the Stitchery as she inherited her aunt’s magical gift. Instead, the house is divided equally between Aubrey and her two sisters. As Aubrey struggles to convince her sisters of the Stitchery’s importance, she must also deal with burgeoning feelings for her friend Vic and organizing a political campaign to save her home and its ramshackle neighborhood.
The part of the book that resonated most strongly with me was the descriptions of knitting and how each creator worked a bit of herself into the project. The textures were so real that I could almost feel the yarns in my hands, and I recognized that tension between intense concentration and drifting thoughts that happens whenever an artist is working. I truly enjoyed Aubrey’s pouring of herself into her magical pieces.
But while I found these passages to be beautiful, a lot of the day-to-day scenes left something to be desired. Each sister is a fairly predictable trope. The eldest sister was driven and ambitious, but her children and wealth can’t compensate for her failing marriage. Aubrey is a bookish librarian content to spend most of her time alone setting the world to order, whether that’s through shelving books in a row or creating neat lines of stitches from a ball of yarn. She’s afraid to step out of her comfort zone, but once forced to she is able to bring the town together. Meggie, the youngest of the three women, is the wild child who ran away from home and roamed the world, virtually homeless and out of touch for years.
But I’m nitpicking. Certainly, the magical world of the Stitchery is hard to forget, and if you’re a knitter I think you’ll really enjoy the story and its characters. It’s definitely a book that I could see in a lot of Christmas stockings this year.
3.5 out of 5 stars
To read more about The Wishing Thread, buy it or add it to your wishlist click here.
Peeking into the archives...today in:
2012: Other Ologies Titles
2011: Fashionista Piranha on hold for a few weeks!
2010: Cinderella: From Fabletown with Love by Chris Roberson & Shawn McManus
2009: Going on hiatus...
2008: Contest: Patrick Rothfuss and Heifer International