Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Review: The Wishing Thread by Lisa Van Allen
Here is the summary from the publisher's website:
"The Van Ripper women have been the talk of Tarrytown, New York, for centuries. Some say they’re angels; some say they’re crooks. In their tumbledown “Stitchery,” not far from the stomping grounds of the legendary Headless Horseman, the Van Ripper sisters—Aubrey, Bitty, and Meggie—are said to knit people’s most ardent wishes into beautiful scarves and mittens, granting them health, success, or even a blossoming romance. But for the magic to work, sacrifices must be made—and no one knows that better than the Van Rippers.
When the Stitchery matriarch, Mariah, dies, she leaves the yarn shop to her three nieces. Aubrey, shy and reliable, has dedicated her life to weaving spells for the community, though her sisters have long stayed away. Bitty, pragmatic and persistent, has always been skeptical of magic and wants her children to have a normal, nonmagical life. Meggie, restless and free-spirited, follows her own set of rules. Now, after Mariah’s death forces a reunion, the sisters must reassess the state of their lives even as they decide the fate of the Stitchery. But their relationships with one another—and their beliefs in magic—are put to the test. Will the threads hold?"
This was a fantastic book to get me in the mood for autumn. It takes you away to the small town that the Van Ripper sisters are from, and by the end of the book, you don't want to leave. The author really has a way with words that makes you feel like you are listening to an old grandmother tell a story about "those ladies across the street", which definitely helps to set the mood for the whole book.
I connected with Aubrey's character immediately. Maybe because I sort of connected with her. We're both super awkward. Luckily, I have better luck with boys and my social life. Her sisters Bitty and Meggie I also really liked. They definitely have the whole sister dynamics thing right. At times they bicker just like me and my sisters.
My favorite part about this book besides the writing and the setting is definitely all of the knitting involved. I loved that each chapter had a knitting instruction for a title. I loved how much Aubrey connected to her knitting. I loved how excited Nessa was to learn to knit. I could really connect with that feeling as an avid knitter myself, and I know a lot of knitters who read will also love this book for that same reason.
Bits of the book reminded me of the movie Practical Magic (which I know was a book first but I have yet to read it!), which is one of my favorite movies, so I think that may have also affected my opinion of this book. All in all, I think it is a wonderful book about community and family and life, and it may be one of my favorites of the year.
Favorite lines (pages numbers refer to the numbers on my Nook, not necessarily the pages in the print version):
Page 96 (chapter 9): Aubrey sighed. This morning, before she'd lifted her head from her pillow, she knew without going to the window that it was going to be just the kind of fall day that she liked-the kind of day that starts off cold and dark but warms like a crackling fire in the afternoon. The kind of day to pick apples or knit with thick wool. She'd pulled on her favorite pair of jeans and a thick Aran sweater that was big enough to get lost in.
Title: The Wishing Thread
Author: Lisa Van Allen
Date of Publication: September 3rd, 2013
Number of Pages: 400