4 out of 4 stars
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A Thread So Fine is one of the most memorable and inspiring historical fictions I’ve ever read. It exceeded all my expectations. My first impression was that this is an adorable story about two sisters, but it’s a haunting tale with a rich storyline about a family torn apart by secrets with two incredibly powerful women at its core. The relationship between the two sisters was consuming for me. I ached at their estrangement and rooted for their reconciliation. Susan Welch portrays a family drama mirroring her own experience and fully mastering the genre.
A Thread So Fine is the tragic story of an Irish-American family set during the mid-20th century in St. Paul, Minnesota. The Malone sisters, Shannon and Eliza, were inseparable since their birth only 11 months apart. They are just about to start their first academic year away from home. They have their whole life ahead of them, and they are excited to begin. However, tragedy strikes twice. One sister is forced to leave indefinitely. The other, while dealing with her own physical and emotional afflictions, tries to fix the situation with a little help from destiny. Is the thread between the sisters strong enough to overcome illness, secrets, and time? Can something good be born out of tragedy?
The two sisters are an epitome of women’s strength. Eliza is ambitious, intelligent, and independent, while Shannon is caring, selfless, patient, and sensible. “Shannon is an Irish pixie-queen, while Eliza is a Nordic Valkyrie”, as their Grandpa Theo said. They have different expectations from life. Between the two of them, I was most attached to Shannon’s good nature. You can’t help but care for her. The girls’ mother is another important character who has a story to tell on her own.
The book deals with many historical fiction topics, including family, illness, violent storms, labor rights, women power, religion, and men returning from World War II. You can see that the author researched thoroughly for the historical details. The author uses Frances Perkins, a real woman who held a position of power in the U.S. Government for many years and fought for labor rights. Fictionally, Frances Perkins has a significant influence on the life of one of the sisters.
The title refers to the relationship between the siblings. It also refers to the fairytale “The Princess and the Goblin”. Using thread, raisins, and a ring, the family recreates the fairytale through a sort of hide-and-seek childhood game that unites them in happy times. But what about the bad times?
I felt like the beginning was slow-paced. It took too much time before the action started. I expected things would turn around, so I hadn’t lost my interest, but it can be discouraging for some readers. Time flows very slowly at the beginning, but it gets faster and faster as the plot advances. In the end, you are hit with surprises from everywhere, so it only builds the tension to those revelations. For that reason, I won't consider this into my final evaluation.
I’m not usually a person who cries when reading books, but I’ve found myself sobbing a few times. It had a huge influence on me because I started caring about the characters, so I sped through the pages and despised when I had to pause reading. The writing carries you away into the story. The perspective goes from one sister to another, keeping the reader’s interest in both of them. The characters are realistically written and relatable.
The book is professionally edited, as I’ve only found four little typos. I recommend the book to lovers of women empowering stories, but also to those interested in family stories with well-developed characters. Because of some explicit scenes, I only recommend this books to adults. I rate A Thread So Fine by Susan Welch 4 out of 4 stars for the brilliant story, the compelling characters, and the excellent editing.
A Thread So Fine
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