Official Review: THREADS A Depression Era Tale

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CommMayo
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Latest Review: THREADS A Depression Era Tale by Charlotte Whitney
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Official Review: THREADS A Depression Era Tale

Post by CommMayo »

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "THREADS A Depression Era Tale" by Charlotte Whitney.]
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4 out of 4 stars
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THREADS: A Depression Era Tale by Charlotte Whitney is set in rural Michigan during the Great Depression. Told from the point of view of three sisters growing up on a farm, the novel paints a stark picture of the struggle to keep a family and community afloat in the 1930s. Seven-year-old Nellie’s discovery of a dead baby in a shallow grave near her family’s property sparks a series of events that impact her family and lays the foundation for the novel. Irene, eleven, and Flora, seventeen, join their younger sister to surreptitiously sleuth out the mother of the baby, contrary to their parents’ wishes. When rumors start to spread throughout their small community, Flora finds that she has the most to lose if they don’t figure out who the baby belonged to.

Spanning just under a year, THREADS provides the reader with an interesting cast of characters seen through the eyes of each girl. There are exuberant ministers, traveling gypsies, and occasional vagabonds stopping by the farm for charity bean sandwiches. Each girl regards situations differently and they often offer contrasting accounts of the same events. An epilogue that takes place in 1974 provides a welcomed final chapter to the lives of the interesting women the reader comes to care deeply about.

Charlotte Whitney’s creative approach to telling the story from three different viewpoints was an ambitious gamble that paid off in spades. I loved how each sister was able to share her unique take on events and how each voice was commensurate with the narrator’s level of maturity. The representation of the starkness of life during the Great Depression was eye-opening; many modern readers have very little experience with the level of poverty and hunger that is pervasive throughout the novel. Whitney also manages to weave in scenes of joy and celebration despite the hardships that surround her characters. Her use of young Nellie often helps to alleviate some of the bone-crushing sorrow that was ever-present in that era.

The novel begins with a warning about the use of mid-Michigan farm dialect throughout the book. This is most prevalent with Nellie and might pose a bit of a stumbling block for non-native English speakers. As someone who grew up in Pennsylvania Dutch country, I easily fell back into the vernacular of my youth. The use of language, references to current events, and descriptions of foods common to the era of making do with less come together to create a wonderful novel that is a snapshot of history.

THREADS is entertaining as well as educative, and I recommend it to lovers of historical fiction and coming of age stories. The rich characters and excellent storytelling will transport any reader to 1934 rural Michigan. This professionally produced book earns all 4 out of 4 stars, as I loved every minute I spent with the sisters.

******
THREADS A Depression Era Tale
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Laura Lee
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Post by Laura Lee »

What a unique storyline, juxtaposing tragedy and mystery with such young protagonists! You refer to it as historical fiction, but is there anything to suggest that it was actually based on an actual event?

I really enjoyed your description and analysis of the book. Thanks for a great review!
Laura Lee

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Michelle Fred
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Post by Michelle Fred »

This sounds like a charming story, but I doubt it will resonate with me. I have no knowledge or connection to the place or times in the novel. Thanks for the thorough review.

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Nisha Ward
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Post by Nisha Ward »

It's a true joy when an author manages to blend a mix of unique voices together for a tale about community and family. It also certainly sounds like young Nellie's discovery is quite the shocker to the community in question.
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Post by Cecilia_L »

I enjoy books that offer varying perspectives as you described in this one. Thanks for the recommendation.

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Post by wendilou49 »

Thank you for a great review. This is indeed historical fiction, telling the story of an era I have heard mentioned many times. Your description of these book and its characters makes me want to read it soon. Thanks for sharing!

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wendilou49
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Post by wendilou49 »

Laura Lee wrote: ↑
23 Feb 2020, 02:41
What a unique storyline, juxtaposing tragedy and mystery with such young protagonists! You refer to it as historical fiction, but is there anything to suggest that it was actually based on an actual event?

I really enjoyed your description and analysis of the book. Thanks for a great review!
Laura, I do think this is historical fiction. The events are common to those experienced in the depression, using fictional characters to play the roles. My opinion

Wendi j

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Prisallen
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Post by Prisallen »

What a wonderful way to learn about the history and hardships of that time in America. The characters sound very believable and interesting. Thanks for a well-written and informative review!

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Mbrooks2518
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Post by Mbrooks2518 »

IT seems like the author did a great job of capturing the setting and time period. Great review!

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