Celebrate National Sewing Month – Sewing Fiction

September is National Sewing Month, and this year I am going to take a different approach to the celebration.  Oh, not to worry, there will still be plenty of sewing this month, projects and quilts, but this time I am going to do several book reviews for fiction with a sewing or quilting theme.  When you start to look, there are a lot of books set around sewing and quilting, so I’ll have more reviews for you this month.  Just so you won’t think I am doing this all this month, I had the idea a couple of months ago and started pulling novels with this theme to get a head start.  As usual, I will give you the ones I recommend as well as the ones you should leave on the shelf.  Affiliate links to Amazon are provided for books I liked, thank you for using my links when you can.

Books with a Sewing Theme ~ From My Carolina Home

First up, The Giving Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini.   I was surprised to read some of the other reviews and went into it thinking I might not like it.  But, for the most part, it is an enjoyable read.  Jennifer Chiaverini writes character studies, not action novels.  The backstory for the quilters who came together with one common purpose was the story.  Normally I would take longer to read, savoring each short story withing the larger convergent novel, but I just got interested.  I liked that it was set at a quilt retreat, and as I make Project Linus quilts myself, I was also happy to see that real life charity depicted.  In some ways it was difficult to read about the economic struggles and the loss of loved ones, but that is real life.  In the past this author has been criticized for not being real enough.  I didn’t take the points of view as attacks on anyone in particular or of any political view.  But then, I don’t typically go looking for a fight in the pages of a novel.  Having said that, this author is able to write whatever she wants, and if her point of view differs from mine, I hope I will heed the advice of the librarian and engage in dialogue, not just dismiss what I might not agree with.  And I hope she keeps writing.  I have enjoyed all the Elm Creek novels, not so much her historical civil war novels though.

Books with a Sewing Theme ~ From My Carolina Home

Next was A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler.   This is the first novel I have read by Anne Tyler, and it won’t be the last. Stories of family, daily living and the struggle against hardship are a nice break from mysteries. This one is just that kind of story, with characters that you like, ones you want to slap sideways, and ones you just wish weren’t part of the family. Just like my family, so I can relate. I did not care for the middle section of the book, though, as manipulative Linny and weak Junior that gets manipulated (all while knowing that he is being manipulated) irritate me to no end. I also don’t care for long sections of flashback, if you need that much time then rearrange the story and put that part first. I originally picked up this book for the title, thinking that sewing would be a part of the story, but it wasn’t. The spool of thread makes an appearance at the end as a symbol in the life of the aimless character, Denny, who maybe has a bit of insight at that point. Overall, a good story, but just four stars. I will read another Anne Tyler in the future.

Needlecraft Mysteries

Just in case you missed it, I reviewed the Needlecraft Mystery series by Monica Ferris in July. While not exactly sewing, it is set around a needlecrafting store – cross stitch and crewel are sewing of a type, aren’t they? Anyway, I like this series, and recommend it as well.

So, there are the first ones for this series on sewing fiction.  What are you reading?  Have you read any of these?

11 thoughts on “Celebrate National Sewing Month – Sewing Fiction

  1. I read the Anne Tyler. Like Rita, I enjoy her writing. Just finished Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. I like her writing as well and this was an older book (2002) that I missed somehow.

  2. Sharon Schipper

    When I was in junior high, the book that set me on my quilting path was So Dear to My Heart, later made into a Disney movie starring Burl Ives, but not like the book! The grandmother in the book was always working on her “kivers” and she made her own dyes, giving recipes: walnut husks, red and gold onion skins, purple madder root. Her quilts always had a theme or told a story.
    Oh dear, now I need to go find that book somewhere!
    Not a thing to do with sewing, but I disagree with you about Anne Perry, No Graves as Yet. This is the first in five, and introduces
    the family and makes the setting. WWI was insane and unnecessary on so many levels. I cried through this series and couldn’t put them down. I love her other two detective series, one beginning with, The Cater Street Hangman. Her character studies, her deep sense of morality. I go out of my way for a new Anne Perry. For comedy, read Elizabeth Peters (a pen name for Marion Chesney, who has several pen names!) her series is a lady Egyptologist, hilarious. The first is, A Crocodile on the Sandbank.

  3. Anne Tyler I’ve read because she’s a Maryland author and I’ve enjoyed some of her books with their local references. As far as characters sewing or sewing-themed books, I haven’t really sought them out, but I’m happy to begin! If the books I’ve written ever have a quilter or someone who sews, I’ll be sure to turn to you for consultation! Meanwhile, I’ll be continuing my parish series—the closest I can come with yarns (I couldn’t resist)—which involve a cat, dog and characters to love. ~ Julie ❤

  4. Jennie Rauch

    You know I love Jennifer Chiaverini’s Elm Creek series, not so much her Civil War series, like you. DID discover one @ the library the other day, published in 2015, tho I’ve not been able to start yet: Christmas Bells, an 1860’s tale. Stay tuned!

    1. Jennie Rauch

      Oh for pity’s sake! Started Christmas Bells & it sounded familiar. . . so I checked my annual list of books read, & sure enough, I’d already read it! My comments were: “Not my favorite. Very complex. H.W. Longfellow connection.” A memory is a terrible thing to lose!

  5. Well I didn’t know it was National Sewing month but I did get the sewing machine out today and made three pillow cases for the body pillow I sleep with. I was cleaning out some of the older sheets from when My MIL lived here and decided to make the case instead of donating the sheets. I refuse to pay the outrageous prices for comfortable body pillow cases. I may have to check out some of the books mentioned today 🙂

  6. I have read several of the Jennifer Chiaverini’s Elm Creek series and really enjoyed them. I have only read one Anne Tyler and I didn’t like it at all – I can’t even remember the title. I find Monica Ferris’s novels a nice gentle read.

  7. I have not read any of these but I do recall reading Anne Tyler in the past and liking her. I am currently reading D.E. Stevenson books that I have collected over the years and every now and again I get in the mood to re-read a few. Light, old-fashioned, generally set in an English or Scottish village, back when a nice party was described as ” a gay affair ” and a dress was a ‘frock’ 🙂

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