I read this book as part of a group in which I participate that occasionally has discussions about quilt-related books. I sincerely disliked this book and if you have any desire to read it, don’t read this review post. I ruin the ‘surprises’ completely. The good thing is that the book got my hackles up enough to make me think about some of the issues and write this review.
This book is about family secrets. I really, really dislike family secrets. The past has a way of cropping up when least expected and at the most inconvenient times. In my life I am determined not to make any more family secrets and resolve as many of them as I can without hurting anyone.
The book is also about the abuse of women. Two of the daughters are involved with an extreme form of sexual violence while the youngest was a teen mother. I didn’t like the way the author handled these situations. First, I thought there were too many of them to be handled well or with sensitivity in one book. This could have been three books with more backstory for each of the sisters to round it out. Second, the situations were not handled in a sensitive or complete way. Third, they were handled in a kind of offhand way to create added drama. I think that is irresponsible.
One sister was the victim of domestic violence. The husband’s side of the story, the details of his arrest and some of the consequences before the trial were not discussed. I think it is important to know what is going to happen in such a situation and give women information about the signs of a budding domestic abuser. This part of the story was sprung on the reader with no warning. Perhaps that was a tactic to make us feel what the character was feeling. Additionally, the author did not discuss counseling and no resources such as shelters were discussed. This lack of information added to the feeling that the author just threw it in to add drama. I didn’t expect this book to be a “what to do if you are in an abusive situation” handbook, but it didn’t come across as realistic.
The second sister was raped as a minor. She didn’t understand that this was a crime, even as an adult. As an adult she should have known. There was no talk of going to the police in order to prevent it from happening to other girls, which seemed like a strong possibility given the man’s job.
The youngest sister got pregnant and didn’t tell anyone. She was 18 and had healthcare, I assume, through college. She just dealt with it herself, according to the story, which I find impossible to believe.
I don’t think the way Mary is described as a mother explains why Hannah and Avery accepted their situations. Mary is described as not being able to show that she cared for her daughters. She is also described as choosing a good husband and providing a stable home for her daughters.
It just doesn’t make sense that Hannah would accept rape in exchange for a letter of recommendation or why Avery would accept being abused for her ‘perfect’ life based on Mary’s actions. Also, even in the 80s and 90s women were being educated about sexual violence. I can see how Avery might have fallen into an abusive relationship, but there would have been signs early on. David would not have just changed into an abuser because of stress. Mary was not a horrible mother, even if she wasn’t perfect and the storyline that these things were because of the way she acted just doesn’t follow.
I know that the author used these topics to add drama to the story. I find these to be serious issues for women today and I resent the offhand, insensitive way in which they were handled. Women have to deal with protecting themselves every day. Trivializing important women’s issues even in a ‘chicklit’ type of novel doesn’t help anyone.
I also don’t think the quilting aspect was very important. It did tie the aspects of the story together. There also wasn’t too much detail so non-quiltmaker readers wouldn’t be put off.
The journal aspect of the story was good. The entries didn’t take up pages and pages. I don’t think the identities of the women were very clear or why they were important, even at the end. I could have just missed that part.
All in all, I am happy not to read this book again. I also will probably not read any books my Maisey Yates again.