Sewing Can Be Dangerous And Other Small Threads by S.R Mallery
I signed up for reading and reviewing this book due to is unusual name. I like to read a little bit from all genres and historical fiction, witches, mystery and of course romance. Needless to say I was not disappointed, especially since I learnt a bit more about ‘American Quilts’. These have fascinated me for a long time since they have a rich history and intricate hard work associated with them.
The stories are each different yet have a similar thread running through them. Quilting or sewing or textiles are a part of each story adding a unique edge to the stories. How the simple act of sewing can make a difference to so many lives, saving or endangering them. The tone, language, nuances and history of the places and characters is well captured by Susan, making for an intriguing, interesting and absorbing read. Yes, I read them back to back, each story spurning me to the next, wanting to know more and more about the people in the stories. These might have been set a long time back in history but their impact is still felt on toady when we read about them.
The book starts with the story of how even a simple task of stitches to the cloth can cause death. The second story with its title, “A Drunkard’s Path” itself starts on a sweet note but we can feel the slight edge of disquiet and sure enough we have a Quilt causing trouble. I felt for the young bride and those threads. It did seem like a familiar story to me as I was quite familiar with the folklore.
“Lettie’s Tale” reminded me of the injustice and hardships innocents faced and still do the world over.
“A Plague On Both Your Houses” was by far the most interesting read with all the different characters, colors and passion. The way the author had lined 3 generations of two families was a delightful read. It made me want to yell at the characters to hurry up and be responsible for themselves. They title can be understood only when we read it, it reminded of “Love In The Time Of Cholera” by Marquez as we got to read till the end to know the significance of the title. Susan sure knows her Shakespeare!
The Comforter was the best tale by far with the intrigue, fear, threats and the ending. The comforter had me on the edge for quite a bit. I am a fan of reading stories about the escape of Jews from the persecution and this one was a masterpiece! I could just see them swinging that filled comforter!
Murder She Sewed made for a fun read, talking of murders and then figuring out one. The unlikeliest of persons do the craziest of things!
Precious Gifts touched a chord, the innocence and faith of Kolote and Mama. A simple tale of our kindness coming back to us manifold. True Kindness has a universal language.
All the stories were well woven and finely held together. The characters made me want to learn more about them. I look forward to hearing Lettie’s Escape, how was the end of the Comforter and how sewing helped a girl to live!
A book I recommend to lovers of a little mystery, romance fuse in our life making it dangerous and fun!
(I received a copy of the book from NjKinny for an unbiased review)
The eleven long short stories in “Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads” combine history, mystery, action and/or romance, and range from drug trafficking using Guatemalan hand-woven wallets, to an Antebellum U.S. slave using codes in her quilts as a message system to freedom; from an ex-journalist and her Hopi Indian maid solving a cold case together involving Katchina spirits, to a couple hiding Christian passports in a comforter in Nazi Germany; from a wedding quilt curse dating back to the Salem Witchcraft Trials, to a mystery involving a young seamstress in the infamous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire; from a 1980’s Romeo and Juliet romance between a rising Wall Street financial ‘star’ and an eclectic fiber artist, to a Haight-Asbury love affair between a professor and a beautiful macramé artist gone horribly askew, just to name a few.
S.R. Mallery has worn various hats in her life. First, a classical/pop singer/composer, she moved on to the professional world of production art and calligraphy.?Next came a long career as an award winning quilt artist/teacher and an ESL/Reading instructor. Her short stories have been published in descant 2008, Snowy Egret, Transcendent Visions, The Storyteller, and Down In the Dirt.