This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Susan Wiggs and her books have long been favorites of mine in the past. After not reading one for awhile, I decided to jump back into with this one and while it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be, it was still a delightful(mostly)read for me. Mostly because the subject matter includes domestic violence and that could be a trigger for some. Just a heads up.
Carolyn left Oysterville ten years previously to study fashion to fulfill her lifelong dream of working in the world of high fashion as a designer. She succeeds in many ways until it’s all ripped away from her. Tragedy follows on the heels of that and she finds herself taking two small children(not hers)back to Oysterville with her. Recovery for both her and her young charges is much needed and her family home is just the thing for them. Of course, her longtime friend/crush Will, now married to her high school best friend, is back home as well. While deciding what to do, she kind of falls into being asked to design and make several hundred shirts, something she can’t do alone. She also wants to do something for domestic abuse survivors and so The Oysterville Sewing Circle is born.The woman members are survivors and while not everyone helps with the sewing, they all feel better for the companionship of other women with the same problems. Of course, there’s also a romance.
This story jumps back and forth through time. We meet Will and Carolyn as older children as they explore the ocean and all the nooks an crannies of the town. They are pretty much inseparable, but that all changes when Sierra moves to town. Carolyn became pretty much the third wheel, although a welcome one. In the present, Will is still the good guy, the man everyone loves, but that can’t compete with Sierra’s wanderlust and need for a huge career.
There’s a lot going on in this book. Not only do we have the book within a book with the past and present, but there’s also the New York fashion scene, the time spent with the heartbroken children, the addition of the sewing circle and all the women characters involved, and that’s not even going into the romance or Carolyn trying to forge a new career. Even with all that, in the beginning, I thought it a bit slow and kept putting it down. I had no idea where it was going either. I wondered if it was going to be a mystery, a romance, or just a heartwarming story. In a way, it ended up being all of those things. Once I really got into the story, I was finally hooked and ended up quite enjoying the read.
The best part of the book for me was the characters. I wasn’t as big a fan of Carolyn’s as I was Will, but still I liked her. The children were so sweet and heartbroken and I felt for them all the way through the read. The women of the Sewing Circle, while not necessarily from the same backgrounds, became part of the story and I enjoyed them as well. Carolyn’s family were also a welcome addition to the story. There is, of course, a villain-one that I wanted to knock upside the head a few times myself! Enough said.
I would recommend this to adult chic lit or romance readers. It’s got a small mystery, but I don’t consider it one. And FYI, this book doesn’t contain cheating.