Saturday, April 27, 2024

THESE TANGLED THREADS (A Novel of Biltmore) by Sarah Loudin Thomas, Reviewed by Rebecca Maney

"He marveled, uncertain how the tangled threads of their lives had come together to create this gorgeous pattern."

Tangled threads. Master weaver Lorna Blankenship was tearing her hair out over untangling the tangles that her young weaver constantly manufactured, if in fact she was actually doing what she was supposed to be doing, which was consistently rare. Gentry had plenty of energy, it was simply unharnessed, unpredictable and undeniably going in wrong directions. Ironically, the fourteen year old ended up possessing something that took Lorna by complete surprise . . . Gentry had extraordinary patterns stashed away in her room, the kind that would produce exquisite fabrics for Biltmore Industries  . . . and the little scamp claimed they were her mother's? It becomes a moot point who had ownership of what, when Gentry disappears, leaving Lorna with a guilt-ridden hole in the pit of her stomach.

Years later, Lorna accepts a commission for a one-of-a-kind design for Cornelia Vanderbilt's upcoming nuptials, and uncharacteristically begins to panic when inspiration eludes her. She turns to friend Arthur Westcott, (with whom her relationship has taken many confusing twists and turns) to help her search for an artisan weaver whose talent she happened upon in a local market. The ensuing journey takes the two on a crisscrossing of mountain towns and trails, spending the kind of time together that could weave the complicated experiences of their past and present into a fabric strong enough to ensure their future.
Told with the beautiful Biltmore Estate and Village as a backdrop, concurrently using a three tiered set of character voices, the author succeeds in bringing the illustrious history of the area into the spotlight while celebrating the talented artisans whose stories should be impossible to separate from the success of their benefactors.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher through Interviews and Reviews. I also purchased a copy. The opinions stated above are entirely my own. 3.5 stars

BackCover Blurb:
Seven years ago, a hidden betrayal scattered three young friends living in the shadow of Biltmore Estate. Now, when Biltmore Industries master weaver Lorna Blankenship is commissioned to create an original design for Cornelia Vanderbilt's 1924 wedding, she panics knowing she doesn't have the creativity needed. But there's an elusive artisan in the Blue Ridge Mountains who could save her--if only she can find her.

To track the mysterious weaver down, Lorna sees no other way but to seek out the relationships she abandoned in shame. As she pulls at each tangled thread from her old life, Lorna is forced to confront the wounds and regrets of long ago. She'll have to risk the job that shapes her identity as well as the hope of friendship--and love--restored.

In this seamlessly woven historical tale, award-winning Appalachian author Sarah Loudin Thomas delivers a poignant novel of friendship, artistry, restoration, and second chances. 

Bethany House Publishing, April 2, 2024
Available in digital ebook, paperback, hardcover, and audiobook

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