In The Threadbare Heart, Jennie Nash has written a story of love, loss, family and the many forms each of those can take. There’s love for a lifetime, love to help you heal, parental love, and love found when and where it’s least expected. Loss comes from death, withdrawal of affection, and unmet expectations.
Running through the core of the story is the relationship between Lily and her mother, Eleanor. They are totally opposite in many ways: Lily has had a lifelong love, and Eleanor never felt a strong enough connection with anyone to form a permanent attachment. Lily loves to sew, and she collects fabric to make clothes and quilts for the ones she loved. Embarrassed by her own mother’s homemade clothes, Eleanor doesn’t understand Lily’s lack of desire for designer clothing.
When Lily and Eleanor are forced by tragedy to take on a bigger role in each other’s lives, they struggle to bridge their differences and learn to respect each other for the unique talents they each have. The Threadbare Heart is told from multiple perspectives, including Lily’s husband, Tom, and their sons and daughter in law. This helps the reader see all sides to the story. It’s a reminder that most situations don’t feature good guys and bad guys, just people with different ideas of how they want to live their lives.
In some ways I felt the ending to The Threadbare Heart was abrupt—I could have easily followed Lily and Eleanor’s story for many more chapters—but when I finished it I found myself wondering what would happen next in each of the character’s lives. I worried for them, and I hoped for their futures. I expect the issues brought up in the book will stay with me for a long time.
While older teens may appreciate reading The Threadbare Heart, I believe it’s a better read for adult mothers and their adult daughters. It should open interesting lines of conversation between them about their own relationships. You can still be entered to win copies of this book for your book club by commenting on your favorite fictional mother-daughter pair. (See earlier post.) Comments made before Friday, May 6 at midnight (PDT), will be eligible.