The Wishing Thread
I love books that combine contemporary life with a gentle, mystical magic. This novel explores a magic knitting shop where casting spells and casting stitches occur simultaneously and the items created are not just pretty to look at but bewitch those who wear them.
Tarrytown, located next to Sleepy Hollow, has long been a place seeped in superstition and magic. At the center of this belief is a modern day witchery called the Stitchery. At the Stitchery you can buy a scarf that calms your husband’s temper or gloves that make a man fall in love with you. Mariah, the matriarch and owner of the shop is currently battling the city, which wants to tear down the neighborhood where her store sits and place a mall in its place. When she drops dead of a heart attack during a particularly heated exchange with a local business man it is her shy niece Aubrey who becomes guardian of the shop.
Aubrey Van Ripper has known she will have to dedicate her life to the Stitchery since the magic first manifested in her in pre-teens. Eerily glowing blue eyes mark her as the witch/guardian of her generation. Yet she had expected to have her aunt’s help for many years to come; she in no way feels ready to take on the jobs of community leader, small business owner and resident witch. It doesn’t help that Mariah has shocked her by leaving the building/house that has served as both family home and magic yarn shop to not just her but her two sisters as well. Both women, in desperate situations themselves, would much rather sell the store than hobble themselves to a crazy family tradition of selling magicked sweaters and socks.
Vic Olivera seems to be the only ally she has in her battle to save the past. Her favorite handyman and fellow resident of Tappan Square neighborhood knows just what it will mean to Aubrey if her business is torn down and the area turned into a mall. But can he convince her that knitting love spells for other women is not the only shot for happiness in her life? As the town decides the fate of the Stitchery the relationships between the three sisters and their respective significant others (as well as their belief in magic) is put to the test. Can the stitching that holds their lives together stand up under such strain or is everything about to unravel?
Anyone who has ever had sisters knows that the relationship is one that can be both contentious and close. The relationship with the Van Ripper girls is especially strained because Meggie, the youngest, and Bitsy, the eldest, had essentially been AWOL from the store which serves as the family home for close to a decade. Bitsy can’t stand the poverty and silly superstitions that the Stitchery represents. Meggie has been on the road during the years she was missing from home, looking for the mother who disappeared out of all their lives. She resents that Aubrey and Bitsy don’t even seem to care that their mother simply vanished. Both Meggie and Bitsy want to sell the Stitchery while Aubery wants to honor the aunt who raised them when their mother took off by keeping the magical place alive. Additionally, Aubrey believes firmly in the magic while Bitsy believes the family have been hucksters deluding the innocent people of the town and Meggie is indifferent since if the magic exists she knows she definitely can’t wield it.
The sister’s other relationships are as fractious as the ones they have with each other. Bitsy married a man her aunt tried to magic away from her. He is everything she ever wanted but was her aunt right when she said he was wrong for Bitsy? Meggie’s best friend – and possibly something more? – resents that Meggie keeps disappearing into the night. Meggie wants to settle down but how can she when her mom might be somewhere out there needing her? Aubrey wants to love Vic but how can he love her back when the magic is likely to rob her of her sanity at some point in the future? More than the Stitchery and its fate, the resolution to these feelings and problems are what the book revolves around.
The story is sweet, humorous and romantic but for a tale that deals with many heavy issues it is also surprisingly light. Like a meringue that melts in your mouth, it never gives you enough substance to sink your teeth into. That would probably work better if the story didn’t intimate that it wanted to be something more than just sweet and fluffy. The end result is that it leaves you full but not fully satisfied.
If you’re a diehard fan of sisters or knitting, you may find this fun in spite of its flaws. While it’s not perfect it is sweet and light enough to make a good summer read.