As I’ve been doing recently I share today two recent works by a guest author that you should follow. S. R. Mallery is a writer I met through one of the groups of writers I belong to and must admit I was fascinated by the title of one of her works. Now that I’ve read it (and I include the review in this post), the title reflects well the inventiveness, breadth and quality of the work. And, as a special surprise, the author is running a giveaway of Sewing Can Be Dangerous… in Goodread, so I leave you the link (you only have time until the 12th April, so don’t waste any time!)
But let’s the books talk for themselves.
Unexpected gifst by S. R. Mallery
Can we learn from our ancestral past? Do our relatives behaviors help mold our own? In Unexpected Gifts, that is precisely what happens to Sonia, a confused college student, forever choosing the wrong man. Searching for answers, she begins to read her family’s diaries and journals from America’s past: the Vietnam War, Woodstock, and Timothy Leary era; Tupperware parties, McCarthyism, and Black Power; the Great Depression, dance marathons, and Eleanor Roosevelt; the immigrant experience and the Suffragists. Back and forth the book journeys weaving yesteryear with modern life until finally, she gains enough clarity to make the right choices.
Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads
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 Shirt 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.
And the GIVEAWAY:
And my review of Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads
Women, sewing, history and storytelling.
Sewing Can Be Dangerous and Other Small Threads by S. R. Mallery is an extraordinary collection of 11 short stories with a common ‘thread’, sewing and allied crafts. The stories have an incredible breadth, not only because of the variety of the plots (and they are all very different) but also because of their well-researched and vivid historical settings, and their diverse genres. We go from immigrants in early XX century America, to the slavery period, from mid-Western pioneers, to the Salem witch trials, from the Zodiac serial killer in San Francisco, to a quilting teacher turned sleuth in a cruise, from the Germany of the Nazi era to modern time Native American reservations and everywhere in between. I’m not an expert in quilting (although I’ve always wanted to learn, now even more after reading the book) but this book is a quilt of stories, where each piece and patch brings its own memories to create a complex design, not a crazy quilt but something more than the sum of its parts.
At the heart of the stories are the women, who might use their skills to make a living, to survive and create a better future for those they look after, to express their artistry, to pass on cultural and spiritual traditions, to get revenge, to escape, to fight… Because it’s not only the big gestures that make the society we live in, but each small stich is a piece of the puzzle that is life.
S. R. Mallery brings to life a fantastic array of characters and recreates vividly the historical periods where the stories are set. The reader gets dragged into the moment and shares with the protagonists their unique experiences. If I had to choose one I’d go with ‘Precious Gifts’ that I loved and took me completely by surprise.
I recommend this collection to everybody, whichever your genre of preference, no matter if you like sewing or not. Go and read it. You’ll be amazed and feel better for it.
Thank you for reading, and if you’ve enjoyed it, like, share, comment and CLICK!