Saturday, June 12, 2021

Review: Confessions From the Quilting Circle by Maisie Yates

by Maisey Yates
Release Date: May 4th 2021
2021 Harlequin
Kindle Edition; 384 Pages
ISBN: 978-1335775856
Genre: Fiction / Contemporary / Women
Source: Review copy from publisher

3.5 / 5 Stars

When Lark Ashwood's beloved grandmother dies, she and her sisters discover an unfinished quilt. Finishing it could be the reason Lark's been looking for to stop running from the past, but is she ever going to be brave enough to share her biggest secret with the people she ought to be closest to?

Hannah can't believe she's back in Bear Creek, the tiny town she sacrificed everything to escape from. The plan? Help her sisters renovate her grandmother's house and leave as fast as humanly possible. Until she comes face-to-face with a man from her past. But getting close to him again might mean confessing what really drove her away...

Stay-at-home mom Avery has built a perfect life, but at a cost. She'll need all her family around her, and all her strength, to decide if the price of perfection is one she can afford to keep paying.

This summer, the Ashwood women must lean on each other like never before, if they are to stitch their family back together, one truth at a time...
****Spoilers ahead.****
My Thoughts
Confessions From the Quilting Circle was a book about secrets and emotions, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.  Having these sisters come together in this way made me reflect upon my own relationship with my sisters, and how important it was to keep those lines of communication open, something with which I struggle even today.  This author definitely knows how to tug at your heartstrings and to make you think about your own life as you are reading about someone else's.  
I enjoyed all the characters in this story and loved how it wasn't so much a story about individual women, but about women sustaining each other emotionally as they revealed difficult secrets and fought through separate heartbreaks.  The three sisters each had trauma in their life, and when their grandmother passed away, they came back to their hometown to deal with their inheritance and to also face the demons their left behind.  Because they spent so much time apart, they didn't really know each other, so the book was about them rebuilding their relationship as adults and not as who they were as children, learning about each other as women.  I loved the anecdotes from their adolescence however, as they learned they were quite different from the people they thought they were, and had secrets from each other even back then.
The writing style is beautiful and I loved following along as the sisters discovered something unique about each section of the quilt on which they were working.  Tracing their quilt patterns and the fabrics they were using to previous generations of women in their family was fascinating and I would have loved to learn more about these women.  I especially enjoyed how each daughter had to deal with their relationship with their mother; Mary, the mom, had grown up without her mother, and didn't really know how to develop relationships with other people so always seemed colder to her children than did their father.  Watching the mom develop throughout the book was one of the highlights for me and I enjoyed reading about her reflections on her life and how she didn't make excuses for her behaviour, but was willing to try anything to mend her relationship with her daughters.   

However, while I would love to say the overall book was wonderful, unfortunately I do have to address a couple of things with which I had a problem.  First of all, I really wish the family had done more with Hannah's situation than scream 'rape' and just leave it at that.  She was under eighteen when this happened, and it happened multiple times, even to the point whereby one of the characters mentioned that he probably had done this to hundreds of girls.  What? That's it?  I get that the book was about Hannah reconnecting with her emotional side and not feeling guilt over what happened, but I also felt more should have been done in this situation, or at least talked about.

Secondly, I really liked the other story line about Avery and the physical abuse, but also wish it hadn't seemed so easy.  Please don't take this the wrong way, but abusive situations are not easy to escape, and I just feel like the wrong message can be sent if it seems that way.  The book did handle the situation with great emotion and sensitivity, and I loved the way the author dealt with Avery's emotions and feelings of guilt, and while the book focused on Avery realizing she didn't have to be perfect and in control all of the time, and she could finally reconnect with who she really wanted to be, it is definitely not so easy for that to happen.  Maybe for some women it is that easy, but I know a couple of women who left abusive relationships, and the emotional scars, never mind the physical scars, don't go away that easily and often take years of therapy to overcome.  It just seemed a little too pat for me.  
Confessions From the Quilting Circle was an emotional read about three sisters reconnecting after the death of their beloved grand-mother, forcing them to confront secrets and issues from which they had been hiding for years.  It was beautifully written, and I enjoyed it quite a bit.  The story is more character-driven and I thought it was very easy to empathize with the characters and their issues.  There is a lot of introspection, but that didn't bother me, although I did have an issue with the way a couple of the story lines were handled.  I do think this book will appeal to a lot of people who are looking for a book about family relationships, but if you are looking for a sexy Maisie Yates romance, this is not it..