Book Review: The Thread Collectors by Shaunna J. Edwards; Alyson Richman

Posted September 12, 2022 by WendyW in Book Review, bookblogger / 28 Comments

The Thread Collectors
One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

by Shaunna J. Edwards, Alyson Richman
Publication Date August 30, 2022
Published by Harlequin
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Genres: Fiction / African American & Black / Historical, Fiction / Historical / Civil War Era, Fiction / Jewish, Fiction / Women
Pages: 373
Format: ARC

***I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.***

“An unforgettable story of female strength, hope and friendship. This collaborative work is magnificent—a true revelation!” —Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Woman with the Blue Star

“A brilliant story brimming with unexpected friendships and family ties. Historically sound and beautifully stitched, The Thread Collectors will stay with you long after the last page is turned.” —Sadeqa Johnson, international bestselling author of Yellow Wife

1863: In a small Creole cottage in New Orleans, an ingenious young Black woman named Stella embroiders intricate maps on repurposed cloth to help enslaved men flee and join the Union Army. Bound to a man who would kill her if he knew of her clandestine activities, Stella has to hide not only her efforts but her love for William, a Black soldier and a brilliant musician.

Meanwhile, in New York City, a Jewish woman stitches a quilt for her husband, who is stationed in Louisiana with the Union Army. Between abolitionist meetings, Lily rolls bandages and crafts quilts with her sewing circle for other soldiers, too, hoping for their safe return home. But when months go by without word from her husband, Lily resolves to make the perilous journey South to search for him.

As these two women risk everything for love and freedom during the brutal Civil War, their paths converge in New Orleans, where an unexpected encounter leads them to discover that even the most delicate threads have the capacity to save us. Loosely inspired by the authors' family histories, this stunning novel will stay with readers for a long time.

The Thread Collectors by Shaunna J. Edwards; Alyson Richman is a historical novel set in the American Civil War time period and follows two very different couples and how they managed during the war.  

Stella is the slave mistress of a rich plantation owner in New Orleans, as the daughter of a slave and a white man, she’s able to live on her own in a small shack amongst other slave mistresses.  But, her true love is a Will, also a slave, with the same awful master.  When Will runs away to join the Union Army, Stella knows she has to do everything she can to help other slaves run away too.  Stella embroiders maps on bits of cloth to help her neighbors find the Union army camp and escape a life of bondage.  

Meanwhile, in New York City, Lily is doing everything she can for the war effort and is waiting for her husband, Jacob, to come home from the war.  Jacob is a private in the union army, and also a gifted musician.  Jacob and Will strike up an unlikely friendship as two musicians who bring music and joy to the troops.  But, when Jacob doesn’t write home for weeks, Lily knows she has to go and find him.  

I loved this book as it looks at four very different perspectives of the war.  Instead of looking at the north/south perspectives, it looks at the perspective of a fairly wealthy Jewish couple from New York, and a black couple trying to free themselves from slavery in New Orleans.  Both couples are on the side of the Union but come from very different backgrounds.  Stella, Will, Lily, and Jacob are strong, courageous, and very compelling characters.  

The book also revealed some of the ravages of war, both from the north perspective and the south’s.  It also reveals some of the horrific conditions of slavery and especially the different ways slave owners treated the girls and women they owned.  

The Thread Collectors is a book that will stay with me for a very long time.  I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.  I received a complimentary copy of this book.  The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

About Alyson Richman

Alyson Richman is the USA Today bestselling and #1 international bestselling author of several historical novels including The Velvet Hours, The Garden of Letters, and The Lost Wife, which is currently in development for a major motion picture. Alyson graduated from Wellesley College with a degree in art history and Japanese studies. She herself is an accomplished painter and her novels combine her deep love of art, historical research, and travel. Alyson's novels have been published in twenty-five languages and have reached the bestseller lists both in the United States and abroad. She lives on Long Island with her husband and two children, where she is currently at work on her next novel.

About Shaunna J. Edwards

Shaunna J. Edwards is the debut novelist of THE THREAD COLLECTORS, co-authored with bestselling novelist, Alyson Richman. THE THREAD COLLECTORS will be released in August 2022. A native Louisianian, Shaunna majored in Literature at Harvard College before attending NYU School of Law. A former corporate lawyer, she now works in diversity, equity and inclusion. She lives in Harlem with her husband.


Have you read The Thread Collectors?

28 responses to “Book Review: The Thread Collectors by Shaunna J. Edwards; Alyson Richman

  1. Wonderful review, Wendy. I’m so glad this was also a winner for you. The characters were amazing and I loved the different points of view as well. Definitely a book I will be recommending.

  2. Good review, Wendy. It sounds like the book explores the personal side of war and race issues. I will never be able to get over the idea of people thinking they have the right to OWN other people.

  3. This sounds like a great historical read with strong themes of female strength and friendship. I like that there’s 4 different perspectives here. I’m glad you enjoyed it, great review Wendy!

  4. Jenny+McClinton

    I tend to steer away from historical fiction to do with wars, I’m not sure why. Glad you enjoyed, great review 😊