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The Thread Collectors

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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. Mea 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.


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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. Mea 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.

30 review for The Thread Collectors

  1. 5 out of 5

    Rosh

    In a Nutshell: Not a typical historical fiction set during the Civil War. This one covers perspectives not commonly seen – that of Jews and Blacks. The #OwnVoices factor adds to the charm of the story. Expected something a little different, but still enjoyed what I got. Story Synopsis: 1863. In New Orleans, Stella, a Creole of mixed heritage, uses her skill with the needle to stitch ingenious maps to help enslaved men run from their hopeless destiny. Her lover William – a Black slave and an exper In a Nutshell: Not a typical historical fiction set during the Civil War. This one covers perspectives not commonly seen – that of Jews and Blacks. The #OwnVoices factor adds to the charm of the story. Expected something a little different, but still enjoyed what I got. Story Synopsis: 1863. In New Orleans, Stella, a Creole of mixed heritage, uses her skill with the needle to stitch ingenious maps to help enslaved men run from their hopeless destiny. Her lover William – a Black slave and an expert musician - is one such man, hoping to be freed of his shackles by fighting in the Civil War from the Union side. In New York City, Lily, a Jewish woman with strong ideas on abolition, does her best to ensure that the Union soldiers get adequate supplies. Her husband Jacob, who has enlisted with the Union Army as a musician, is an unhappy soldier as his own brother believes in the Confederacy. How the tracks of these two couples come together is what you need to read and find out. The story comes to us in a limited third person narration of these four characters. Where the book worked for me: 👏 The unusual perspective is the highlight of the story. We rarely see historical fiction exploring the war from the perspective of Jewish or Black soldiers, or of the women in their lives. 👏 An equal novelty was in the way sewing is used throughout the story, and how it stitches the narrative of all four characters into one colourful quilt. Whether it is through the maps that Stella makes for the escaping slaves with the limited material she has at her disposal, or through the sewing circle which Lily is a part of, making helpful items to keep the soldiers warmer and safer, or even through the way their efforts help the Union soldiers, the ‘thread collectors’ is a title that works for this book in multifarious ways. 👏 The storyline is quite complex, but the authors manage to pull it off to a great extent. 👏 The characters are sketched quite realistically. The title might make you feel that this is a women's story all the way, that the male characters have only limited secondary roles. But this isn’t true, especially in the first half. 👏 The plot explores many impactful themes such as racial discrimination, gender discrimination, disparity in the fortunes of family members due to either their beliefs or their status, and the impact of war. It also explores how determination and drive can change supposed destiny. 👏 Alyson Richman is the USA Today bestselling and #1 international bestselling author of several historical novels. Shaunna J. Edwards makes her debut with this book. These two are friends in real life, and are of the same racial background as the characters they created (A Jew and a Black respectively.) Their collaboration on this work is thus filled with a strong flavour of authenticity. I especially loved the insight into the Creole belief system as seen from Stella’s part of the story. 👏 The authors’ note indicates how the two authors used their own background to make the story authentic. There are many historical events and persons woven into this fictional narrative, and their note elaborates on this. Where the book could have worked better for me: ⚠ Though the narrative is set mainly in 1863, there are quite a few flashbacks to establish the backstories of the key characters. This will be a real test of your memory. To me, some of the backstories worked, but some were superfluous. ⚠ A couple of the events in the second half were too coincidental to be believable. Yeah okay, fiction is fiction, but when the overall tone is so realistic and spot-on, such anomalies stand out. ⚠ The blurb reveals one event that happens much later in the book. It also makes the story seem like that of Stella and Lisa, rather than of all four characters. ⚠ The pacing is a bit topsy-turvy. The ending seems very rushed, though I must give it credit for being bittersweet than an OTT HEA. All in all, the book has a lot going for it. As an #OwnVoices story inspired by the two authors’ own backgrounds and their friendship, this historical fiction has a lot to offer to its readers. Though the pacing and the backstories could have been better structured, the book still offers tremendous content and is definitely recommended. Trigger Note: As a slave and war narrative, the book contains several gruesome scenes. Not for the faint-hearted, though whatever happened is definitely based in the truth. 4 stars. My thanks to Harlequin Trade Publishing, Graydon House, and NetGalley for the DRC of “The Thread Collectors”. This review is voluntary and contains my honest opinion about the book. ——————————————— Connect with me through: My Blog | The StoryGraph | Facebook | Twitter

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing( Graydon House) for an egalley in exchange for an honest review. How much did I love this historical fiction set during the American Civil War?? No, fellow readers I ADORED IT! This doesn't surprise me really. Sometimes when I am requesting to read an ARC on the platform, I know instantly that it is a MUST READ and I will cry a RIVER OF TEARS, if I do not get it! Authors Shaunna J Edwards and Alyson Richman have written an absolutely delicious Thanks to NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing( Graydon House) for an egalley in exchange for an honest review. How much did I love this historical fiction set during the American Civil War?? No, fellow readers I ADORED IT! This doesn't surprise me really. Sometimes when I am requesting to read an ARC on the platform, I know instantly that it is a MUST READ and I will cry a RIVER OF TEARS, if I do not get it! Authors Shaunna J Edwards and Alyson Richman have written an absolutely delicious historical fiction which offers underrepresented voices from the American Civil. That of, a Stella, a slave whose beloved William has escaped slavery and enlisted with the Union Army. William befriends Jacob, a Jewish musician and together they bond over music. Then there is Lily, the wife of Jacob, a passionate abolitionist who is waiting in New York for her husband to return. We follow all four of these characters while also encountering so many memorable other characters. Honestly, I just couldn't put this beautiful book down. In their author's note, it is explained that the authors as longtime friends who are African-American( Edwards) and Jewish( Richman), they wanted to write a historical novel giving voices to women and men from those groups in the Civil War period. Something which I feel that they have done quite beautifully. Adding the sewing and cloth aspect and threading that into their narrative made the story even more heartbreakingly memorable. Personally, this novel is one of my favorites of 2022 Goodreads review published 26/07/22 Expected Publication Date 30/08/22 #TheThreadCollectors #NetGalley.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Marilyn

    I am a long time fan of Alyson Richman and a brand new fan of Shaunna J. Edwards and their collaborated endeavor to write The Thread Collectors. This well written and impeccably researched historical novel was written about The Civil War. I hadn’t read a novel centered around The Civil War in a very long time so it was a welcomed change of setting. It was not the typical Civil War novel either. The focus for The Thread Collectors was on the women in this book.. One of the women, Stella, was in l I am a long time fan of Alyson Richman and a brand new fan of Shaunna J. Edwards and their collaborated endeavor to write The Thread Collectors. This well written and impeccably researched historical novel was written about The Civil War. I hadn’t read a novel centered around The Civil War in a very long time so it was a welcomed change of setting. It was not the typical Civil War novel either. The focus for The Thread Collectors was on the women in this book.. One of the women, Stella, was in love with a Black slave, William. When Stella came of age her mother and sister sent her to the Market to meet her fate. William’s master took a fancy toward Stella and bought her for himself. Stella was a light skin beauty. William’s master purchased a small home for her to live in. Stella lived in the small typical Creole cottage in New Orleans with her sister. She had been bought by William’s master and kept in the cottage so she could satisfy his pleasures whenever he desired them. William, who was determined to escape from his bondage and join the Union Army had an innate musical talent. He played the flute like no one else. He had played his flute the night Stella was sent to the Market. The two had fallen in love and secretly met whenever they could without William’s master’s knowledge. Stella learned from the ramblings of William’s master when he had a little too much to drink the safest routes to take to ensure the safety of the escaping slaves. Stella began making maps for the escaping slaves on old repurposed cloth. She used her expertise in embroidery to stitch the maps in different colored threads for the escaping slaves. The night William ran to begin his escape, Stella worried for his safety but William arrived safely at the Union’s regiment due to Stella’s map. It brought him there safely. His musical talent would secure his placement and acceptance into the Union army. The second woman, Lily, lived in New York City. She was a huge supporter of abolitionist’s rights. Lily was a White Jewish woman who had lost her mother when she was quite young. She had been raised by her loving father. Her father owned a music store and supported Lily’s involvement with the abolitionist movement. He even allowed his printing press to be used to print the material the abolitionist members wanted distributed. Lily had met Jacob, her husband, in her father’s store. Both Lily and Jacob were White and Jewish. Jacob was a man who also possessed musical talent. He signed up and enlisted in the army supporting the Union. At the time of William’s arrival, Jacob was assisting the doctor who was examining the new Black soldiers that were enlisting in the Union army. When William entered the medical tent Jacob encouraged William to let the army officers know that he could play the fife. That encouragement helped William stay safe and kindled the beginning of William and Jacob’s friendship. These two women, Stella and Lily, who were separated by hundreds of miles and were as different from one another as could be were connected by their use of thread and the friendship their men would form. Both women in their own way would fight for freedom and a Union victory. Stella would accomplish this by embroidering maps on scraps of repurposed cloth and Lily by stitching quilts and rolling bandages for the Union soldiers. The lives of these two very different women eventually would converge and when that happens the end result will warm your heart. The authors of The Thread Collectors, Shaunna J. Edwards and Alyson Richman shared in their author’s notes that the two of them share a special friendship In real life. They admitted that The Thread Collectors was partially inspired by their own backgrounds and family heritages, one being Black and the other White and Jewish. I found it quite upsetting how the Black soldiers were treated and the jobs they were meant to do during the Civil War. The Black soldiers who enlisted wanted to fight against those that favored slavery. Instead of being allowed to fight, the Black Soldiers were instructed to dig graves for the dead White soldiers. This was often backbreaking work and humiliating. Union officers treated the Black soldiers in their regiments marginally better than the slave owners. The Black soldiers were paid less than their fellow White soldiers and were given less and often inferIor food allotments. I had no knowledge of the Battle of Port Hudson prior to reading The Thread Collectors. It was so sad to learn how the soldiers of the Louisiana Native Guards were used as targets and were unmercifully massacred during that battle to save the lives of their fellow White soldiers. Their bodies were just left in the open fields to decompose. It was a disgraceful time in our country’s history. I also had no knowledge of the assault on the Colored Orphan Asylum in New York City where angry and unjust White men torched and burnt the building. What a despicable time in the history of our country! The other fact that bothered me was the widespread antisemitism that existed in this country even back then. Many of the Jewish soldiers during the Civil War had escaped religious persecution from countries like Germany and Hungry. They were faced with ridicule and mistrust even as they enlisted to fight against slavery. Some of the characters in The Thread Collectors were actually based on long ago family members of the two authors. The Thread Collectors focused on strong female characters, hope, ingenuity, determination, struggles, war, loss, friendship, family, hardships survival and love. The collaboration and resourcefulness of these two masterful authors exhibited in writing The Thread Collectors was flawless. I hope they decide to write more books together, perhaps even a sequel to The Thread Collectors. I really enjoyed reading The Thread Collectors and highly recommend it. Thank you to Graydon House Publishers for allowing me to read The Thread Collectors by Shaunna J. Edwards and Alyson Richman through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. Publication was August 30, 2022.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stacey B

    Shaunna J. Edwards and Alyson Richmond.. a great duo for penning a book. For some reason I'm feeling like I already reviewed this, but it isn't showing up. It always seems as though the really good reviews are the ones MIA, but this a must read. Alyson Richmond is a seasoned wonderful author whose other books we know. Shaunna J. Edwards is no stranger. With her BA in literature from Harvard she is also an outstanding attorney. When the two teamed up, out came the most wonderful book filled with h Shaunna J. Edwards and Alyson Richmond.. a great duo for penning a book. For some reason I'm feeling like I already reviewed this, but it isn't showing up. It always seems as though the really good reviews are the ones MIA, but this a must read. Alyson Richmond is a seasoned wonderful author whose other books we know. Shaunna J. Edwards is no stranger. With her BA in literature from Harvard she is also an outstanding attorney. When the two teamed up, out came the most wonderful book filled with history.. Although this book is HF, it includes both of their own family histories. I think there is a YouTube interview they participated in. * see synopsis for now.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bam cooks the books ;-)

    This evocative piece of historical fiction set during the Civil War centers around two women and the men they love. One, the slave Stella who lives in New Orleans and is kept in a Creole cottage on Rampart St by her master Frye. Her true love is William who escapes to Camp Parapet to join the Union army, aided by a map that Stella stitches on a piece of fabric. The other main character is a young Jewish woman named Lily who lives in NYC and is a staunch abolitionist. Her group of volunteers are This evocative piece of historical fiction set during the Civil War centers around two women and the men they love. One, the slave Stella who lives in New Orleans and is kept in a Creole cottage on Rampart St by her master Frye. Her true love is William who escapes to Camp Parapet to join the Union army, aided by a map that Stella stitches on a piece of fabric. The other main character is a young Jewish woman named Lily who lives in NYC and is a staunch abolitionist. Her group of volunteers are busy sewing quilts and rolling fabric bandages to send to the Union soldiers. Her husband, Private Jacob Kling, also happens to be stationed at the camp in Louisiana and meets William as he joins their company. Both men are musicians and Jacob makes sure that William is given the opportunity to play his flute with the other musicians. The two become friends of sorts, joined by a 10-year-old boy who plays the drum. When Christmas comes and goes and Lily doesn't hear from Jacob for several weeks, she becomes determined to go south to find him. This story is cowritten by Shaunna Edwards and Alyson Richman and they say it is loosely inspired by their own backgrounds and their friendship. The characterizations are rich and the story very dramatic. Racism against both Jews and blacks is examined. It is always interesting to learn more details about what the people went through during the Civil War. But the driving force of the novel is love and determination, bravery and the courage to carry on in the face of the horrors of war. I received an arc of this novel from the authors and publisher via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and the opinions expressed are my own.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lynda Loigman

    In this stunning and evocative collaboration, Alyson Richman and Shaunna Edwards have combined their unique insights, their family histories, and a shared passion for storytelling to create an enlightening, complex, and profound Civil War novel. The Thread Collectors is a gift – not only for lovers of historical fiction – but for readers everywhere who search for hidden truths behind the facts we think we know. Like the fearless, sensitive, and resourceful women they write about, Richman and Edw In this stunning and evocative collaboration, Alyson Richman and Shaunna Edwards have combined their unique insights, their family histories, and a shared passion for storytelling to create an enlightening, complex, and profound Civil War novel. The Thread Collectors is a gift – not only for lovers of historical fiction – but for readers everywhere who search for hidden truths behind the facts we think we know. Like the fearless, sensitive, and resourceful women they write about, Richman and Edwards have stitched together a glorious tapestry of resilience, survival, friendship, and love. This is a Civil War story unlike any other – a story readers will treasure from the very first page.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Elliot A

    ***Link to video*** Thank you to the publisher, Graydon House and NetGalley, for providing me with an ARC of The Thread Collectors in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. The Gist It is written by a black and Jewish woman about a black and jewish woman during the Civil war. Gripping, captivating and it will not leave you for a long time. It is vivid and personal. There is no escape once you have started reading this novel. The Details I have to admit that those two women and eve ***Link to video*** Thank you to the publisher, Graydon House and NetGalley, for providing me with an ARC of The Thread Collectors in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. The Gist It is written by a black and Jewish woman about a black and jewish woman during the Civil war. Gripping, captivating and it will not leave you for a long time. It is vivid and personal. There is no escape once you have started reading this novel. The Details I have to admit that those two women and even the side characters followed me into my dreams, and at times I needed a break. It's hard to explain why I felt not only connected to the characters, but I actually felt them. I felt their anxiety, hope, desperation, but also the acceptance of the situation they had to deal with and still not surrender to it. The characters become alive. There is no other way to describe it. If a reader can make you feel, smell, and taste a story, then I don’t need to say anything more. The writing is excellent to the point that it might become painful to be so deeply intertwined with the story, but still, you cannot stop. Yes, this is how you might experience this book. The story is somewhat inspired by their family history and the wish to present the drama of the Civil War from a different perspective, a black and jewish woman. It is a story of bravery, strong friendship and strength in unexpected places. It describes the experiences of the men belonging to those women and how they connect. In a very subtle but still direct way, it brings light to all the tragedies which are often lost below the blanket of war, weapons and casualties. The Verdict Overall, The Thread Collectors is as expertly written as the quilts are threaded we are introduced to in the story. This is a novel you can still enjoy, even if you are not a fan of historical fiction. But if you are interested in historical fiction, then be assured that you will not only be amazingly entertained, but also gain new insights into the tragedies which shaped us as humans. I highly recommend this novel to everybody.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Robin Loves Reading

    This touching historical fiction takes place in two locations, slowly drawing four principal characters - two couples - together amidst impossible conditions. We have 1863 New Orleans and also New York. In New Orleans, Stella is a remarkable young black woman who uses incredible skills while embroidering maps on old cloth. These maps help enslaved Black men flee and join the Union Army. This includes a man near and dear to her heart named William. In New York City, we have young Lily, a Jewish wo This touching historical fiction takes place in two locations, slowly drawing four principal characters - two couples - together amidst impossible conditions. We have 1863 New Orleans and also New York. In New Orleans, Stella is a remarkable young black woman who uses incredible skills while embroidering maps on old cloth. These maps help enslaved Black men flee and join the Union Army. This includes a man near and dear to her heart named William. In New York City, we have young Lily, a Jewish woman focusing on stitching a quilt for her husband Jacob. He is stationed in Louisiana while stationed with the Union Library. Also she fiercely misses Jacob, Lily keeps herself rolling bandages creating quilts. Not only is she stitching a quilt for her husband, but for other soldiers taken away by the war. Her regular communication from Jacob by means of letters has trickled off, to the point when she no longer knows where he is and whether or not he is safe. Lily makes the difficult decision to head to Louisiana to try and find Jacob. Thus begins the path for when she will eventually meet Stella. Meanwhile, while the war is going on, the two men, William and Jacob cross paths. While William is Black and Jacob is a Jewish man, their friendship is something mostly unheard of. What draws the two men together is their talent and love of music. What a touching story that brings both William and Jacob together, while also bringing Stella and Lily together. Although the world was greatly divided at that time, even in the way Black and White soldiers were treated during the Civil War, none of these strong characters saw color. If they did see color, it was only for the purpose of avoiding color lines. In the Author's Note at the end of the book, the authors tell of their decades-long friendship, with Shaunna being black and Alyson being Jewish. About how this world is still dealing with race on so many levels, but seeking for beauty in this dark world nonetheless. Much more is said, which makes this Note very worthy reading. Lastly, Reader's Guide at the very end of the book raises excellent questions, thus making The Thread Collectors the perfect book for introspective discussions. Many thanks to Graydon House and to NetGalley for this ARC for review. This is my honest opinion. Please enjoy my YouTube video review as well - https://youtu.be/HNcLku8W_os

  9. 5 out of 5

    Susan Peterson

    The Thread Collectors is an immersive and compelling novel set during the Civil War, told from several unique and underrepresented points of view. We view the war through they eyes of four main characters: Stella, a slave, whose love has escaped the bonds of slavery to enlist with the Union army, and who uses her skill with needlework to bring others to safety; William, who befriends Jacob, a white man who also happens to be Jewish—musicians who bond over the music that they create; and Lily, Ja The Thread Collectors is an immersive and compelling novel set during the Civil War, told from several unique and underrepresented points of view. We view the war through they eyes of four main characters: Stella, a slave, whose love has escaped the bonds of slavery to enlist with the Union army, and who uses her skill with needlework to bring others to safety; William, who befriends Jacob, a white man who also happens to be Jewish—musicians who bond over the music that they create; and Lily, Jacob’s wife, an abolitionist and outspoken young woman, who waits bravely for Jacob to return. All of their lives are changed forever by the war, and all of them have been shaped by loss, bigotry, and cruelty that preceded the war. The writing is lyrical and emotional, and it is also honest, raw, and heartrending. I thank these authors for bringing these stories to life, shedding light on a horrific time in our history. I also thank them for the humanity of this book, for giving us characters that are talented and intelligent, who use their gifts to save themselves and to help others. There is a lot of historical fiction on bookshelves everywhere, but I think the Civil War is a time in history that is woefully ignored; I thank these two writers for filling that void with this stunning novel. This brilliant collaboration between two gifted writers, who brought their own family history into the creation of this book, makes me wish for much more from the two of them.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Wendy W.

    Four and a Half Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭒ 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 W Four and a Half Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭒ 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.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Maureen Timerman

    An eye opening novel written from two points of view and melded beautifully. We are gifted with a read about the Civil War, not the usual read, and I really didn't know of the small Jewish population in this country and their involvement, and then then how the black soldiers, on both sides were treated. This is a story of family, and survival, and a gift of music. So many sad happenings, and again brother against brother, but the olive branch of forgiveness resonates. This is a book that will linge An eye opening novel written from two points of view and melded beautifully. We are gifted with a read about the Civil War, not the usual read, and I really didn't know of the small Jewish population in this country and their involvement, and then then how the black soldiers, on both sides were treated. This is a story of family, and survival, and a gift of music. So many sad happenings, and again brother against brother, but the olive branch of forgiveness resonates. This is a book that will linger long after the last page is turned, and be sure to read about the authors in the notes at the end of this read. I loved how the title of this book plays out in a way I didn't expect, but so beautifully! I received this book through the Publisher Harlequin Trades, and was not required to give a positive review.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    In their author's note, debut novelist Shaunna Edwards and popular historical fiction novelist Allyson Richman explain how this story is loosely inspired by their own backgrounds and how they "wanted to explore the Civil War experience through two underrepresented lenses and illuminate the important and often overlooked tragedies of this era." They accomplish this through two intertwined stories: Jacob Kling, a Jewish Union soldier and trumpet player, and his wife Lily, active in the abolitionis In their author's note, debut novelist Shaunna Edwards and popular historical fiction novelist Allyson Richman explain how this story is loosely inspired by their own backgrounds and how they "wanted to explore the Civil War experience through two underrepresented lenses and illuminate the important and often overlooked tragedies of this era." They accomplish this through two intertwined stories: Jacob Kling, a Jewish Union soldier and trumpet player, and his wife Lily, active in the abolitionist movement in New York City, and William, a gifted flute player who escapes slavery to join the Union Army and his wife Stella, who embroiders intricate secret maps that help enslaved men in New Orleans flee north. Rich with historical details and well developed characters, plus a strong sense of time and place, I learned so much from this very compelling page-turner that covers aspects of the Jewish experience in America not typically included in historical fiction. And, I love how the dual narrative is truly #OwnVoices, co-authored by both a Black writer and a Jewish writer. Due out on August 30, I was lucky enough to receive an advanced review copy through Edelweiss. A strong possibility for my book groups in the fall.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Stacy40pages

    I had a hard time getting into this and staying interested. I can tell that so many people loved it. I can see why it is well loved because it is well written and has a great story. There was just so much information and details on every character, which for many is a positive but at this point I think I needed a lighter read.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Carla

    The Thread Collectors is a story set during the Civil War featuring two groups of people who were hated, and scape goated during the civil war, the African American and the Jewish people. The story centres around Stella, a slave who is the kept woman of her rich, but slimy master and Lily, an abolitionist and wife of a Jewish soldier. William met Stella when his owner brought him to play for her. He was an accomplished fife player who was used by Master Frye, his owner to gain favour. He and Ste The Thread Collectors is a story set during the Civil War featuring two groups of people who were hated, and scape goated during the civil war, the African American and the Jewish people. The story centres around Stella, a slave who is the kept woman of her rich, but slimy master and Lily, an abolitionist and wife of a Jewish soldier. William met Stella when his owner brought him to play for her. He was an accomplished fife player who was used by Master Frye, his owner to gain favour. He and Stella fall in love and begin a relationship. He eventually escapes and heads to Camp Parapet to join the Union army, using a map that Stella has embroidered to help him evade the Confederate troops and slave catchers. He joins an all black regiment, where he meets a ten year old drummer, he takes under his wing. They begin playing music together for the men and he is overheard by Jacob. Jacob is Lily's husband and he is also a musician. He invites William to come over to entertain the white troops and he becomes a favourite. Meanwhile something happens to William and Jacob and Lily heads south to find out what has happened to her husband, after not hearing from her for several weeks. I really liked this story. The characters are all such strong people, smart, loyal, and caring. Lily and Jacob take the opposite side to the slave issue from Jacob's brother's family, but know it is the right thing to do. Lily is beautiful, and there gives her information she can use to help others. Frye talks to her about things that he assumes she doesn't understand, but she listens and uses the information to help slaves escape. The title, "The Thread Collectors" comes from her embroidering maps. She has to salvage coloured thread from pieces of clothing, scarves, purses etc. to do her work. The stories of the four main characters are all interesting and I learned something from each of them. I have not read a lot of stories set during the Civil War, so I was excited to read this book. All four of the stories come together in an excellent conclusion that had me closing the book with satisfaction. The story is a well-written, and developed story with wonderful characters. Themes of love, devotion, heartache, slavery, racism, benefits of music, families divided and family loyalty are all touched upon. I enjoyed the addition of the embroidered maps, especially as I also enjoy sewing, embroidery and knitting. Make sure you read the author's note at the end, where authors Shaunna J Edwards and Alyson Richman share their inspiration for this book. They say it was loosely based on their family backgrounds. I definitely recommend this story to those who enjoy historical fiction. This will be one of my favourites this year. The audiobook was narrated by Robin Miles. The voice, expression, and emotion are excellent and I was completely pulled in by the narration. I will not hesitate to listen to more books performed by this very talented narrator. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book upon request. The rating and opinions shared are my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Stefanie

    She sat in the chair by the window, the sunlight pouring through the dust streaked glass. In her lap she held a piece of delicate cotton, a bright colorful thread weaving through its center. She carefully moved her needle through the cloth, each stitch a lifesaving one. A single tear fell from her eye, as she pictured the man this map was going to and she prayed for his safe journey and that one day he’d come home. The Thread Collectors is a powerful historical fiction story set in the 1860s duri She sat in the chair by the window, the sunlight pouring through the dust streaked glass. In her lap she held a piece of delicate cotton, a bright colorful thread weaving through its center. She carefully moved her needle through the cloth, each stitch a lifesaving one. A single tear fell from her eye, as she pictured the man this map was going to and she prayed for his safe journey and that one day he’d come home. The Thread Collectors is a powerful historical fiction story set in the 1860s during the Civil War. The book follows multiple point of views as these people navigate the war and their place in it. A white couple from the north, he fighting in the war, and she doing her part to help. A black couple in the south, he fleeing his master to help fight, and she secretly sewing maps to help lead men to safety. This book had me wrapped up in so many emotions and I loved each character in this story so much. This is not an easy read in any way; this war a brutal and angering part of this country’s history. But wow, this author duo penned a wonderful story filled with strength and hope. If you’re a historical fiction fan and want a civil war era read, then I highly recommend picking up this book! TW: Slavery, Racism, Physical Violence, War, Torture, Body Horror, Death of a Loved One, Rape/Sexual Assault. *I received a gifted copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Christine M in Texas

    The Thread Collectors By: Shaunna J. Edwards & Alyson Richman A powerful historical fiction set in the Civil War. 1863 an indigenous black woman named Stella love son New Orleans. She embroiders maps in fabric which holds a secret map. These maps help enslaved men to escape and join the Union Army. Stella’s is in love with a musician and Black soldier but must hide her love and activities from the man she Is bound to. Lily in NYC is making her husband a quilt who is stationed in Louisiana with the U The Thread Collectors By: Shaunna J. Edwards & Alyson Richman A powerful historical fiction set in the Civil War. 1863 an indigenous black woman named Stella love son New Orleans. She embroiders maps in fabric which holds a secret map. These maps help enslaved men to escape and join the Union Army. Stella’s is in love with a musician and Black soldier but must hide her love and activities from the man she Is bound to. Lily in NYC is making her husband a quilt who is stationed in Louisiana with the Union Army. She is also rolling bandages and sewing quilts for others. After months of not hearing a word from her husband she decides to head south to find her husband. The women share of love of sewing and quilting during this painful time in history and it was fascinating to find out about the maps. As a quilter and sewer I really enjoyed hearing about these women. I am sure if I would have done the same thing. A unique Historical Fiction. #thethreadcollectors, #shaunnajedwwards, #alysonrichman, #graydonhouse, #bookstagram, #bookreview, #booksconnectus, #stamperlady50

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Silfen (Exercise_Read_Repeat)

    4.5 ⭐️This was a great historical fiction book that explores the perils of the Civil War through two underrepresented groups. More specifically, it’s through the lens of a Black couple living in New Orleans and a Jewish couple living in NYC and alternates between all four perspectives. At the start of war, both men meet at a Union Army camp in Louisiana and form a friendship over their talent and love of music. While performing for the army, the women are each helping out with the war effort at 4.5 ⭐️This was a great historical fiction book that explores the perils of the Civil War through two underrepresented groups. More specifically, it’s through the lens of a Black couple living in New Orleans and a Jewish couple living in NYC and alternates between all four perspectives. At the start of war, both men meet at a Union Army camp in Louisiana and form a friendship over their talent and love of music. While performing for the army, the women are each helping out with the war effort at home and risk everything for love and freedom. I learned alot while reading this and a hard time putting this one down. The authors, who are lifelong best friends, did a great job weaving the storylines, which are each inspired by their own backgrounds. I loved how it emphasized themes of friendship and family and think it is a thought-provoking and compelling read perfect for fans of this genre and book clubs! Read if you like: -HF set during the Civil War -Black and Jewish representation -Own voices stories -The power of music and the connection it can form -Unlikely friendships -The Yellow Wife Thank you HTP for this ARC! Out 8/30

  18. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    A Jewish couple from New York and a Black slave couple in the south are the main characters of this Civil War novel. Loosely based on the ancestors of the dual authors, it looks at prejudice against Black and Jewish people both within the Union army and in both civilian societies. It has great characters and is filled with hope and love despite the awful war setting. Thanks to NetGalley and Graydon House Books for the ARC to read and review.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Annette

    This was a well written book. Two different women living through the Civil war and the men they both love. This book was kinda sad in parts and I have no doubt that’s exactly how things were during the war. It’s also a story of hope and new beginnings. It’s a really good story that any historical fiction fans will enjoy. Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the early copy

  20. 5 out of 5

    Linda Zagon

    WOW! I am literally blown away after reading “The Thread Collectors” by Shaunna J. Edwards, and Alyson Richman, authors. This is one of the most memorable and thought-provoking novels that has evoked so many different emotions in me. The genres for this book are Historical Fiction, Fiction, Black and African American Historical Fiction, and Jewish Literature and Fiction. The timeline for this story is set during the Civil War. The authors describe their colorful and dramatic characters as comple WOW! I am literally blown away after reading “The Thread Collectors” by Shaunna J. Edwards, and Alyson Richman, authors. This is one of the most memorable and thought-provoking novels that has evoked so many different emotions in me. The genres for this book are Historical Fiction, Fiction, Black and African American Historical Fiction, and Jewish Literature and Fiction. The timeline for this story is set during the Civil War. The authors describe their colorful and dramatic characters as complex and complicated. During this horrific war, we see betrayals, discrimination, destruction, and inequality. During this time, many families were divided by the North and South, and the authors discuss the importance of family, neighbors, friendship, courage, freedom, peace, and hope. Both authors seamlessly weave this tale and masterpiece about the tragedies of the Civil War. Alyson Richman brings her love of art, music, and literature to this novel, where we can see the significance of emotional reactions and feelings, and as a means of communication. In New Orleans, Stella, a young black woman embroiders different colors of thread that act as a map for the enslaved black men who want to head to the North to join the Union Army. We discover the limitations of her relatives and friends, as they relate to their masters. In New York, Lily, a Jewish woman makes tapestries and quilts for her husband and other Northern men at war. Lily and her friends also tear material to make bandages for the wounded men. Lily’s husband, Jacob is very talented and musically inclined. Jacob fights for the North and his successful brother sells cotton and fights for the South. In “The Thread Collectors” the authors write about the devastation of the war on both the North and South. It is so heartbreaking to read how the Northern Army treated the black men that had joined and were willing to fight for freedom. When Lily hasn’t heard from Jacob for a while, she is determined to travel to the south to find out what has happened to him. The dangerous journey will have Lily and Stella cross paths. This is a significant read, and I highly recommend this fantastic, memorable, and thought-provoking novel to other readers. I suggest having tissues on hand.

  21. 4 out of 5

    =^.^= Janet =^.^=

    Publication date: August 30, 2022 Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review an advanced reader's copy of this book. This in no way affects my review, all opinions are my own and may be affected by the fact that it is windy and freezing rain outside and I have nothing better to do than read multiple books a day! SYNOPSIS ***************** 1863: In a small Creole cottage in New Orleans, an ingenious young Black woman named Stella embroiders intricate Publication date: August 30, 2022 Thank you to NetGalley, the author, and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review an advanced reader's copy of this book. This in no way affects my review, all opinions are my own and may be affected by the fact that it is windy and freezing rain outside and I have nothing better to do than read multiple books a day! SYNOPSIS ***************** 1863: In a small Creole cottage in New Orleans, an ingenious young Black woman named Stella embroiders intricate maps on a 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 a 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. This is an excellent historical fiction novel that just won me over and made me fall in love with it...I have already sent a group text to my book club(s) about the novel urging them all to pre-order. The story is gripping and wonderfully crafted. I happen to quilt so that made it extra appealing as I recall the quilts that made the Underground Railroad "work" and how these must have looked ... I would have loved to have seen a representation of the quilts and what they looked like, but I am a total nerd that way! Pick up this book, pre-order it,. do anything you can to get it in your hot little hands!!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marti Perronie

    Book review of my latest historical fiction, The Thread Collectors by Shaunna J. Edwards and Alyson Richman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This story is told from the Civil War Era and I always loved to read and learn about this trying time in our history. In New Orleans, we meet Stella, who is a slave to a not so nice man, Mr. Frye. Stella decides to try to help her love William, who is a black Union soldier and an awesome musician, by sewing maps to help the enslaved men flee to freedom. She is gathering the informati Book review of my latest historical fiction, The Thread Collectors by Shaunna J. Edwards and Alyson Richman ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ This story is told from the Civil War Era and I always loved to read and learn about this trying time in our history. In New Orleans, we meet Stella, who is a slave to a not so nice man, Mr. Frye. Stella decides to try to help her love William, who is a black Union soldier and an awesome musician, by sewing maps to help the enslaved men flee to freedom. She is gathering the information for her maps from Mr. Frye and knows that he will kill her if he figures it out. Then we have Lily, who is in New York City and a Jewish woman. Her husband is in the Union Army and stationed in Louisiana. She sewed a quilt and stashed sheet music hidden within the quilt for her husband Jacob the musician. Lily and Jacob write often, and he tells her about his friend William the gifted musician. But when months go by and Lily gets no letters, she goes in search for husband. When these two special ladies meet by chance, they come together to save their loved ones! I really liked this book and the sewing reminded me so much of my grandmother. I can't wait to discuss with @bookfriendsbookclub Sunday. #crazybooknerd #bookstagram #lovehistoricalfiction #bookfriendsbookclub #lovediscussinggreatbooks

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    The collaboration of these two talented authors brought a piece of history to life in a very emotional story. The two main threads of the book represent a Black family from the South during the Civil War, struggling to make it through and hoping to be free. The second thread is represented by a White Jewish family, torn apart by the Civil War. The authors used much of their family history to create the narrative that I didn’t want to put down. Jacob is in the Union army as a military musician wh The collaboration of these two talented authors brought a piece of history to life in a very emotional story. The two main threads of the book represent a Black family from the South during the Civil War, struggling to make it through and hoping to be free. The second thread is represented by a White Jewish family, torn apart by the Civil War. The authors used much of their family history to create the narrative that I didn’t want to put down. Jacob is in the Union army as a military musician when he encounters William, a Black man running from slavery to join the Union army. The women in both their lives also show strength and bravery. Stella is hoping William makes his way back to her, while Lily leaves NYC to search for her missing husband, Jacob. There is so much to unpack, all I can say is I highly recommend this book. Thanks to Edelweiss for the ARC.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Virginia Winfield

    This is a wonderful historical fiction story. I love this fantastic group of characters. My favorite characters were William and Teddy. I love books during the Civil War and this one was a bit different. I have never known how scarce thread was in the south during the war. I love how Stella uses the thread. This made me laugh and cry. I wanted to know how each of these characters survived once the war was over. I loved the descriptions of the aftermath of the battles even though they were tragic This is a wonderful historical fiction story. I love this fantastic group of characters. My favorite characters were William and Teddy. I love books during the Civil War and this one was a bit different. I have never known how scarce thread was in the south during the war. I love how Stella uses the thread. This made me laugh and cry. I wanted to know how each of these characters survived once the war was over. I loved the descriptions of the aftermath of the battles even though they were tragic. I received a copy of this book from the publisher for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Christine Moore

    This was a beautifully written historical fiction book set during the Civil War. It is told by 2 different perspectives. Jacob who is in the Union army and his wife Lily who is an abolitionist. William is a slave who runs away to join the Union army and his love Stella who embroiders maps on fabric for slaves to escape and join the army too. I loved how it told different points of view and shows how the war affected different people. This would make an excellent book club book! I received an adv This was a beautifully written historical fiction book set during the Civil War. It is told by 2 different perspectives. Jacob who is in the Union army and his wife Lily who is an abolitionist. William is a slave who runs away to join the Union army and his love Stella who embroiders maps on fabric for slaves to escape and join the army too. I loved how it told different points of view and shows how the war affected different people. This would make an excellent book club book! I received an advanced readers copy and all opinions are my own.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Janie Hickok Siess

    In The Thread Collectors, the character of Jacob Kling is based on a musician who enlisted in the 31st Regiment of New York. Having left his wife, Lily, a harpist, behind in New York, Jacob is stationed at Camp Parapet near Jefferson, Louisiana, assisting the doctor who is examining the many Black men who have arrived to serve with the Louisiana Native Guards. Jacob's older brother has enlisted in the 29th Regiment of Mississippi. Samuel left New York and established a mercantile emporium in Sat In The Thread Collectors, the character of Jacob Kling is based on a musician who enlisted in the 31st Regiment of New York. Having left his wife, Lily, a harpist, behind in New York, Jacob is stationed at Camp Parapet near Jefferson, Louisiana, assisting the doctor who is examining the many Black men who have arrived to serve with the Louisiana Native Guards. Jacob's older brother has enlisted in the 29th Regiment of Mississippi. Samuel left New York and established a mercantile emporium in Satartia, Mississippi. Samuel was dispatched by their father to expand the family's trading business and, surprisingly, found a Jewish bride and settled there. The brothers' opposing stances create tension, especially when Lily is unable to hide her feelings during a visit. She is appalled that Samuel would join the effort to maintain slavery, but Samuel insists that he had no choice and is fighting not to protect slavery, but to hold onto the business and home he has worked hard to establish. He believes that if the Rebel forces lose, his family will be destitute. The brothers' affection for each other is never in question and both despair at the prospect that they could find themselves on opposite sides of a battlefield. As the story opens, Stella and William are saying good-bye to each other, unsure if they will ever be reunited. William is running away from New Orleans and his master, risking his life to join the Union Army at the enlistment camp ten miles away. William and Stella love each other but are not permitted to marry or even make decisions about their own lives. They believe that once the Union Army wins the war, that will change. There, he meets Jacob and the physician Jacob is assisting, who is astounded that William does not bear the kind of physical scars that so many other enslaved men do and his hands have no calluses. William has never performed hard labor. His musical talent was discovered when he was just six years old and he was sent to live in the main house where he was forced to play the flute to amuse and entertain his master's wife and their guests. He was required to dress in the hand-me-down suits of his master's son and perform on command, which was demeaning. Although singled out for his musical prowess, he was denied the opportunity to learn to read music because reading is forbidden . . . and a punishable offense. William can express his feelings through his music, but lacks the ability to commit his thoughts and emotions to paper. Stella lives in a Creole cottage with her half-sister, Ammanee. Their mother, Janie, lives nearby in her own cottage on Rampart Street. Their homes are furnished with cast-off items, and their masters provide them with meager allowances to buy food. They are among the light-skinned women who enjoy elevated living conditions because they have been granted favor by the white men who control their lives. Janie was separated from Ammanee's father, the love of her life, and never saw him again, but given her "freedom papers" when Stella was fathered by her master. She is not free to leave, however. Mr. Percy permitted seven-year-old Ammanee to be her half-sister's nursemaid and promised Janie that she could select the man who would be Stella's master. Stella was "sent to market" when she was eighteen years old and it was there that she met William, playing his flute. Keeping his promise to Janie, Mr. Percy negotiated a deal with Mason Frye, William's master, for Stella. She would be provided four bolts of fabric, ten spools of threat, three cotton slips and bloomers, two cast-iron pots, a copper kettle, a wooden desk, a chair, and a mirror. And most importantly, Ammanee would also be purchased to serve as Stella's maid. The three women are fortunate to be together, but Stella is required to submit to her master's demands and whims, and when, after William escapes, she realizes she is pregnant, worries what will happen if the child's skin color is too dark to convince Frye that he is the father. Stella is a skilled seamstress, of necessity, and after she embroiders a map to guide William, she is called upon by her neighbors to create maps for their sons and brothers who also plan to join the Union Army. She incorporates information gleaned by Ammanee from conversations she overhears while working in the nearby church. Because fabric and thread are precious commodities, quilts, purses, and petticoats must be repurposed, with thread being carefully extracted in order to be used again. Stella codes the maps in various colors signifying routes that are believed to be less fraught with danger than others. As the war rages on, William is pressed into service, along with a young drummer boy who barely speaks, performing nightmarish tasks he could never have imagined. Teddy is just ten years old, and eventually reveals how he came to be completely alone in the world, his drum his only possession, and in a Union Army camp. William, in particular, is fond of and determined to protect him. Jacob wrote a beautiful song for Lily, "Girl of Fire," and many of the soldiers have learned it. In the evenings, along with other musicians, Jacob, William, and Teddy bring comfort to and boost the morale of the men who are fighting. They develop a strong sense of camaraderie through their music, as well as their individual senses of being "other than." Jacob hides his background, painfully aware that many of the men he encounters have never before met a Jew and not all will accept him. William stands apart from many of the other men who have endured harsh physical conditions their entire lives. But William is no stranger to hardship and heartbreak, having watched his mother suffer. A holiday cease-fire inspires William to enlist Jacob's assistance to make it special for young Teddy. But their trek into the nearby woods ends tragically and tests the bonds the men have formed. With no idea what is happening to William or even if he is still alive, Ammanee and Stella will do whatever is necessary in order to keep Stella's child safe. When weeks pass with no word from Jacob, Lily is overcome with worry and determined to find him. But journeying from New York into the South is extremely dangerous, especially for a woman traveling alone, and there are no registries in which the names of soldiers are logged, nor do the various military hospitals maintain records of their patients. Lily's father in unable to convince her to remain at home and wait for word about Jacob's whereabouts and condition, and she embarks on a treacherous trip to Samuel's home. She is shocked when she arrives and see what has become of Samuel and his family. She begins visiting hospitals in search of her husband. There, she witnesses and begins to appreciate the horrifying effects of war as she walks among the wounded and near-dead, hoping to find Jacob among them. The Thread Collectors is a sprawling, engrossing story featuring compelling and fully developed characters. Authors Shaunna J. Edwards and Alyson Richman illustrate the various ways in which their Black characters enjoy better living conditions than many of their contemporaries. Yet, despite those advantages, they are not free. They are still enslaved. Even if they do not bear physical scars inflicted through mistreatment and back-breaking labor, they are emotionally scarred as a result of seeing loved ones abused and ripped away, and being confined and controlled, deprived autonomy even over their own bodies. But they are hopeful, believing that the Union Army will prevail and they will at last be free to live their lives on their own terms. They are each, in their own ways, resilient and resourceful, resorting to drastic measures, if required, in order to survive. Jacob and Lily are earnest and endearing, but unprepared for the harsh realities of war. Edwards and Richman use the letters they write to each other not only to advance the story, but also provide insight into their feelings, especially concerning the ideological division that threatens the Kling brothers' relationship. As the fast-paced and inventive story proceeds, Edwards and Richman cleverly pull together the various storyline threads. Lily, Stella, and Ammenee are tenacious and brave. Eventually, Lily and Stella come face to face and learn about the unlikely friendship between Jacob and William, men of quiet integrity and honor, that is convincingly depicted. Initially because of their mutual love of music, but ultimately because of the atrocities of war, Jacob and William find commonality, and mutual respect and admiration for each other. The Thread Collectors is a tale of unbreakable bonds of family and love for those we choose to be our family members. It is also an illustrationg of the inherent strain in the mother-daughter relationship between Janie, a woman who has survived unspeakable heartbreak and views the world in a pragmatic, realistic manner, and Stella, who is initially idealistic and naive, but quickly matures when she becomes a mother who will do anything to protect her child. The Thread Collectors is a unique and absorbing work of historical fiction about the most harrowing period in America history that is also timely and contemporary. Edwards and Richman penned the book in 2020, "as the world wrestled with growing awareness of racialized violence and inequality," in an effort to combine their creative "energy to find beauty in that darkness." They have indeed crafted a beautifully memorable story that continues to resonate long after reading the last page of the book. Thanks to NetGalley for an Advance Reader's Copy of the book.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Maggie

    I found this book to be fascinating! From the facts I learned about the time of the Civil War in the south as well as the social expectations, it was informative as well as captivating. The strength of the characters and the hope they draw from music I could connect with completely. Not to mention putting themselves on the line and risking their livelihoods in their own specific ways. This historical fiction novel has everything I could ask for with intertwining stories and characters, romance a I found this book to be fascinating! From the facts I learned about the time of the Civil War in the south as well as the social expectations, it was informative as well as captivating. The strength of the characters and the hope they draw from music I could connect with completely. Not to mention putting themselves on the line and risking their livelihoods in their own specific ways. This historical fiction novel has everything I could ask for with intertwining stories and characters, romance and rebellion!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Melanie (lemonyreads)

    Powerful. One of the most commanding books I’ve read this year. While this was, at times, agonizing to read, I finished it feeling educated, inspired, and grateful. This book is a spider’s web of people and history. It is a talented woven coat of many colors that will change you. If you let it. A passionate reminder that history matters. As Ol’ Abraham said, “Take care of the roots in order to heal the tree.” I’ve read historical fiction that lean on the facts to carry the book. As if they think, “ Powerful. One of the most commanding books I’ve read this year. While this was, at times, agonizing to read, I finished it feeling educated, inspired, and grateful. This book is a spider’s web of people and history. It is a talented woven coat of many colors that will change you. If you let it. A passionate reminder that history matters. As Ol’ Abraham said, “Take care of the roots in order to heal the tree.” I’ve read historical fiction that lean on the facts to carry the book. As if they think, “Of course it will be good. Its history.” this is NOT one of those books. It's not just the drama of it all. It’s how lyrically, purposefully, and delicately it was written. A painful and sharp account of our nation’s devastating past and the forgotten voices who deserve to be remembered. MY ONLY criticism is that there was a conflict towards the end of the book that I felt was a bit too easily resolved and felt somewhat rushed. Words that will forever be changed for me because of this book… “Market” “Blue” “Drum” “flute” “Thread” QUOTES: “As everyone around her knew, there were so many ways to not be free.” “A smart woman doesn’t prevent a sister in arms from her aspirations. She supports her, she encourages her to keep reaching for more.” “I continue to sleep under your coverlet of stars, my darling.” “We must raise a bit of hell if we’re to build a better nation.” CONTENT WARNINGS: I honestly don’t want to spoil anything, but it involves slavery during the civil war. I feel like that’s warning enough. I feel honored to have received and ARC from Netgalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Characters - 10 Atmosphere/Setting - 10 Writing Style - 10 Plot - 10 Intrigue - 10 Logic/Relationships - 8 Enjoyment - 10 Total: 68 Divided by 7 = 9.7 ( 5 stars. ) 1.1-2.2 * 2.3-4.5 ** 4.6-6.9 *** 7.0-8.9 **** 9.0-10 *****

  29. 5 out of 5

    Mlsco41 Robison

    This is a story is set during the Civil War and the trials of two couples. The story begins with a Jewish woman, Lily, and her husband, Jacob from New York. The second couple is two slaves named Stella and William. You learn about how strong Lily is in her fight against slavery. The story also follows Stella, a slave woman, kept in a house in town for her master's pleasure. Lily marries Jacob, a talented musician, and he becomes a Union soldier. Stella may have to be at the beck and call of her This is a story is set during the Civil War and the trials of two couples. The story begins with a Jewish woman, Lily, and her husband, Jacob from New York. The second couple is two slaves named Stella and William. You learn about how strong Lily is in her fight against slavery. The story also follows Stella, a slave woman, kept in a house in town for her master's pleasure. Lily marries Jacob, a talented musician, and he becomes a Union soldier. Stella may have to be at the beck and call of her master, but she falls in love with William, an amazing flutist. Stella has amazing sewing skills and she sews a map for William to escape to join the Union army. Jacob and William meet through their musical abilities and become fast friends. The story tells of the horrors of war and details the horrible treatment of his family and friends living in slavery. At times it is a hard read, tearing at your heart from all directions. It also tells of the poor treatment of the black soldiers in the Union army. Although the Union army is fighting for the freedoms of slaves in the South, they still treat the black soldiers as second-class citizens. You follow the lives of both women living lives without the men. You follow both men and how their friendship solidifies and bonds them together so tight. Love and devotion are a strong thread throughout this book. I would recommend this book with caution because of some of the violence described in the book. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are voluntary and unbiased and are completely my own opinion.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Betty

    I was quickly drawn into this historical fiction story and was captivated to the last page. It is an emotional read as the cruelty of both the war and the life of the slaves is clearly spelled out. My heart broke at such senseless loss of lives. This is a beautifully written story that embodies family and friendship. Set during the Civil War, the story focuses on two couples. William and Stella are slaves in a small Creole cottage outside New Orleans. Jacob and Lily Kling are a Jewish couple livi I was quickly drawn into this historical fiction story and was captivated to the last page. It is an emotional read as the cruelty of both the war and the life of the slaves is clearly spelled out. My heart broke at such senseless loss of lives. This is a beautifully written story that embodies family and friendship. Set during the Civil War, the story focuses on two couples. William and Stella are slaves in a small Creole cottage outside New Orleans. Jacob and Lily Kling are a Jewish couple living in New York. William and Jacob, both musicians, join the Union Army, become friends, and bond over their music. Lily, an abolitionist, stitches quilts and packages bandages to send to the Union troops. A talented seamstress, Stella embroidered intricate maps on cloth to help enslaved men flee and join the Union Army. There are other very memorable characters that round out this amazing story. This book is a collaboration between a Black author and a Jewish author. They bring pieces of their cultural and family histories to life and show how both Black soldiers and Jewish soldiers were marginalized in the Civil War. Edwards and Richman here give voice to these brave people. Do not skip reading the Authors’ Notes as they address their real-life ancestors that influenced the characters in the book. I received an advance copy of the book from the publisher. All opinions expressed are my own.

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