A Tapestry of Secrets by Sarah Loudin Thomas (review)

atapestryofsecrets_thomas_bethanyhousePublisher’s Description:

What is the weight of a secret?  And what happens when that burden becomes almost too much to bear?

For decades, Perla Phillips has hidden the truth of a decision that still fills her with guilt. But now, seeing her granddaughter, Ella, struggle in a similar way, she’s prepared to finally open the past to her family, no matter the consequences. But when the opportunity is snatched from her in a most unexpected manner, will she have waited too long?

Spanning generations, this moving family drama weaves together the interlocking stories of two women as they navigate relationships, family, faith, and the choices that will shape their lives. Heartwarming and nostalgic, the story explores the courage to share the wounds of the past and celebrates the legacy a family passes from one generation to the next. 

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Appalachian stories have long held an appeal for me, and on finally reading one of Sarah Loudin Thomas’ Appalachian Blessings novels I was delighted to find a well crafted multi-generational story that incorporates themes of family, faith, and coming to terms with the past.

Old Testament Scripture talked about the sins of the father being visited on offspring even to the seventh generation.  What if, in these days of grace, the sins of the mother could be used to bless her offspring for generations to come? (p.85)

Though the main female character is Ella, who comes home partly to get away from an ex-boyfriend only to find two new romantic possibilities, I was particularly delighted with her Grandmother Perla.  Perla comes to the conclusion that it is time to tell the story of her past to help her daughter Sadie to deal with her anger and hopefully keep her granddaughter from making a relationship mistake, only to be prevented by a health crisis.  Following her journey through this book, and her changing attitudes, were a highlight.

As the romantic possibilities began to present themselves to Ella, I was apprehensive about there being a love triangle.  The way in which everything develops, however, both feels realistic and works with the plot.  I don’t usually get invested in love triangles, but by midway through this novel, I couldn’t help picking a side when I was charmed by one of the sweetest romantic dates I have read.

I often disliked Ella’s petulant nature, brought out by her need to keep change from happening, but I did enjoy watching as her perceptions changed and she was helped to realize that her faith too needed to change and grow.

“I’d forgotten how much God loves me and how all I have to do is love Him back.  I hope you learn that lesson sooner and more thoroughly than your old hardheaded dad did.” (p.194)

While the contemporary portions of this novel take place after the first two novels chronologically, the events of Perla’s past occur prior to the first novel.  I have the first two novels on my bookshelf, and I may eventually decide it would be better to read them in order, but I chose to read this first and it can stand on its own.  Knowing what I do now of this family, I am looking forward even more to reading the rest of the series including the prequel novella, Appalachian Serenade.

Recommended for those who enjoy contemporary, historical, or a mixture of the two.  While this is a romance, it is also the story of generations of women and the choices they make.

A Tapestry of Secrets (Appalachian Blessings #3) by Sarah Loudin Thomas | Bethany House, July 2016 | paperback, 304 pages

This review refers to a review copy received for free from the publisher through the Bethany House Blogger Review program.  A positive review was not required and all opinions expressed are my own.