Marie Bostwick’s talented skills as a writer take on new
focus as she sets her latest book in contemporary times. Her
backdrops are a small town, its community, a quilting shop and
circle, and four female characters. Evelyn Dixon, whose unexpected
divorce has shaken her up, is driving to New England from Texas to
see the fall season. She stops in New Bern, Connecticut, to spend
the night and while walking around town steps into an alley. As she
looks into an abandoned building, she imagines what this space
might have in store for her. With grit and determination, she
decides to move there and open a quilting shop.
Evelyn meets a local restaurant owner, Charlie Donnelly, who
becomes a wonderful supporter of her and her shop, Cobbled Court
Quilts. As she talks with him about her goals for the
establishment, she realizes that she hopes to create a community
for women. And she finds that the perfect way to begin doing so is
to host an event that fall. Women will come together to piece a
block that will become part of a larger quilt, which will then be
auctioned off to benefit breast cancer research.
Evelyn designs her own quilt block, which she calls
“Basket of Blessings.” What she doesn’t know as
she puts her heart and soul into this endeavor is that it is about
to have an even more personal meaning than she ever imagined. The
day before the festivities, she is diagnosed with breast
While an exhausted Evelyn shows three women an appliqué
technique after the event (which was very successful), she pricks
her finger and blurts out her diagnosis. Margo Matthews, with her
philosophy of “being put on earth to help one another,”
enlists the other two ladies to help Evelyn. Pretty soon all are
involved in Evelyn’s shop, her cancer treatment and each
All of these new friends are working through their own
struggles. Abigail Burgess Wynne, the wealthiest woman in town, is
widowed and alone. Though thought of as aloof, Abigail is respected
due to her donations to the community. Her niece, Liza, is mourning
the death of her mother, who was also Abigail’s sister. She
is a talented artist and comes to New Bern when she quits college
and has been caught shoplifting. For 13 months, her aunt is
responsible for her and she must stay out of trouble as ordered by
the local judge. Margo has just been downsized out of her job and
is hoping to find a new one.
As a way of saying thank you to each of them, Evelyn forms a
quilting circle for her new friends. As they work together on a
quilt, their friendship grows and changes each of them. Liza begins
to recognize her own talent as an artist. Margo, the organizer and
marketer, keeps the store going. And Abigail finally talks with
Liza about her mother and their past together.
However, Evelyn’s cancer diagnosis requires more surgery.
What will happen to the shop? Her friends help out. Her son arrives
from his high-tech job, and even her ex-husband makes an
appearance. However, the small town and its surrounding population
may not be enough to keep her business going.
Just as quilters patch, design and sew, and select a pattern to
make a quilt, so do the characters in this novel stitch their lives
into new patterns. The new design for each of their lives makes A
SINGLE THREAD one of hope, joy and enduring friendships.
Reviewed by Jennifer McCord on February 18, 2011
A Single Thread