Monday, March 31, 2014
When I finished the last page, I closed the book and said WOW. I had The Thread by Victoria Hislop in my basket to order for ages but kept thinking I would not like it. How mistaken I was. The fact that is was based in Greece made me leery. I was uncertain I would be able to feel any connection to the story. What I did not know was that this was two love stories wrapped up in one beautiful cover.
Mitsos is in Greece visiting her grandparents. Katerina and Dimitri begin to tell him the stories of their lives. Their story begins with a great fire in 1917 that virtually destroys Thessaloniki. It is in the midst of this time that Dimitri is born. Five years later, Katerina is separated from her mother and baby sister while fleeing Asia Minor. These two major events alter both the children's lives so that they become linked. It is a tender love story against the backdrop of racial problems, complexity of class and even invasion and occupation during a world war.
The second love story is one I had no idea about when I bought the book which pulled me so deeply into the story. It is the love of a woman and her needle and thread. This story speaks to me from the very core of who I am as a needlewoman. I loved the descriptions of Katerina's talent with her stitches. I found the special relationship she has with her neighbor Roza heartwarming. She loves to spend time with her stitching away as kindred spirits. The quilts in the story became real to me. I could see them as they were being described.
I found this book well written with beautiful language of place, people and time. The descriptive passages brought me into the homes while the women worked on their clothes, rugs and embroidery. I could visit the haberdashery with Katerina, walk through the fabric warehouse with Konstantinos or experience the buzz of the busy Moreno tailoring workshop. For the history and romance, this is a wonderful read but, for any who enjoy needlework of any kind, it is a true treat that will leave you wanting to run and pick up your own needle and thread.