Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Review: Birds in the Air



About the Book:

From Frances O'Roark Dowell -- bestselling author of Dovey Coe, The Secret Language of Girls, Trouble the Water and other "beloved books for tweens and teenagers" (New York Times Sunday Book Review) -- comes Birds in the Air, Dowell's first novel for adults.

In the tradition of Marie Bostwick and Jennifer Chiaverini, Dowell combines her deep connection to the quilting life and her love of storytelling to create a novel about the abiding friendships that bind together a community of women who share a passion for making quilts.

When Emma Byrd moves into the house of her dreams in the small mountain community of Sweet Anne's Gap, she knows that making friends may prove to be her biggest challenge. Her husband loves his new job and her kids are finding their way at school. But Emma -- no natural when it comes to talking to strangers -- will have to try a little harder, especially after the sweet, white-haired neighbor she first visits slams the door in her face.

Luckily, a few of the quilters of Sweet Anne's Gap adopt Emma and she soon finds herself organizing the quilt show for the town's centennial celebration. But not everyone is happy to see the job go to an outsider, especially one who has befriended an outcast pursuing her own last best chance at redemption.

With Birds in the Air, Frances O'Roark Dowell (winner of the Edgar Award, the William Allen White Award and the Christopher Medal) has created a warm, funny novel about fitting in, falling out and mending frayed relationships one stitch at a time.

My Comments:

It seems that knitting is on its way out and quilting is on its way in as a literary craft.  

In Birds in the Air, the two centers of action are a quilt shop and a church quilt exhibit.  At the quilt shop newcomer Emma Byrd meets her first friends in her new community, and through them becomes involved in the quilt show.  She learns that old loyalites, friendships and fueds go deep in a community where everyone knows everyone (and where most people are related in one way or another).

I enjoyed watching Emma find her way in her new home, and thought the fact that she ruffled a few feathers in the "in" crowd and learned to find good in an outcast gave a sense of realism to the book.

Quilt patterns were discussed but not to the extent than non-quilters would tire of them and though I'm not a quilter I am fascinated by those works of domestic art.

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available through NetGalley.  Grade:  B

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