Wednesday 8 March 2017

Things to Make and Mend by Ruth Thomas

Sally Tuttle and Rowena Cresswell were best friends at school until a misunderstanding changed their lives and destroyed their friendship. Now in their early forties, they are both single mothers, still haunted by memories of their lost intimacy. Sally works at In Stitches, an alterations shop and makes large embroideries in her spare time while Rowena travels the world working as a translator. 

Sally has been invited to present at a major embroidery conference in Edinburgh and as luck will have it, Rowena is at the same time in Edinburgh visiting family. Will they meet and be able to patch things up? 

This is a quiet book full of closely observed detail both about needlework specifically and life in general. I like the close attention paid to the craft of needlework, both embroidery and patching up. Both types of needlework are used as metaphor throughout the book. We see Sally and Rowena in their separate adult lives and also in their inseparable teenage friendship. 

Apart from the occasional odd note (they must have done a much more difficult French O-level than me if they were writing essays about Madame Bovary!) this is an excellent story about how friendship can fade and how a simple misunderstanding can spoil things. There's also a twist to the tale, that I found totally unexpected, but then when I thought about it, it made perfect sense (which is the best type of twist!)

Things to Make and Mend by Ruth Thomas published by Faber and Faber

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