Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide


The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment

When a book starts with “Theresienstadt Ghetto, June 1944,” you know immediately some serious story is coming. When it jumps to Weequahic, New Jersey 2019, you suspect someone survived. But nothing prepared me for “The Red Thread” by Rebekah Pace.

The main character is Peter Ibbetz, born 1928 in Leipzig, Czechoslovakia to a Jewish family. History tells us those were dangerous times in Europe for anyone, but especially Jews. While the weight of the story does pull you through the heinous actions of Hitler and the Nazis, the heart pulls you through something completely unexpected. Because in 2019, a very wizened and frail but determined 91-year-old Pete, is being held by a thread to the lost love of his life from many decades earlier.

Peter and Mira met as young children and spent their early childhood in peaceful bliss playing in their yards and climbing in an old apple tree. As danger drew nearer and nearer, they had no concept where life would lead them. Mira received a locket from her father for her 7th birthday. The chain, accidentally broken some months later, was replaced by her father with a thin red rope thread. In Chinese culture there is a saying that a red thread connects soulmates forever, never breaking, so they can find each other again and again if needed, through this lifetime and any others. Mira gave the locket to Peter before they were separated by violence and war.

I held my breath at times, felt disoriented at others and held tight as the story whirled around and around me. I found that the red thread held, for both me and for Peter and Mira. I suggest readers take time to absorb what it means to be so connected by love and also to embrace the mysteries that swirl around in this world and beyond.

If readers need to pace themselves and maybe build up to “The Red Thread” I have a list of other books dealing with threads. Threads embroidered, knitted, quilted and crocheted, all weaving around stories and lives of people with both joys and heartaches, love and despair.

In “A Good Yarn” by Debbie Macomber, several bouts of cancer lead Lydia to rent a storefront and set up a shop full of colorful yarns and knitting needles. The drop dead gorgeous UPS man livens up the activities. Women come to knit sweaters and socks and end up knitting strong friendships in the process of sharing patterns and life’s challenges.

“Assault and Batting: A Taylor Quinn Quilt Shop Mystery” by Tess Rothery first deals with death and how it affects the extended family of Laura Quinn when she drowns suddenly during a trip to the lake. She leaves the responsibility of her quilt shop to her oldest daughter Taylor, who tends to adopted teenage sister Belle, fraternal grandfather Ernie suffering from dementia, and a constantly criticizing paternal Grandma Quinny, all with lives that need to be sorted out. Death can be complicated and so can families, especially when already broken, with added grief hitting them hard. Can these diverse individuals manage to quilt themselves back together?

Author Betty Hectman offers “Seams Like Murder” with her crochet mystery about the Tarzana Hookers who gather at the Shedd and Royal Books and More store. They hook multi-colored threads, of course, into creative pieces of art. The bookstore prides itself in offering a wide variety of activities beyond book clubs and participants of classes become teachers of their own specialty crafts. But classes do not come without the mystery of murder woven into the mix.

“The Quick and the Thread” by Amanda Lee starts with a new store opening on the Oregon coast, in the quaint oceanfront town Tallulah Falls. The Seven Year Itch store is the creation of Marcey who gives up a steady job in accounting to follow her artistic dreams. Embroidery is her forte and she hopes to inspire others to take up this creative endeavor by enticing them into her store with threads the colors of the rainbow. With her friendly dog Cosmos and best friends serving up coffee right next door, she opens her own doors wide. It’s just that darn dead body found on day two that confounds the peace and joy she was reaching for.

In each of these four books, the reader encounters threads that do not just weave creatively into beautiful quilts and embroidered jackets, doilies and socks. The threads weave in and out between people experiencing grief and growth and everything in between.

The mysteries are of both human and spiritual events. Threads squeeze and tease and beckon readers to follow. We all have threads in our lives that hold us together, pull us tight or let us fly. And if we are lucky, a red thread that won’t let go.

Good books.

Good reading.

*Midge Lyn’dee is a fictional character used for the purpose of entertainment though the reviews are real and sincere.