The Oysterville Sewing Circle by Susan Wiggs
eBook review copy; 384 pages
The Oysterville Sewing Circle by Susan Wiggs is a highly recommended heartwarming domestic drama.
Caroline Shelby returns to Oysterville, Washington, a small town on
the Pacific coast, after living in New York for ten years. After a
career as a fashion designer/seamstress who was working her way up to
some major recognition, her success collapses due to an unscrupulous
employer and subsequent blackballing by the fashion industry. Caroline
is struggling along, but when a tragedy occurs and she is suddenly the
guardian of her best friends two children, five-year-old Addie and
six-year-old Flick, she knows she needs to return home in order to take
care of the children. She also needs help after being suddenly thrust
into the role of mother to two grieving children.
Caroline never thought she would return to the small town of
Oysterville, but once there, she knows she made the right decision as
she has the support available to help her raise her children. With her
arrival is the complication that her childhood best friend, Will, is now
living there with his wife, Sierra, another friend. Caroline never
really got over her feelings for Will, but is able to set that aside.
Caroline also reconnects with Mrs. Lindy Bloom. Lindy is the woman who
inspired Caroline and taught her to
sew at her sewing shop. What Caroline learns now, as an adult, is that
Lindy was abused. This knowledge along with the stories of other women
inspires Caroline to start the Oysterville
Sewing Circle, a domestic violence support group and business where
women can join together to encourage, support, and assist each other
the abuse and secrets they keep hidden.
The writing is very good in The Oysterville Sewing Circle, a women's fiction domestic drama.
The narrative alternates between the present and past. The past events
cover both Caroline's time in NYC and her childhood in Oysterville. The
NYC sections explain what happened to her and how she became the
guardian to Flick and Addie. Her childhood backstory covers her
friendship with Will and Sierra, and her fleeing to NYC. The chapters
set in the present show how Caroline is adapting to motherhood and
flourishing under her current circumstances. Wiggs has shown the way to
integrate current social topics and concerns (illegal immigrants,
domestic violence, MeToo movement, drug usage, unethical employers)
seamlessly into a novel without throwing every controversial topic into
one novel. Wiggs then subsequently handle the topics in a serious,
sympathetic, and feasible manner.
The characters are complex and react in a believable manner; they are
full of clear abilities, faults, longings, secrets, and hidden
strength. Caroline's ability to start up a business with talented people
available to help her is a little farfetched, as is the love story.
Some serious threads of the plot are summarized rather easily, but you
sort of know right at the start what is going to happen. And you know
what, it's all okay. It may be predictable, but there are some wonderful
highlights and serious topics, all handled in an understandable and
thoughtful style. This is a perfect choice to read for escapism and
My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins.