I’m an unapologetic literary snob. With a few exceptions, I’ve been disappointed in the contemporary fiction that’s soared up the charts over the past decade or so and prefer rereading Steinbeck and Fitzgerald and even Faulkner for the umpteenth time to the darling du jour of the New York Times book section.
So imagine my delighted surprise at discovering Grant Staley and his To Finish a Quilt.
The book calls to mind the rich, sweeping drama of my favorite Steinbeck novel East of Eden and I found it hard to put down, even when my sleepy eyes demanded that I do so. The characters are so fully developed and the intertwining storylines so compelling that my only disappointment came when I reached the last page and knew a wonderful ride was over.
Eunice Tweed Sissons, the woman at the center of so many characters’ lives in To Finish a Quilt, is one of the most complex women I’ve ever encountered in books and in real life. While I wouldn’t want to have her in my life, I couldn’t help admiring her and understanding—at least a little—the reasons behind some of her more appalling actions.
Armed only with sheer will, determination and the memory of something unspeakable, Eunice was able to rise from miserable circumstances to a position of wealth and power.
While her dream of social acceptance as a “grand lady” eluded her, Eunice never let that stop her from trying. If nothing else, she deserves grudging respect.
I always enjoy believable twists in a good story and Mr. Staley provides a few that had me going back to discover missed clues much as I did after seeing “The Sixth Sense” for the first time. I won’t give anything away, but I would pay a lot to have seen Eunice’s face when she learned that her friend…oops, I almost did it.
If you love fine writing, a great story and characters that will stay with you long after you reach “The End,” I highly recommend To Finish a Quilt. It’s on my rereading list and I look forward to taking that wonderful ride again.
(reviewed the day of purchase)