The Threadbare Heart by Jennie Nash

Lily and Tom have been happily if uneventfully married for years.  They both have successful teaching careers in Vermont, have raised two sons, and are looking forward to retirement in  five years. Their son is struggling within his marriage and doubtful that he will be able to share the same relationship that his parents have enjoyed with his own wife.  Lily’s mother, Eleanor is a wealthy and successful businesswoman who has seen her empire flourish, but had never experienced the type of love and relationship that seems to come so easily to her daughter.

Both women have been at odds with each other for most of their lives because of their very different personalities, values and limited understanding of one another. When Lily and Tom visit Eleanor in California on a family trip, Tom becomes enamored with an avocado farm, and Eleanor lobbies for them to buy it, much to Lily’s dismay both about her mother’s interference and her and Tom’s plans for their future.  Feeling restless in her marriage, she decides to take the opportunity for her and Tom to step out on a limb, and their decision to buy the avocado farm dramatically changes their lives in both wonderful and heartbreaking ways.

I was not disappointed in the time I invested reading this gifted portrayal of a family who loves each other deeply, but is on the verge of letting insecurities and enviousness tear them away from each other.  Between Nash’s warm and vibrant writing, complex characters, and intriguing storyline told from a multi-generational points of view, I was hooked!

The Threadbare Heart was a truly interactive experience for me.  I talked to the characters, agreed with them, disagreed with them as I discovered more and agreed with someone else, yelled at them, and then cried with them and for them through about half the book.  I couldn’t put it down, and I read The Threadbare Heart in less than a day.  Can you ask for more from a good book?  I loved this novel, and immediately passed it along to my mom when I finished.

I haven’t said much about this novel on purpose!  It is lovely, and it unfolds just as it needs. This is a novel that is best when you don’t know too much.  You will want to experience the developments fully for yourself as you go along. The women in this novel are strong, opinionated and grappling with the bonds and restraints, resentments and misunderstandings that can characterize family life.  Nash is an astute observer, well suited for translating the intricacies of family to the page.

Highly Recommended.

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