Things to Make and Mend by Ruth Thomas has kept me entertained for the last week.
It took me back in time to 1979 looking at the lives of fifteen year old best friends Sally Tuttle and Rowena Cresswell. I was only ten in 1979 but we all know what it feels like to be fifteen, how we learn to put on our own front whilst riddled with insecurity. The girls in this book are timeless worrying about boyfriends, fashion and wondering what their future might hold. Those friendships are so intense and if we are lucky, stand the test of time.
This is a gentle read looking in alternative chapters at the lives of Sally and Rowena in 1979 and as they travel through the years.
Needlework is a big focus in this book with even the chapters named after embroidery terms. Sally and Rowena giggle through their needlework lessons speculating about the life of their teacher Miss Button. Sally’s working life is in sewing and she does not move far from home. Rowena lives a very different life as an academic who travels the world.
Sally and Rowena’s friendship ends suddenly after Rowena becomes pregnant. They are both very hurt and miss each other whilst each feeling very let down by the other.
Events conspire to find them both in Edinburgh in their early forties as Rowena says goodbye to her emigrating son and Sally attends a conference as a speaker having won an award. Will they meet again? Will they argue or find a path to peace?
What I loved about this book was that it was not the sort of book you cannot put down. That made it very easy to pick up as and when I had time to read. I was amazed that there is such a twist so close to the end of the book. I really did not see it coming and it made me very sad and reflective.
In life we sometimes get things wrong and sometimes nisunderstand the meaning of events. On such tiny matters, lives can change totally and not always for the better. If only we would speak to each other rather than second-guessing!
I highly recommend this book which reminds us that life is a very rich tapestry indeed with many a twist and turn and with the opportunity to unpick things that go awry.