A Stitch in Air
In 16th-century Granada, the convent of Saint Margaret’s houses a community of sisters renowned for their fine lace making. This novel is the story of their unusual community and in particular of Adela, abandoned there at age five by her mother. The other sisters, among them the Abbess Ana, Milagros, Sister Clara, saintly little Beatriz, and bitter Sister Dulzura are finely drawn in this gossamer novel, like the delicate lace the sisters fabricate. But the self-contained and magical life of Saint Margaret’s will soon be threatened, both by reported claims of heresy and by the forces of nature herself.
Carlson writes lyrically. The picture she paints of life at Saint Margaret’s is colorful and engaging, the foibles of the inhabitants, endearing. The author states that many women in nunneries did not have a religious vocation and she wanted to tell their story. Although my nerdy research side wondered a bit at some of the plot twists and depictions of life at Saint Margaret’s, when read as a work of magical realism, A Stitch in the Air is charming, as sweet and delicate as the luscious saffron buns baked by the sisters at Saint Margaret’s. Recommended.