A Tapestry of Secrets

Written by Sarah Loudin Thomas
Review by B. J. Sedlock

Perla Phillips has kept a secret for decades: the identity of the father of the child she had out of wedlock back in the 1940s. Just as she resolves to tell Sadie about her father, Perla suffers a stroke and has great difficulty speaking. Perla’s textile artist granddaughter Ella helps care for her while suffering from a broken engagement, leaving Ella unsure what path her life should take. She feels some attraction for the new minister, Richard, but also discovers feelings for Seth, a handyman who helps her parents. Matters get more complicated when Ella’s ex-fiancé Mark turns up. On top of the romantic dilemma, Ella is distressed about a developer purchasing the land where their historic Appalachian church sits, and wants to see it preserved.

This is the third book in a series (after Miracle in a Dry Season and Until the Harvest) following the same family. The story travels back and forth between 1948, when Perla met Sadie’s father, and 2008, though most of the narrative is set in the latter. The religious content is heavy. Mild suspense runs along three fronts: Will Perla be able to tell Sadie about her origins? Which suitor would be best for Ella? And, will development break up the local church congregation? There are many Christian fiction fans who prefer gentle stories like this one, so they will not mind the low-key conflict. The family’s dynamic is interesting, with loving yet flawed people who must learn to deal with each other’s faults.