Cover Image: The Oysterville Sewing Circle

The Oysterville Sewing Circle

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Member Reviews

The writing on this was pretty atrocious. The same general points were restated over and over and OVER again throughout and it got very tiring very quickly. Also the romance (what there was of it) was kind of sketch with him being married at the beginning to her supposed best friend. Basically, it was all over the place trying to provide conflict and then going on and on about the conflict, but it was mostly self-created conflict. I am not talking about the physical/mental abuse victims and survivors because that was actual conflict and for everyone who WASN'T the main character, handled decently. I am talking mostly about the main character's giving up on the guy she liked as a kid to her friend, handling it badly for the rest of her life, and the entire plot with the evil designer, abusive guy, and her repetitive internal monologues about how she can't handle these kids she's inherited. Just deal with it, lady. I can handle only so much whining before I give up on a character and a book.

Did not read about 1/5 of this because I got too irritated and skipped multiple chapters to just read the end.

Thanks to the publisher for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Once again Susan Wiggs has written a story that grips you. The doubts that Caroline has about her role in life...never marry, never have kids all change because of two events in NYC.  Caroline becomes guardian of 2 children, Flick and Addie. There is not room in her apartment for them all so she heads home to Oysterville, Washington where she has family for support. Her dream job is gone. What will she find to do that will allow her to be who she is....a clothing designer? In this community she also sparks a new group who support people of domestic abuse. The reason is Caroline didn't notice the abuse of the kids' mother, and Caroline is feeling she has let Angelina down.  Read about the story of forgiveness, redemption, and love.
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Susan Wiggs knows how to spin a story full of interesting characters, multiple timely themes, and settings that come alive and contribute to the narrative. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to the author's future works.
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Susan Wiggs is an amazing Storyteller! Every single book I read of hers is great! Can't wait for her next book!!
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Caroline flees NYC with her friend’s two children, Flick and Addie. Returning to her hometown, she tries to restore her professional clothing designing reputation while figuring out how to raise the kids. With the help of her large family, and the women she meets when she starts a group for victims of domestic violence, Caroline makes progress. In her personal life, a for,war flame will make his reappearance. A decent read, but a little too formulaic for me.
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This was my first Susan Wiggs book and she did not disappoint.  A good book for book club discussions as the overall issue of domestic violence is a large part of this story.  The only disappointment I had was the quick dissolution of Will’s marriage, seemed rushed in the story.
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Years ago Caroline Shelby left her small town of Oysterville, Washington behind for the bright lighst of New York City. Her fashion career is just starting to take off when suddenly things take a turn for the worst causing her career to crash and leaving her as guardian of two young children. With nowhere to turn, she heads back to her hometown.

Her parents and siblings welcome her home with open arms. They promise to help her as much as they can, although she prefers to do it all herself. She also meets up with her first childhood crush, Will Jansen. Although Caroline always thought there could be something more between them, he married her best friend Sierra.

Caroline quickly learns that even in a small town like Oysterville, people have problems and secrets. She creates the Oysterville Sewing Circle. It’s a safe haven for women to open up and help each other. It’s perfect for her as she strives to revive her career and take care of the children, who have demons of their own to deal with.

Susan Wiggs creates a huge slice of life with this book. It features realistic characters from everyday life. They are sympathetic and I really cared what happened to them, especially Caroline and the two children.

Oysterville is your typical small town where everyone knows everyone else’s business, but it’s surprising how many secrets are being kept. This book teaches you that you never know what goes on behind closed doors.

The story is told in the present day, but it also goes back to Caroline’s earlier days. It gives the reader the entire outlook on her life. I preferred the present day story, but it was nice to read how it all began for her. 

It’s an emotional, heartwarming story. It’s been awhile since I read a Susan Wiggs book, but I’ll be reading more in the near future.
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Caroline Shelby was a rising star in the fashion world, on the cusp of living the dream she sat out to achieve a decade ago. However, after a famous designer sabotages her career and her best friend dies, leaving Caroline as guardian to her two children, she’s left scrounging for a way forward— professionally and personally. And while she never thought she’s return to her childhood home of Oysterville, her family and old friends might be the only people who can help her navigate the new life thrust upon her. But settling into the flow of her former life also means digging up small town ghosts, good and bad.

At the start, Caroline is pushing through perhaps the lowest point in her life. Author Susan Wiggs expertly navigates these early chapters, raising Caroline as someone on the verge of getting everything she’s ever wanted. And yet, through no fault of her own, it’s all ripped away. Between the downward spiral of her career at the hands of a rotten designer and the death of her friend, Angelique, she’s forced to change her life. This beginning is beautifully understated, with a careful friction placed against Caroline’s wants— with a massive independent streak, it’s not the kind of life she ever anticipated for herself, but she still commits to the two children she’s now responsible for, Addie and Flick.

Of course, Caroline is the main reason Wiggs’s work clicks together. Though Wiggs plays with alternating timelines, dragging up complicated relationships, forgotten feelings, and a community in flux, the focus is Caroline. Determined and with passion, she drives the action forward and the narrative draws parallels between her previous and current lives— really, she becomes two complex characters rolled into one.

Wiggs doesn’t shy away from difficult topics, including race, immigration, and domestic abuse— ultimately, Caroline forms a support group for survivors. However, she treads lightly, pulling away from the heaviest details while maintaining her point. It’s a balancing act, and Wiggs succeeds in showcasing harsh realities without them becoming too overwhelming or sterile.

Ultimately, Wiggs has crafted an intimate book with immense heart. Most importantly, it feels believable.
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The Oysterville Sewing Circle is the second of Susan Wiggs' books that I have read in the last year and I find myself wondering why I haven't read more! TOSC was important without being preachy and informative without being textbook-like. Touching on issues such as domestic violence (ranging from date rape to spousal abuse and beyond) and addiction, and the wake of destruction that can be found in the aftermath, I found this book taking me on a rollercoaster of emotions and finished the last page saying wow. I'm a bit surprised looking at reviews that I am more in the minority on this, but if you find yourself having similar taste to me, this is one I wholeheartedly recommend!
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I received this arc from NetGalley for an honest review.  I really like Susan Wiggs books and while this one was well written it wrapped up a little too nicely and felt rushed. There were so many parts and things happened really suddenly like Will and Sierra's divorce. I felt like I missed something and went back a few pages to see that it just was rushed. A good story, one I will recommend, just not my favorite by Wiggs.
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Favorite Quotes:

Since she had left home right out of high school, she had dutifully visited a few times at Christmas… That seemed to satisfy the family and also preserved her status as the official black sheep. Every family needed a pet, her brother Jackson used to joke.

I’ve had my heart broken so many times, it’s all scar tissue…

“Turns out my ‘perfect’ husband pulled the oldest trick in the book. He took up with an associate at the law firm, plotted a slick exit, and brought my life to a screeching halt. She’s awful, too— one of those phony Christians who claimed she was ‘saving herself for marriage.’” “I guess you should have asked whose marriage,”

His eyes were as blue as her favorite color of gumball… As a general rule, she didn’t like boys. With two younger brothers, she was well aware of their shortcomings. Boys were noisy, and they smelled like hamsters, and they had an incomprehensible habit of wearing the same dirty shirt day in and day out until someone made them change.

My Review:

This was a slowly evolving, relatable, and thoughtfully written story in which every woman from most any culture will find something that resonates for her.  While predominantly fitting the genre of women’s fiction, it could also be considered a second chance and small-town romance. The realistic storylines were easy to follow, highly assessable, relevant, and cast with a wide variety of unique and endearing yet flawed characters.  The writing was engaging and easy to follow yet slyly emotive and stung my eye sockets several times.  Susan Wiggs has earned a permanent spot on my list of favorite authors.
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Caroline Shelby always loved to sew and dreamed of being a fashion designer.  But in the cut-throat world of New York fashion, she is betrayed by her mentor who destroys her budding career.  When a close friend dies of an overdose, Caroline returns to her hometown and her family in Oysterville, WA, bringing her friend’s two orphaned children with her.  With her new responsibilities, she needs to start over and make a life for the three of them.  Caroline is certain that the scandal and shame she feels is the worst thing that could happen to anyone, but she quickly learns that many of the women she meets have secrets of their own. Her evolution is eased by renewing her relationship with Will Jensen, a long-time friend.

I requested an e-ARC for this title since I am an avid sewer, but the “sewing circle” turned out to be a domestic abuse support group.  Not a huge fan of women’s fiction, but this title should be very popular with readers of both women’s fiction and romance.
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An amazing read dealing with hot topics of today. Caroline, had never expected to return to her hometown of Oysterville with two kids in tow. Life changes quickly when Caroline finds herself unemployed in the fashion industry in New York and a friend of hers ends up dead, leaving two little kids to Caroline. Caroline returns home to family and  friends and starts up her new business in fashion design. She hires ladies who have gone through rough patches in their life's involving domestic abuse. That forms the Oysterville Sewing Circle, a wonderful support group.  Her childhood best friend of summer vacations, Will has also returned home. Their friendship develops into much more.

An amazing read that I had a hard time putting down. The story is told in present and past, loved the friendship of Will and Caroline. The topic of domestic abuse was told in a  way, that brought tears to my eyes.  This is a book that I highly recommend.
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I'm late to read and review this title, but I loved every word of it.  This is my first title by Susan Wiggs and if all her books are this wonderful, she has a new fan in me!  My library patrons have already checked it out and formed a waiting list.  Honestly, I didn't read the blurb that carefully and thus was surprised by some of the turns the story took.  I liked the surprises and enjoyed the read very much!
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Contemporary dramas aren't my usual fare, but I enjoy them on occasion. Susan Wiggs is familiar to me, and The Oysterville Sewing Circle did not disappoint. I was drawn to this one because I love to sew, so anything with "sewing" in the title catches my attention.

Caroline is returning to her hometown, Oysterville, on the Pacific coast of Washington. She hasn't been here lately because she's been working so hard to become a successful clothing designer in New York. Well, things fall apart for Caroline in a couple of different ways.

First of all, just as she is about to achieve some success with her own designs, the designer she works for steals them from her. She has no recourse in this cutthroat business--it is her word against his.

Then, one of Caroline's best friend, Angelique, who is a successful model, dies of a drug overdose in Caroline's apartment. Caroline had suspected she was being abused by a man, but didn't push her on it. And Caroline had no idea Angelique was using drugs. Angelique has two small children--and Caroline is now their guardian.

So she comes home with these children in tow to the loving home of her parents, where she has several siblings. And they all work at her parent's very successful restaurant. Caroline has no interest in the restaurant, but she has no idea how she is going to support two children. Her entrance is also complicated by Will, a childhood best friend who married Caroline's best friend. She's always had feelings for Will that she has kept buried. And now she must face him and his wife once again.

Because of Caroline's guilt over Angelique's death, and her discovery that the abuse of women is much more prevalent than she ever imagined, Caroline wants to try to help these victims in some way. Thus, The Oysterville Sewing Circle is born.

The Oysterville Sewing Circle is a multi-layered romance/drama that easily drew me in. The romance isn't too sappy, although a bit predictable. Caroline's growing relationship with these small children is an interesting development. Her struggle to find a way to create a successful business and find some independence is compelling. And the realistic portrayal of several characters facing abuse is heartbreaking.

It all works well together, and make for a fascinating read. I would recommend The Oysterville Sewing Circle to anyone interested in contemporary drama/romance. Susan Wiggs will remain on my preferred author list.
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I read this book at the beginning of summer and apparently didn't hit send. My mistake because  I loved this book!  Susan Wiggs's latest novel, The Oysterville Sewing Circle, takes place on the Washington State coast in the town of Oysterville.  Caroline Shelby is returning home in the wee hours of the morning after fleeing years ago to follow her dreams of being a fashion designer in New York.  Things didn't work out as she planned.  After several tragic incidents, she flees to the familiar accompanied by five-year-old Addie and six-year-old Flick who have recently lost their mother.

Caroline is welcomed back with open arms into her delightful family - all of whom are involved with the family restaurant.  She runs into Will Jensen, her first summer romance who married her best friend.  Will is an ex-Navy Seal who was injured in the line of duty and has retired to the place where he was the happiest.  Coaching at the local high school has him running into Caroline almost daily.  Of course the kids adore him so Caroline is forced to overcome her awkwardness and befriend Will and his wife.  

In the process of settling in, Caroline reaquaints herself with her mentor and owner of the sewing shop, Lyndy Bloom.  As their friendship grows, Caroline learns that Lyndy is the victim of spousal abuse, as are several more people in Oysterville, more then she ever thought possible.  Caroline, with the help of her sisters and mother, start a support group for victims of domestic abuse so people who have suffered in silence can have a safe, caring place to talk and find support.

Caroline soon finds herself happily settling in to small town life and is participating in the small community, with her children, in ways she never imagined.  Things are going smoothly until a new threat appears from the east.  This time she won't flee the town, but stand and fight for those she loves.

This book was so much more than a small-town romance.  Susan Wiggs has a lot to say and is very inspirational regarding those who suffer from domestic abuse.  I haven't read many of her books but I'm putting her at the top of my to-read list!   Thank you for the chance to read the ARC - I enjoyed the book and I know others will too.
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The Delight

Susan Wiggs and her books have long been favorites of mine in the past. After not reading one for awhile, I decided to jump back into with this one and while it wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be, it was still a delightful(mostly)read for me. Mostly because the subject matter includes domestic violence and that could be a trigger for some. Just a heads up.


Carolyn left Oysterville ten years previously to study fashion to fulfill her lifelong dream of working in the world of high fashion as a designer. She succeeds in many ways until it’s all ripped away from her. Tragedy follows on the heels of that and she finds herself taking two small children(not hers)back to Oysterville with her. Recovery for both her and her young charges is much needed and her family home is just the thing for them. Of course, her longtime friend/crush Will, now married to her high school best friend, is back home as well. While deciding what to do, she kind of falls into being asked to design and make several hundred shirts, something she can’t do alone. She also wants to do something for domestic abuse survivors and so The Oysterville Sewing Circle is born.The woman members are survivors and while not everyone helps with the sewing, they all feel better for the companionship of other women with the same problems. Of course, there’s also a romance.

This story jumps back and forth through time. We meet Will and Carolyn as older children as they explore the ocean and all the nooks an crannies of the town. They are pretty much inseparable, but that all changes when Sierra moves to town. Carolyn became pretty much the third wheel, although a welcome one. In the present, Will is still the good guy, the man everyone loves, but that can’t compete with Sierra’s wanderlust and need for a huge career.

There’s a lot going on in this book. Not only do we have the book within a book with the past and present, but there’s also the New York fashion scene, the time spent with the heartbroken children, the addition of the sewing circle and all the women characters involved, and that’s not even going into the romance or Carolyn trying to forge a new career. Even with all that, in the beginning, I thought it a bit slow and kept putting it down. I had no idea where it was going either. I wondered if it was going to be a mystery, a romance, or just a heartwarming story. In a way, it ended up being all of those things. Once I really got into the story, I was finally hooked and ended up quite enjoying the read.

The best part of the book for me was the characters. I wasn’t as big a fan of Carolyn’s as I was Will, but still I liked her. The children were so sweet and heartbroken and I felt for them all the way through the read. The women of the Sewing Circle, while not necessarily from the same backgrounds, became part of the story and I enjoyed them as well. Carolyn’s family were also a welcome addition to the story. There is, of course, a villain-one that I wanted to knock upside the head a few times myself! Enough said.

I would recommend this to adult chic-it or romance readers. It’s got a small mystery, but I don’t consider it one. And FYI, this book doesn’t contain cheating.
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This was my first Susan Wiggs novel and I liked this one enough to want to check out her other books. I appreciate her attempt at exploring some heavy subjects in this story however there were a few things in the book that I felt weren't developed to their potential. This has been a common thing with books I have read recently. Just because I know early on how it will probably end, I still need to feel like everything unfolds naturally rather than rushed or glossed over. Don't get me wrong though this was still a good read.

The fashion world might be glamorous but it is also cutthroat, a fact Caroline Shelby is well aware of having worked in the industry for 10 years in New York City. She decides to return to her hometown of Oysterville, Washington not only because she is unemployed but also because she has recently become legal guardian of her deceased friend's children and she's going to need the help of her parents and siblings. But returning home will mean she will have to face her past, both the good, and the bad. Given the size of the town it will be difficult to avoid running into Will Jensen, a friend from her childhood who broke her heart when he married her best friend, Sierra. When Caroline decides to form a women's support group, she learns that she's not the only one with a deep secret.

There's a lot of heavy subjects in the story like domestic violence, addiction, and sexual assault so I would take a pass on this one if you are just in the mood for a light and breezy read. Unfortunately because there was a lot of different things going on , I thought the story as a whole suffered because nothing felt fully developed. It's like the story would focus for while on the sewing circle, and then bounce to the whole love triangle thing, then briefly mention the kids. I feel like you get to the endpoint and it's not as entirely satisfying as you hoped because many parts of the story just felt glossed over. Keeping that in mind, I'm not saying this isn't a good book, rather because of these things, it didn't hit the great or awesome mark for me. Still recommend especially if you like books about women supporting other women.
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Caroline left the small coastal town of Oysterville to chase her dreams of being a designer, and has worked in New York for several years, now the ‘design assistant’ to a much more famous man. With her sixth entry in the ‘young up and coming’ designer contest, she  finally hits on a winner and is excited to make her mark. Until her ‘boss’ steals her designs and everything falls apart. Just adding to that trouble, Caroline’s best friend and model, Angelique and her two children Flick and Addie have sought refuge in her tiny apartment. Angelique won’t speak of the bruises she’s got over her body, and when she’s discovered dead from an overdose, Caroline has no choice but to head home with the children, to keep them safe and start to find a new direction for her life. 

Throughout the devastation, Caroline only wants answers and opportunities: answers to who killed her friend, and why so many women are killed by abusive partners, and to reclaim her confidence in her designs.  With Addie and Flick traumatized and unsure, she’s first providing them some security and family love – her whole family has stepped in to welcome and care for the children and Caroline – allowing them the chance to heal and grow. Adding to that burden is the reappearance in her life of her summer-crush / soulmate now married to her best friend.  She’s determined that nothing will convince her to stick around, and a relationship isn’t in her cards – it’s all about Flick and Addie and her designs.  

And then, discovering the extent, even in her small town, of the women who have been abused, she starts a support group – a group that is making differences in support and in the lives of the women who attend. From starting her own small design business on line to getting noticed by the ‘big guns’, Caroline is building a life in Oysterville, and helping others to reclaim their own sense of purpose and dreams – all in a safe environment. Full of stories of abuse and hope, the struggles with parenting (especially when you aren’t expecting it) and the sweetness of the children’s acceptance, their open hearts and the loving way in which the community comes to support people and business alike – this is a story of redemption, hope and opportunity – with a healthy dose of ‘how to help’ thrown in. 

I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility. 

Review first appeared at   I am, Indeed 
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This novel is a compassionate and telling one about lost love, lost career, and new beginnings woven into a tapestry that includes the ravages on women of spousal abuse. It is uplifting many times, hard at others. Truly a heartfelt novel that is not to be missed.
I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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