Cover Image: The Thread Collectors

The Thread Collectors

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Member Reviews

This book was fantastic! I really enjoyed it and it kept me guessing throughout, which is difficult for most books to do. I felt like I connected with the characters and really enjoyed the plot!
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Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to read this book through by the publishing date. Thank you for the opportunity regardless!
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The Thread Collectors is an amazing testimony to what we’ll do for love and freedom.

The story unfolds from the perspectives of Stella, a Black slave whose love, William, has escaped from slavery, and Lily, a Jewish woman from New York whose husband, Jacob, has enlisted for the Union.

Stella was a slave, purchased by a white man as his mistress, to be used for his pleasure. She had very little to call her own. Lily was the daughter of a wealthy businessman in New York, with all the advantages the world had to offer. They seem as different as two people could possibly be. But Lily felt very strongly that slavery had to end, and she became involved with the abolitionist movement. These women’s lives and their fights for freedom intersected when the men who were important to them met up at a Union encampment in Louisiana.

Thread ties the lives of Stella and Lily together. Stella sewed a map to the Union camp for William before he left, using what cloth and thread she could come up with, both so that he’d have a guide as he fled his bondage and so that he’d have a piece of her to carry with him. She then continued to stitch maps for other slaves to find their way to freedom as well. Lily helped the war effort by rolling bandages and stitching quilts for the soldiers, with her first quilt made especially for Jacob, a tangible representation of her love for him.

Likewise, music is a unifying force for William and Jacob. William is a good musician, and that earned him a little bit better treatment than many slaves received. His master always wanted him to perform. Jacob is also musically inclined, and when he realizes William’s talent, he does his best to ensure that William has a chance to put his skills to use in the military.

This book is simply amazing. The research the authors put into it is apparent, and the events they convey are often heartbreaking. It’s loosely based on their own family histories, and quite a compelling tale. And this book really stands out because its viewpoint is different. I’ve read a fair bit of historical fiction, and I can’t say that I recall reading another story told from Black and Jewish viewpoints. That made this a story that really caught my attention and didn’t let go.

If you want a story that’s well researched, well written, and emotionally gripping, set in the latter days of the Civil War, you’ll love The Thread Collectors.
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Incredible read but a bit more graphic than the books I have taught. Written in dual perspectives a nice book for a class or library bookshelf but not one I’ll adapt as part of my curriculum.
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Incredible detailed historical fiction about women's roles during the Civil War in both the North and the South. The wonderful details and points of view made this book suspenseful. I enjoyed how the writers had collaborated to express the POV from diverse perspectives. The historical fiction and the horror of enslavement were captured to the point of making you shudder in the descriptions of cruelty. The lives of Jewish people during the Civil War was also interwoven into the stories and I found it fascinating. I loved how the music was a bond for all humans and how they repeatedly used music to relate their feelings and perspectives. Powerful story and fascinating for women's history.
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Excellent historical.

About two men who are as different as humanly possible. One a black slave the other a Jew. Who would believe these two would become the best of friends. Yet it happened. Though they were from totally different social backgrounds they had one thing in common. The love of music. Their friendship is so wonderful to read about. 

This book was sad but so very interesting. Set during the Civil War when Black people were basically fighting for their freedom. This friendship gives hope and makes the things they endure a bit easier maybe. It was hard reading about some of the things that happened during this time. The differences between the two families and the wives are so strong. While Lily wrote letters of love and hope to her husband Stella could not. She was not suppose to know how to read and write. How horrible that is. How very sad. From Louisiana to New York this book holds your interest. 

Be warned though... It's a touch subject to read. It will break your heart unless you are truly heartless. Some of the things that happened were so horrible. I will read more of this setting. It needs to be out there. It needs to be remembered not hidden. Not covered up. 

Thank you #NetGalley, #ShaunnaJEdwards/AlysonRichman, #HarlequinTradePublishing for this ARC. This is my own true thoughts and I could not put into words exactly how it made me feel.

5 stars and a high recommendation.
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I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley.

This is a very interesting and personal view of the Civil War. We meet two families - black slaves in Louisiana and white Jews in New York City. Both men eventually connect as musicians in the Union Army. Because of their races, their lives and Army experiences are very different, but they become close friends.

The women, of course, were very different, as well. Lily wrote love letters to her husband and included sheet music for him to play. As a slave, Stella cannot send letters to William. While she is able to read and write, she must keep that a secret or she will be severely punished. William has never learned either skill. But Stella can embroider maps to help others escape! Lily and her friends wrap bandages and sew quilts for the soldiers.

Through this book, we see a lot of the horrors of slavery and the destruction of the South in the Civil War. Unfortunately, the beginning was slower than I would like and it took quite a while to get into the action of the story.
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Two viewpoints of the Civil War from women whose men meet and become unlikely friends. Each woman uses embroidery or quilting as a way to support and cheer the soldiers.
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Having recently finished “The Thread Collectors” by Shaunna J. Edwards and Alyson Richman, I am happy to have had the chance for the Advanced Reader’s Edition e-copy; thank you NetGalley and Harlequin Trade Publishing, Graydon House. 

This novel, set during the Civil War, was page after page of African American culture, antebellum history as well as the gruesome depiction of battles and tragedies of war.

The musical portions of this story were unexpected. Looking at the beautiful cover art, I was anticipating the sewing moments and also the abolitionist movement to be the main focus of the story. Instead those were alternated with the fife and drum pages in this story. “The Thread Collectors” vividly portrayed the horrors, devastation and inequalities that were a part of the war between our states. Though the needle and thread moments were fascinating, knowing that 2.75 million soldiers fought, and over 618,000 never made it home, will stay with me as we remember and honor their sacrifice on Veteran’s Day.
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Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review! I highly recommend this! It explores people in an era of history where they're not normally the center of attention, at least in the way that they're done in this book.
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Thanks to Net Galley and Harlequin Trade for the opportunity to read The Thread Collectors.


Beautiful and emotional story with historical detail i found to be very interersting.
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Thank you to Net Galley and Harlequin Trade for the chance to read and review this book. The opinions expressed are my own.
I was really excited to read this book, but it just didn't catch my interest. I like stories set in this historical period, but this story was very hard for me to follow. It seems to have good reviews and I have heard good things about it so maybe it was just me. It was an OK story, but not my favorite.
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The Thread Collectors is a slow moving, poignant, emotional story that takes place during the Civil War.

The synopsis leads us to believe this story belongs to two women, but in reality we have four central characters: a Black female slave and the man she loves, and a female Jewish abolitionist and her husband. The two men go off to fight in the war, while the women are forced to fight their own battles at home.

I loved the unique viewpoints. Setting and atmosphere came alive, placing me back in time, and the realism made me feel it all.

The one drawback for me personally was the amount of backstory on the various characters. These passages took me out of the present story, and the information tended to get tangled up in my head. While interesting, I didn’t think it was all necessary.

The author’s note at the end gives fascinating insight into this story and how it came to be, so make sure you read it!
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Read if you like: multiple perspectives.
This book follows four perspectives during the American Civil War. Stella is a young Black woman who sews maps for slaves to escape the south. She is a skilled seamstress and is in love with William, the second perspective who escapes to join the Union army. Then there is Jacob, a Jewish musician in the Union army, and Lily, an abolitionist in New York who travels south when her husband goes missing.
With the four perspectives, the plot was fast paced with lots of action. I appreciated that this book included a Jewish perspective during the Civil War, which is not something I have read a lot on. The ending felt a bit like White Saviour Complex, and I don't want to get too into it due to spoilers, but I could be wrong.
CW: slavery, violence, torture, mutilation, sexual abuse, harassment, rape, pregnancy, childbirth, war, death, and murder.
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I received this an ARC through Netgalley.  I was so excited by the description and had such high hopes.  Families separated by the Civil War of being on both sides of the slavery issue.  There was a lot a jumping around from one group of characters to another and then back.  Made it extremely difficult to keep the stories straight and who belongs to who.  Also, for me made it hard to connect with any of the characters in the book.
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I kept seeing good reviews about this one so I couldn’t wait to read it. 
Personally I thought this one was just ok and I did struggle on reading but I think I am just burnt out from reading so much.  
I am giving this one a 3.
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This was a beautifully written masterpiece. The characters were written with a depth that is not always found in novels these days. Often characters have one mindset the entire book which makes them rather flat and difficult to find an attachment to. The Civil War is a time period that is one of my favorites to have novels based around. Stella and her love for the soldier, how they must keep it hidden was very well written. The overall story is too wonderful to get into without writing any spoilers, but I can say that I will look forward to reading this author's books in the future.
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The Thread Collectors drew me on a couple of levels. First, as a seamstress, I just had to at least read the blurb for a book titled The Thread Collectors. Then, to find out it's historical fiction set during the Civil War was all I needed to know I had to read this one. I was so caught up in the lives of these characters and how they intertwine. The story is, of course, emotional, and the authors have crafted the kind of characters who get under your skin. The type I won't soon forget. The book is very well-researched and beautifully written. It's my first experience with either of these authors, but it won't be my last.
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From my blog: Always With a Book

As soon as I heard about this book, I knew I had to read it. And the fact that it was written by two authors and that they drew inspiration from their own family histories just made me more excited about the book. I was thrilled when we decided to pick this book as one of our #bookfriendsbookclub picks this month and that the authors were able to join us on a zoom chat – having the chance to listen to the authors talk more in depth about the book really added to our discussion. And then I even got to go see the authors in person at my local independent bookstore which was just fantastic.

There aren’t a ton of historical fiction books set during the Civil War era, so that immediately drew me to this book. But even more so is the fact that we see the story told from such unique points of view. It follows two soldiers who meet up on the battlefield – one an escaped Black slave and one a White Jewish man – and they form a friendship. It is through this friendship that brings their beloveds into the fray – a Black enslaved woman trying to make the most of her situation and a White Jewish woman doing all she can to support the troops.

This story is not always an easy one to read – it brings the darkness of this time right to the front without belaboring it. But at the same time, the story is balanced with these deep friendships and stories of love that are woven into the story. We see the lengths one will go to protect those they love, how a shared interest can forge a bond that looks deeper than color. We see these characters continually putting themselves at risk in order to do what they think is right. I loved how the authors explored the war from the perspective of outsiders – it makes for such a fascinating and memorable story.

This book is highly emotional and raw. It doesn’t shy away from the truth and I appreciated that the authors stayed true to the historical details that they came across. This is the reason why I love reading historical fiction – I love learning and feel that I learned so much from reading this one. And be sure to read the authors note – it is not to be missed!

I loved this book, as tough a read as it was in certain parts. I will be recommending it to everyone I know that loves historical fiction and I cannot wait to see what this phenomenal writing duo pens next!
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This was one of those books that I was really looking forward to reading. I love history and the Civil War is such an intresting period in history. But this book was just to hard for me to get into and that is saying a lot, because I stuided history in college. But I read about 50 pages and I had no idea what was going on. It was so hard for me to keep up that I just had to stop reading. I don't know what it was about this book. But I just could not bring myself to finish it. I think the writing was just a little all over the place for me.
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