Cover Image: The Thread Collectors

The Thread Collectors

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Member Reviews


One of the most commanding books I’ve read this year. While this was, at times, agonizing to read, I finished it feeling educated, inspired, and grateful.
This book is a spider’s web of people and history. It is a talented woven coat of many colors that will change you. If you let it.
A passionate reminder that history matters. As Ol’ Abraham said, “Take care of the roots in order to heal the tree.”
I’ve read historical fiction that lean on the facts to carry the book. As if they think, “Of course it will be good. Its history.” this is NOT one of those books. It's not just the drama of it all. It’s how lyrically, purposefully, and delicately it was written.
A painful and sharp account of our nation’s devastating past and the forgotten voices who deserve to be remembered.

MY ONLY criticism is that there was a conflict towards the end of the book that I felt was a bit too easily resolved and felt somewhat rushed.

Words that will forever be changed for me because of this book…

“As everyone around her knew, there were so many ways to not be free.”
“A smart woman doesn’t prevent a sister in arms from her aspirations. She supports her, she encourages her to keep reaching for more.”
“I continue to sleep under your coverlet of stars, my darling.”
“We must raise a bit of hell if we’re to build a better nation.”

CONTENT WARNINGS: I honestly don’t want to spoil anything, but it involves slavery during the civil war. I feel like that’s warning enough.
I feel honored to have received and ARC from Netgalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Characters - 10
Atmosphere/Setting - 10
Writing Style - 10
Plot - 10
Intrigue - 10
Logic/Relationships - 8
Enjoyment - 10

Total: 68
Divided by 7 = 9.7 ( 5 stars )
1.1-2.2 *
2.3-4.5 **
4.6-6.9 ***
7.0-8.9 ****
9.0-10 *****

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Interesting story highlighting the Civil War through the eyes of a Jewish Union soldier, his wife and a runaway slave, and his love. Their shared love of music brought them together as they both served together as musicians. At times the descriptive parts were a long but overall the story was another version of the was not often seen. Recommended.

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I absolutely loved this book. It was a fascinating look at the civil war through the perspective of traditionally marginalized voices. The characters were compelling and the story engaging.

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A gripping story of a friendship between two marginalized (at least in the 1860s) ethnic/cultural groups - Black/Jewish. The story is basically set in the deep South of Louisiana during the horrendous battles of the Civil War. Surprisingly the two men become friends during the Civil War. Each of the men have a woman at home who cares deeply for her man. They are worried about the war and what might be happening to their men.

Willie, the African American, runs away to join the Union cause but is treated little better than a slave. Fortunately he has a musical gift and "finds" Jacob, a Jewish musician. Their love for music blooms into a true friendship during a time that is not a good one for either Jews or Blacks.

The women in the story use their skills and passion to help and are ultimately responsible for the soldiers separated being reunited in a joyous way. It is a lovely story of courage, pathos, death, and family renewal. I'd definitely recommend this for a history class at all levels middle school and higher! If one is prone to tears, this book can evoke some of them!!

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The Thread Collectors by Shaunna J. Edwards and Alyson Richman left me speechless with its rich historical detail in showing the unlikely friendship of an escaped slave turned Union soldier and a Jewish field doctor, also a Union soldier.

William leaves Stella, the woman he loves, in New Orleans while she stitches maps into scraps of fabric with any scarce threads she can find to help other slaves escape to join the army. Jacob leaves his society wife Lily in New York while she does abolition work and stiches her love into the blankets, shirts and handkerchiefs that she sends to him. It is their mutual love of music and William’s brilliant skill as a flautist that bring the two men together in remarkable ways. They were tested physically and emotionally as the Civil War raged on.

The authors friendship and their individual and distinct ancestries is what brought the story together. I’ve read a few books that feature Black Union soldiers, but I don’t think I’ve read any that feature Jewish soldiers. I found this story compelling, detailed, wonderfully paced with smartly crafted characters. Even the minor characters held my interest and depth to the story. Book clubs will love this one!

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DNF. Well written and researched but just not a good fit for me. I will not post on my good reads account since I did not finish.

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I don’t read nearly enough historical fiction books. It’s one of my favorite genres and I was so happy to read The Thread Collectors by Shaunna J. Edwards and Alyson Richman. What a wonderful and gripping story, one that I was thrilled to lose myself in.

I’m always searching for books that take place during the Civil War era and they are few and far between. This book is beautifully written with incredible detail thanks to what I imagine was a very intense research.

HIGHLY recommended!


1863: In a small Creole cottage in New Orleans, an ingenious young Black woman named Stella embroiders intricate maps on repurposed cloth to help enslaved men flee and join the Union Army. Bound to a man who would kill her if he knew of her clandestine activities, Stella has to hide not only her efforts but her love for William, a Black soldier and a brilliant musician.

Meanwhile, in New York City, a Jewish woman stitches a quilt for her husband, who is stationed in Louisiana with the Union Army. Between abolitionist meetings, Lily rolls bandages and crafts quilts with her sewing circle for other soldiers, too, hoping for their safe return home. But when months go by without word from her husband, Lily resolves to make the perilous journey South to search for him.

As these two women risk everything for love and freedom during the brutal Civil War, their paths converge in New Orleans, where an unexpected encounter leads them to discover that even the most delicate threads have the capacity to save us. Loosely inspired by the authors’ family histories, this stunning novel will stay with readers for a long time.

Out on August 30!

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Book: The Thread Collectors
Author: Shaunna J. Edwards and Alyson Richman
Rating: 2 Out of 5 Stars

I would like to thank the publisher, Graydon House, for providing me with an ARC.

I seem to be one of the few people who did not enjoy this title. This is one of those books that I wanted to like but just could not find a way to connect with it. There is nothing wrong with the book. I just found myself struggling to make any kind of connection between what was going on and the characters. I enjoy books set during the Civil War, which is why I picked this one up. The idea of getting the Civil War told from the point of view of the wives sounded really interesting to me. I wanted to see what these women thought of the war and how they saw it. I wanted the friendship and to see how difficult life was. However, I didn’t get that. I just kept waiting for more and it never happened.

The book is very well written. We follow Jacob and Lilly who are Jews for New York and Stella and William who are slaves. These two couples should have never met, but the war brought them together. William, who is a musician, has just run away from slavery and has joined the military. There he meets Jacob, who is also a musician. The two strike up a friendship. Lilly stays back in New York but feels completely disconnected from the war because she isn’t there. Stella starts to make maps for slaves to use while they are on the run. All of this should have made me fully invested in the story. These are things that I enjoy in historical fiction books. However, I just couldn’t get into it. I had a very difficult time forming any kind of bond with the characters. I guess I’m kind of like Lilly in that matter. I felt disconnected because I didn’t have a reason to latch onto the characters. I wanted to feel something for them, but I couldn’t.

The writing is very detailed. We get to know everything about our characters’ lives. We go know who they were before the war and how they got to this point. All of this is carefully woven throughout the story. Again, this should have been a bonding moment, but it didn’t happen. It does show us that the authors have carefully planned out this novel to make everything important and needed. I usually like the idea of weaving in backstories rather than giving us it all in one go. However, I felt that it kind of slowed the plot down. It made me come out of the story more than once. I don’t know if it would have been better to go in order and gives us a chance to see why we should care.

Again, I think that this was just a miss for me. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the book, but it just wasn’t for me.

This book comes out on August 30, 2022.

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I only gave this title 3 stars on Goodreads and did not end up writing a review for the library's website. Three stars (according to Goodreads) is "liked it". I did like it, but I also don't think it was quite what I thought it was going to be. I thought there would be more emphasis on the characters "collecting the thread" and stitching the maps to help others to freedom, and this actually seemed like a very small part of the novel.

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I read every book by Alyson Richman.. I haven't ever read one by Shauna J. Edwards. This book was so well written that I didn't want to put it down. I couldn't wait to see what would happened to Stella, Lily, and the people they love.

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Thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing, Graydon House and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book.

The Thread Collectors by Shaunna J. Edwards and Alyson Richman is an historical fiction novel set during the American Civil War that follows two women who, despite living in very different circumstances, share similar experiences and challenges as men that they love leave to fight as part of the Union Army. They both learn more about the depth of strength they have within themselves as they do what they must to protect their families during a time of war.

This book does not shy away from the horrendous acts of racial violence and terror perpetrated during this time or sugarcoat the difficult experiences that black soldiers experienced when they attempted to take up arms in defense of their own freedoms. However, while the stark differences in living conditions and treatment within the military at this time is clear, the authors offer glimmers of hope and humanity throughout the plot that keep the reader buoyed in what otherwise could be a sea of despair.

I particularly appreciated that the two women in this book are inspired by relatives and ancestors of the authors; they include small nuggets of their own family histories that lend an extra layer of authenticity as they highlight the perspectives of women who are often overlooked in novels covering this time period. I would highly recommend this novel.

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I found this book to be fascinating! From the facts I learned about the time of the Civil War in the south as well as the social expectations, it was informative as well as captivating. The strength of the characters and the hope they draw from music I could connect with completely. Not to mention putting themselves on the line and risking their livelihoods in their own specific ways. This historical fiction novel has everything I could ask for with intertwining stories and characters, romance and rebellion!

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This is a story is set during the Civil War and the trials of two couples. The story begins with a Jewish woman, Lily, and her husband, Jacob from New York. The second couple is two slaves named Stella and William. You learn about how strong Lily is in her fight against slavery. The story also follows Stella, a slave woman, kept in a house in town for her master's pleasure. Lily marries Jacob, a talented musician, and he becomes a Union soldier. Stella may have to be at the beck and call of her master, but she falls in love with William, an amazing flutist. Stella has amazing sewing skills and she sews a map for William to escape to join the Union army. Jacob and William meet through their musical abilities and become fast friends. The story tells of the horrors of war and details the horrible treatment of his family and friends living in slavery. At times it is a hard read, tearing at your heart from all directions. It also tells of the poor treatment of the black soldiers in the Union army. Although the Union army is fighting for the freedoms of slaves in the South, they still treat the black soldiers as second-class citizens. You follow the lives of both women living lives without the men. You follow both men and how their friendship solidifies and bonds them together so tight. Love and devotion are a strong thread throughout this book. I would recommend this book with caution because of some of the violence described in the book.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are voluntary and unbiased and are completely my own opinion.

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Setting is 1863 New Orleans. Stella was sold into slavery via market. She ended up being kept by her owner as a sex slave for himself. Her only love was for William who was a talented musician. William escaped slavery to join the Union Army.

Stella was talented with her needle work and started designing maps with her needle work for the young ones wanting to escape slavery.

This Creole community was so close and there for each other through this horror of times.

William finds himself in the Union Army and develops a close friendship with a fellow musician. Their lives intertwine and they help each other through tough times.

Will Stella every be free to love and be with William?

This is such a must read and I appreciate the opportunity to receive this early read.

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This book was written by Shauna J Edwards, and, Alyssa Richman, I have always been a fan of Historic Fiction, this one was so good, The story of two very different women doing a very dangerous thing to try and save the Men that they care deeply about, the courage it took to do the things they did. Steela, a black woman, from New Orleans, she is such a brave women, willing to do what ever it takes to help her Man be free, and then the Jewish Women trying to help her Man, It's a time of war, but what these women do is remarkable. I cant wait to read more by this Author . Thani you to Net Galley for allowing me to read this book and write a review. This is my honest review

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Special thank you to Harlequin Trade Publishing, Graydon House and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review this digital ARC of The Thread Collectors

This was my first book ive read by Shaunna Edward and Alyson Richman and it won't be the last. This book surely didn't disappoint. There was LOVE, suspense, heartbreak, historical aspects, friendship and so much more! Great character development too! I couldn't put it down! Based around the Civil war this books is a master piece in co-authoring!

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I enjoyed this novel. I read a lot of historical fiction, and the Civil War is one of my favorite periods to read about. Often times, I feel like "if you've read one Civil War book, you've read them all." But this one had a different take. This story does a wonderful job examining the idea that love transcends time and circumstance.

I received a free advance copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

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I was looking forward to reading The Thread Collectors, since The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman is one of my favorite novels. This collaboration between Alyson Richman and Shaunna J. Edwards did not disappoint.   The novel, to be released on August 30, has something in it for everyone who is interested in the Civil War and the antebellum period. Abolitionists, runaway slaves, the Sanitary Commission, Underground Railroad, Civil War musicians. Jewish soldiers, enslaved women, African-American soldiers, feuding brothers. This is a story within a story of survival during the mid 1800's.   Set in many different cities across the nation, I thoroughly enjoyed this story and the different perspectives of the characters and the stories they had to tell while trying to survive this turbulent time in America. A definite recommendation for historical fiction lovers.

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The Thread Collectors
This novel is a blending together of two distinctive threads that combine to create a beautiful story. I appreciate that the authors come from distinctive backgrounds and viewpoints that make the story very authentic. I also think it is wonderful the authors based the story upon their own family histories. Allison Richmond wrote The Lost Wife, and I greatly enjoyed that WW2 novel. I had not yet read anything by Shaunna Edwards. Together they easily have a 5 star vote from me. This is a civil war story, and like all war stories it is sad. Yet this story had so much hope within the blended threads. I have read a number of novels that focus on an unlikely friendship between women. This novel presents an unlikely friendship between men who each walked a difficult path. The war created a scarcity of thread, and life added a scarcity of compassion. Here there is compassion shown by men and the courageous women that loved them. Thanks to Net Galley for providing an advance copy of this novel.
# Net Galley

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This was an absolutely amazing historical fiction novel set in the Civil War era. I loved reading about the different characters and seeing their progression throughout the book. It has some heart wrenching moments, as can be expected! Wonderfully written.

Thank you for the digital ARC in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are completely my own.

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