Wednesday, March 15, 2017

All We Wanted to Know about Sarah

TIGHTENING THE THREADS (Mainely Needlepoint #5)
Lea Wait
Kensington Books
March 28, 2017

In Tightening the Threads, we finally learn the background and reasons for Aussie transplant Sarah Byrne's move to Haven Harbor, ME. She has always been very secretive, even with her best friend, Angie Curtis, the owner of Mainely Needlepoint. Author Lea Wait also shines a light on a little-known episode in British and Australian history. In the years after WWII and up into the 1960's, the British foster care system was overflowing and the solution was to send children to Australia. The idea was to supposedly give the children a better life. In reality, many faced slavery and abuse on Australian farms. Sarah's father was one of these children who was sent out, leaving a teenage unwed mother behind. Sarah's mother died when she was an infant and her alcoholic father hung himself two years later. Raised by her Australian grandmother, Sarah had a happy upbringing and had little interest in learning about her parents until her grandmother was near death and told her the history. Upon her death, Sarah left Australia to find her British grandmother. She did find her, but the British grandmother died shortly after. It turns out that Sarah's American soldier grandfather was Robert Lawrence, the deceased famous artist and Haven Harbor resident. His son, Ted, is also a painter and still has a gallery in the village. Over the course of months, Sarah has formed a friendship with Ted and finally reveals her identity. Ted's response is to invite his three adult children home to celebrate his 75th birthday, introduce Sarah to them and announce that he will be including her in his will.

Sarah is delighted that she will be meeting the family that she always wanted and nervous as well; so nervous that she asks Angie to be at the family gathering. It turns out that the three siblings are predictably displeased. After a blow-up at the dinner, Ted insists that they have a family clambake regardless the next day. When Ted dies at the clambake, they assume he ate a clam contaminated with Red Tide. But further investigation determines that he was poisoned. Who did it? Was it the grasping children, Sarah, or someone else? There is plenty of motivation, as Ted turns out to have been a pretty poor father to his own children.

Tightening the Threads is another solid entry in this cozy series. I was kept guessing until the end, especially since there is another death after Ted's. The Mainely Needlepoint series is packed with Maine charm and characters that continue to evolve. Thanks to NetGalley and Kensington Books for an advance copy. The opinions are entirely my own.

RATING- 4 Stars

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