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  • Writer's pictureJenna Miller

The Oysterville Sewing Circle by Susan Wiggs

The Oysterville Sewing Circle by Susan Wiggs surprised me. I had heard the buzz surrounding this book when it was first published last year, and I finally picked it up.

Caroline Shelby is busily preparing her new collection to hopefully land her own ready-to-wear fashion label in New York City after ten years of struggling and working for other fashion designers. However, the life she so carefully planned and hoped for implodes. She suddenly finds herself driving home to Oysterville, Washington as the guardian to her recently deceased best friend's children. Caroline never planned to have any children of her own, but now she is neck-deep discovering how to parent and love children who have dealt with immense loss and trauma. On top of that, Caroline feels trapped back into friendship with her former best friend who married Caroline's first and only love, Will.

This novel coincided with the emergence of the Me Too movement. It is not just a self-discovery romance novel, It deals with hard, sensitive topics like domestic abuse. Upon her reentrance into life in her hometown, Caroline discovers that domestic abuse is happening even there, to other people she loves. She starts a survivor support group innocuously named The Oysterville Sewing Circle. She also rediscovers her love for fashion, finding inspiration from unlikely sources.

I finished this book in two days. It was an engaging, well-written novel that really captured the essence of adolescence, the inevitable growing-apart that occurs among many high school friends, and how abusive relationships have a devastating effect on every aspect of a person's life. There is some language in the book, but no open-door scenes. There are triggers for domestic and sexual abuse. The Oysterville Sewing Circle was my first book by Susan Wiggs, and I plan to pick up more of her works after this.

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