Disclosure: I reviewed the book in exchange for a fair review.
Book Title: The Thread That Binds by Alice Hayes
Category: Adult fiction, 284 pages
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Release date: September, 2015
Sherice is a new mother, a sonographer, quilter, and wife; an overworked young woman whose elderly mother is slipping away from her.
Sylvie is a newlywed and recent immigrant, unemployed and virtually penniless. Her husband’s paycheck can’t even cover prenatal care, let alone a baby, and her due date is only drawing nearer…
Joanne’s unconventional pregnancy turns her world upside down, redefining her career and relationships, and even bringing to the surface long-buried demons from her past.
Payton is seventeen, pregnant, and on the run. She flees to her uncle in Georgia with the hope of making a fresh start, but discovers making it on her own is harder than she could ever have imagined.
Gloria is trapped in an unhappy marriage; in love with someone else. Her life is falling apart. With a baby on the way, would it be selfish to flee?
Five women, once strangers, form bonds. Set in modern day Georgia, this is the story of friendship that blossoms in the land of country music, sweet tea, and secrets kept locked tight behind closed doors. Moving, funny, and at times heartbreaking, The Thread That Binds is a lesson in empathy, strength, and the beauty of love.
Buy the book: Amazon
When I decided that I wanted to review The Thread That Binds, I read the summary given and thought that this would be interesting to read. At the time one of my close friends was pregnant so I thought that it might help me understand a bit more, though I was aware I was reading fiction, not What To Expect When You’re Expecting.
Initially, based off the cover, I thought I would like the book. Even though I tell people not to do it, I am one of those who will judge a book by it’s cover but I use the blurb, the first and last page as well before I make an actual decision. The cover reminds me of when my mum gets together with her friends and we’ve rounded up their coffee cups to take into them. It’s warm, it’s homely and I like it.
Unfortunately I struggled with the book. I struggled with the pregnancy aspect of the book. I felt unable to connect with the characters and they either pregnant or new mothers. I, as a childless woman, struggled as I have never been through this myself and that was perhaps the issue I have had with the book. However, there are other books I have read where the characters and I have nothing in common.
Despite the fact I feel that I couldn’t connect with the characters and didn’t finish the book as a result; I have fallen for Alice’s writing. From one writer to another writer, I can appreciate the hard work and effort it takes to produce a piece of work that you are incredibly proud of and chose to share with the world. It takes balls to decide to publish because rejection hurts. The fact that The Thread That Binds won place in The World’s Best Story competition in 2014, just adds to how good this novel is, especially for a debut novel.
Would I recommend The Thread That Binds to a friend?
Quite possibly, it depends on the friend but a handful of names sprung to mind whilst I was reading.
Meet the author:
Originally from Winchester, England, Alice’s plans to read law at a British university were disrupted when she fell deeply in love with Georgia, USA, while studying abroad. After moving all over Georgia, Alice has finally settled in Athens and has no plans to go anywhere else.
She is a single mother to a three-year-old girl and a 65 lb hound dog. She likes coffee, wine, and anything edible with the words ‘salted caramel’ in its description.
At the time of publication, Alice is a 24-year-old history student working full time in a law office, and writing fiction at every stolen moment. She hasn’t slept in approximately two years.
Your book is set in Atlanta, Georgia. Have you ever been there?
Oh, yes. I lived just outside of Atlanta for a while. I’m a British ex-pat, but Georgia is a special place to me and there was no question of where I wanted The Thread That Binds to take place.
Is there a specific ritualistic thing you do in your writing time?
I have a little desk in my bedroom which I call my ‘writing nook’, because I only ever write there. While I’m sitting there I never do homework or waste time on the internet (one of my guilty pleasures) or anything like that. I really think that it helps. The moment I sit down at my nook, it’s like a switch is flipped and my brain says “oh, yes, time to write”.
What is your favorite travel spot?
Well, being European, I’ve traveled all over. I know, I know; I’m the worst. I’m a Francophile and a history nerd, so I’d have to say Carcassonne, France. A close second is a tiny town in the mountains of north Georgia where I went to college and first fell in love with the state. If you look for it in The Thread That Binds, you’ll find it.
What is your next project?
I’m currently working on a young adult novel, Say Nothing. It’s set in Northern Ireland during The Troubles and follows a 15-year-old Catholic girl’s transformation from blasé to political activist, as she witnesses the horrors unfolding around her. The title comes from a Seamus Heaney poem, Whatever You Say, Say Nothing, and the general idea at the time that talk could be deadly.
How did you do research for your book?
I use the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) forums year-round for research. In addition, for The Thread That Binds, I finally looked at all the pregnancy books I never got around to when I was actually pregnant. I even called a sonographer to discuss Sherice, one of the main characters, just to check that how I’d written her profession was realistic.
If you could put yourself as a character in your book, who would you be?
There’s a bit of me in all of the women of The Thread That Binds. I’m a hopeless romantic like Payton and Gloria, and it’s seen me burned just as badly as it has the both of them. I’m type-A like Joanne; tender-hearted like Sherice; and a wandering traveler like Sylvie.