Last year I read The Home Corner by Ruth Thomas – it was just a book I picked up in the library with no prior knowledge of the author. I loved the book – in fact it was one of my top books of 2014. On the strength of that novel, I also bought Things To Make and Mend.
This book is about Sally and Rowena – best friends as teenagers in the late 70s, but torn apart by one incident which caused them never to speak again. We start off hearing from Sally in the third person; she is now a needleworker with a 15-year-old daughter and an obsession with haberdashery. She seems quite sad and lonely, and her life lacks direction – and in this way she very much reminded me of Luisa, the heroine in The Home Corner.
We also have some first person narrative from Rowena, and slowly we start to find out what it was that caused their close friendship to fall apart all those years ago…
I loved this book and really can’t fault it. Similar in lots of ways to The Home Corner, this book explores what it is like when you lose a bit of focus in life. I loved Sally – she was frustrating at times but very sympathetic, and I also really enjoyed the flashback sections with the two schoolgirls bonding over all sorts of teenage stuff, which again I could really relate to.
The book is very touching and full of subtle humour, and although it isn’t full of twists and turns, everything slowly pieces together. The minor characters are also well drawn, but the focus really is on Sally and Rowena. The ending of the book leaves you desperate for more, yet it is perfectly fitting for the story.
So it’s another 10 out of 10 for Ruth Thomas from me.