Oscillating between California in 2008 and Warsaw, Poland during WWII, Deborah Gaal expertly weaves together the stories of Maude Fields and Goldye Finkelstein.
Maude Fields is a widow in her seventh decade and about to become a grandmother. She’s also on the verge of losing her house due to exorbitant medical bills. To conserve costs and save her home, Maude moves her estranged mother, Bea, from the nursing facility to her house. Along with Bea comes a 14-foot tapestry, a story montage of the Battle of Hastings. The tapestry harbors many mysteries, not least of which is Bea’s skill; Maude never knew Bea to sew, but somehow she meticulously recreated the Bayeux Tapestry.
Meanwhile, decades earlier in Poland, Goldye Finklestein is “old enough to sew and young enough to dream” when Jan Kaminski takes her as an apprentice into his Warsaw fabrics store, where she begins embroidering wedding dresses. Her work is beautiful, but most extraordinary is that the dreams she stitches into the wedding gowns all come true. Her reputation earns her the name “Dream Stitcher,” and brides choose their wedding dates based on Goldye’s packed schedule. But as Germany threatens Poland and the Polish Jews, Goldye’s skills are needed in a different way; she must become a “catalyst for hope.”
The Dream Stitcher is an epic tale, perfectly blending history, mystery and fantasy, and delivering characters rich in dimension and intrigue. Readers will empathize with Maude’s financial dilemma, brought on by an over-compassionate personality, and identify with the complex relationships between Maude, her mother and her adult daughter—all living under the same roof. The magic sprinkled into Goldye’s character is just right as she sparks optimism in those around her, as well as in readers.
Die-hard mystery fans may find the initial pace a little slow, but absorbing the detailed set-up is amply rewarded with a vibrant, suspenseful and satisfying reading experience—one that skillfully illuminates the strength and resilience in women.
Also available as an ebook.