A Thread So Fine
By Susan Welch
St. Paul, Minnesota, 1946
In “A Thread So Fine” Susan Welch presents a historical slice of life based on her mother’s stories. This is no simple story to tell. Welch introduces us to Eliza and Shannon, two close-knit sisters who should have moved on to college and a wonderful life. Though fate seems to have different plans.
The sisters and their parents have quite a challenge ahead of them.
Shannon is struck down with tuberculosis and is forced into a hospital’s quarantine wing. She survives, but only after numerous surgeries. Eliza who is both intelligent and motivated to pursue an educational career is thrown into an emotional tailspin after being raped by a serviceman. The resulting pregnancy is brought to term, but Eliza is told her child died. Though her sister believes differently. Shannon thinks the baby was adopted by a married couple and spends years caring for their daughter. She becomes extremely attached to the girl, even though she knows it’s not a wise thing to do. Looking toward the future, she chooses a career in nursing.
Early on, at the university, Eliza witnesses an afternoon of two provocative intellectuals in a discussion about the challenges of Labor issues. She becomes motivated to develop her full potential intellect and to focus her education on this important topic. Mrs. Perkins, a highly respected professor and one of the speakers, considers her a protégé. Making life difficult is the reality of her physical attack surfacing and affecting her relationships. She graduates at the top of her class with an undergraduate’s degree.
“A Thread So Fine” is heartbreaking. There’s no other way to explain it. Welch was dealing with extremely difficult topics that could change the course of people’s lives in any era. I can’t even imagine what it was like to live in a time when tuberculosis spread from individual to individual and all hope for your future couldn’t be predicted. Then there’s the hidden truth that PTS changes the quality of life of returning soldiers. It makes you wonder how many lives could have been saved or emotional pain lessened with proper therapy. We are well aware that this continues today.
The book kept me interested, but I found I didn’t get everything answered. I wanted to know what brought on their mother’s sudden death. I thought it was because of her job. Why the mystery of her mother’s childhood? Was the baby really Eliza’s? Couldn’t Eliza gone to a psychiatrist to help her come to terms the rape? I think these things should have been clearer stated. All in all, I’m glad I read the book as I learned so much about a time hardly written about even if it is a historical fictional account.
Three and a half devoted nurses out of five
August 24, 2019
So you know…..
Reviews to come: Dark Blossom by Neil Mullick and Harry the Wonder Cat: the Legend of the Pink Diamond by Denise Brixey. Currently reading Rosie Colored Glasses by Brianna Wolfson. Reading the following non-review book: The Lemon Sisters by Jill Shalvis. Love her writing so much I went out and bought four more of her books.
Note to authors: Contact me on Facebook if you have press releases, guest blog posts you’d like to feature for one day on GWN. (Denise Fleischer). Blog tours are available for 3 days of promotion.