The Threadbare Heart

( 4 )


Jennie Nash?s ?winning debut,?* The Last Beach Bungalow, was followed by The Only True Genius in the Family, a ?page-turning delight.?** Now she introduces us to two women who learn the lessons of grief?and of hope?

A photo of her sons. A doormat from Target. Twenty-three tubs of fabric. Somehow it comforts Lily to list the things she lost when a wildfire engulfed the Santa Barbara avocado ranch she shared with her husband, Tom. He didn?t make it out either. His last act was to ...

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The Threadbare Heart

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Jennie Nash’s “winning debut,”* The Last Beach Bungalow, was followed by The Only True Genius in the Family, a “page-turning delight.”** Now she introduces us to two women who learn the lessons of grief—and of hope…

A photo of her sons. A doormat from Target. Twenty-three tubs of fabric. Somehow it comforts Lily to list the things she lost when a wildfire engulfed the Santa Barbara avocado ranch she shared with her husband, Tom. He didn’t make it out either. His last act was to save her grandmother’s lace from the flames—an heirloom she has never been able to take scissors to, that she was saving for someday…

As she negotiates her way through her grief, mourning both the tangible and intangible, Lily wonders about her long marriage. Was it worth all the work, the self-denial? Did she stay with Tom just to avoid loneliness? Should she have been more like her mother, Eleanor— thrice-married and even now, approaching eighty, cavalier about men and, it seems, even about her daughter’s emotions?

It is up to Lily to understand what she could still gain even when it seems that everything is lost. Someday has arrived…

*Publishers Weekly

**Book Club Classics

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
“Jennie Nash writes with honesty and simple grace about the most complex human emotions… she uses sewing as a metaphor to stitch together the pieces of one family’s life, following multiple characters through the intricacies of love, grief, and desire.”—Laura Brodie, author of The Widow’s Season

“Jennie Nash has written about love, both romantic and familial. I was riveted to the many hairpin turns in her lovely prose, and having just finished reading, feel both the trauma and comfort of a deeply felt and written novel.”—Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author of The Deep Blue Sea for Beginners

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780425234105
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/4/2010
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,508,594
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennie Nash is the author of three books of narrative nonfiction and two novels. She lives in Torrance, California. Visit her website at

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 14, 2010

    The Threadbare Heart

    The Threadbare Heart is a must read for anyone who is grieving for the loss of a beloved spouse. The losses in this book are devastating. Not only does Lauren lose her husband,Tom, but, in the same moment, she loses everything. As the fire that engulfs their home, so it engulfs her heart and sends her into the tailspin of the grieving process. I wondered if the author has first hand experience grieving for a love and a life lost. Lauren picks up the thread of her like she picks up the threads of her passion for sewing to create a beautiful gift of acceptance and support for her mother. This is a beautifully written book that is an inspiation to others.

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  • Posted May 13, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Courtesy of Mother-Daughter Book

    In The Threadbare Heart, Jennie Nash has written a story of love, loss, family and the many forms each of those can take. There's love for a lifetime, love to help you heal, parental love, and love found when and where it's least expected. Loss comes from death, withdrawal of affection, and unmet expectations.

    Running through the core of the story is the relationship between Lily and her mother, Eleanor. They are totally opposite in many ways: Lily has had a lifelong love, and Eleanor never felt a strong enough connection with anyone to form a permanent attachment. Lily loves to sew, and she collects fabric to make clothes and quilts for the ones she loved. Embarrassed by her own mother's homemade clothes, Eleanor doesn't understand Lily's lack of desire for designer clothing.

    When Lily and Eleanor are forced by tragedy to take on a bigger role in each other's lives, they struggle to bridge their differences and learn to respect each other for the unique talents they each have. The Threadbare Heart is told from multiple perspectives, including Lily's husband, Tom, and their sons and daughter in law. This helps the reader see all sides to the story. It's a reminder that most situations don't feature good guys and bad guys, just people with different ideas of how they want to live their lives.

    In some ways I felt the ending to The Threadbare Heart was abrupt-I could have easily followed Lily and Eleanor's story for many more chapters-but when I finished it I found myself wondering what would happen next in each of the character's lives. I worried for them, and I hoped for their futures. I expect the issues brought up in the book will stay with me for a long time.

    While older teens may appreciate reading The Threadbare Heart, I believe it's a better read for adult mothers and their adult daughters. It should open interesting lines of conversation between them about their own relationships.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Fans will enjoy the Threadbare Heart that reads more like two interrelated novellas

    University of Vermont Professors Lily and Tom are in Santa Barbara visiting her octogenarian mom Eleanor along with their two adult sons, one daughter in law and one grandson in California. Their married son is having marital issues, but overall everything seems okay to the sandwich generation. Trice married and quite wealthy from her business, Eleanor offers to buy the nearby Halewood avocado ranch for her daughter, who initially says no as she prefers not to depend on her mother's money.

    However, she and Tom discuss the potential purchase and they agree to a change in lifestyle to pursue middle age dreams. She no longer will update the textbook she has published and he stops writing a new science curriculum. Instead he will start over with the ranch while she turns to her passion knitting. He will grow and sell avocados, she will stitch clothing and other items. The conversion seems smooth even with her commanding mom nearby until the deadly fire.

    The story line for the first half or so of the novel is a warm extended family drama with the cast having different personal crisis. The inferno that wipes out much of Lily's family changes the plot to a person struggling with grief as she slowly though her knitting finds some sense but wonders if her seemingly coldhearted mother is right that giving one's heart away is not worth the cost when death of the loved one is payment due. Although Eleanor is too harsh on her daughter at a time she can use hugs not tough love, she remains consistent that her theory is love hurts. Fans will enjoy the Threadbare Heart that reads more like two interrelated novellas starring a middle age woman trying to make a sense out of life.

    Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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