Ninepins by Rosy Thornton

Title:  Ninepins

Author:  Rosy Thornton

Genre:  Fiction

Published:  April 2012 – Sandstone Press

Paperback – 320 pages

My take:  As she did in The Tapestry of Love, Rosy Thornton gives her most recent novel Ninepins an interesting setting that could almost be considered one of the main characters. The changing atmosphere of the fens fascinated me!

Ninepins is a quiet yet compelling novel. Laura and her 12-year-old daughter Beth take in 17-year-old Willow as a boarder to help make ends meet. Willow is just coming out of the foster care system so she has a social worker, Vince, who regularly checks in on her. Willow seems emotionally fragile and has a troubled past. Beth is dealing with a few issues herself. She’s at a new school, trying out new friends, and is pretty much a hormonal mess. The latter causes her to take out her frustrations on her mother.

Laura learns of Willow’s past after she agrees to let her rent the small pump house on the property. She’s willing to let her stay because she’d have trouble renting the space to anyone else at this time of year. When a flood forces Willow out of the rental she’s invited to stay in the spare room of the main house. Laura has concerns about Willow’s influence over Beth who recently seems to be acting out quite often. Even more disturbing is when Willow’s mother appears at the front door one night. Laura suddenly has a lot to deal with in addition to working full-time.

Rosy Thornton’s layered story of Willow, Laura and Beth unfolds at an even pace that kept me turning the pages. Assumptions and suspicions are revealed and play out in ways I’m happy to say were unpredictable. That’s something I’ve found true in Thornton’s other novels as well.

Ninepins is a thoughtful and realistic drama that touches on single parents, step-families, social welfare issues and more – book groups would find several topics for discussion. I enjoyed Ninepins and look forward to Rosy Thornton’s next book.

Goodreads rating

Disclosure:  I received a review copy from the author. I was not compensated for my review.

The Tapestry of Love by Rosy Thornton

Back of the book: A rural idyll: that’s what Catherine is seeking when she sells her house in England and moves to a tiny hamlet in the Cévennes mountains. With her divorce in the past and her children grown, she is free to make a new start, and her dream is to set up in business as a seamstress. But this is a harsh and lonely place when you’re no longer just here on holiday. There is French bureaucracy to contend with, not to mention the mountain weather, and the reserve of her neighbors, including the intriguing Patrick Castagnol. And that’s before the arrival of Catherine’s sister, Bryony.

My thoughts: The Tapestry of Love is a novel about a woman whose life is changing.  Forty-nine and divorced for several years, Catherine leaves England and buys a small home in the mountains of France.  She hopes to to start a sewing business.  Her fluency in the French language makes settling near a small town much easier. Catherine may know the language but she has a lot to learn about the ins and outs of business in France. Not to worry. Her younger sister Bryony is a lawyer and offers to help when she visits.  That visit throws off Catherine’s new-found friendship with her neighbor Patrick.  She’s used to stepping back and letting Bryony be the center of attention and this time is no different.

I think one of the reasons I liked this book so much is because I identified with Catherine on a few levels.  She deals with the pull of family in England and at one point is called back home.  She gathers with relatives and starts to question if she should go back to France.

I liked Thornton’s characters and the setting.  It was easy to grow fond of the older couple down the road from Catherine’s house.  The Tapestry of Love is a deceptively quiet novel about independence and the realization that it’s never too late to go for one’s dreams.  I wasn’t sure I’d have time to read this novel when Ms. Thornton offered to send a review copy so I almost declined.  I’m glad I didn’t because I really enjoyed it.

Crossed Wires by Rosy Thornton

Crossed Wires

Back of the book: This is the story of Mina, a girl at a Sheffield call centre whose next customer in the queue is Peter, a Cambridge geography don who has crashed his car into a tree stump when swerving to avoid a cat. Despite their obvious differences, they’ve got a lot in common — both single, both parents, both looking for love. Could it be that they’ve just found it? This is a story about the small joys and tribulations of parenthood; about one-ness and two-ness; about symmetry and coincidence; about the things that separate us and the things that bring us together.

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First of all I’d like to thank Rosy Thornton for sending me her lovely book. It was a pleasure to read. Crossed Wires is a quiet story of people who are not that different from you and me. They’ve endured sorrows and have experienced joy. They not only survive their sorrows but seem to strive to find joy in everyday life – not in big ways, but in the small things. It reminded me of how just being a friend can mean the world to someone. If you’re looking for something a little different and uplifting, Crossed Wires could be the book for you. I’m so glad it “found” me.

Review copy from the author