Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Persian Pickle Club

I read this book by Sandra Dallas in just a few hours over 2 days. It helped that I was on a deadline for my book group that met last night. I didn't quite finish it before we met but even after discussing it and getting a good idea for how it ended, I still wanted to finish it.

This book is set in 1930's Kansas. The Persian Pickle Club is a group of ladies that meet to quilt. They use whatever scraps of material they can find--even old flour sacks--and share materials for all of their quilts. They have formed a real sisterhood among themselves despite the age difference between many of them. They have a bond that can't be broken.

I had no expectations from this book when I started except that I had read another book by this author and really enjoyed it (The Diary of Mattie Spenser). This book follows the same tone with a woman character narrating the story. Queenie is a young woman whose best friend has just left town to go to California so she is looking for a new friend. The new wife of a friend, Rita, seems like she'll be perfect. I thought the story would be about this but about halfway through the book, a body is found buried in the field of one of the Pickles (Ella). Now there is a murder and Rita is trying to make it big as a correspondent for a paper in Topeka so she starts digging around to find out who killed this man.

There are themes of friendship, rural living, domestic abuse, and justice. I found it a very enjoyable read and something I could recommend to just about anyone. On a personal note, I really enjoyed how the Pickles stuck together in times of crisis with casseroles, cakes, and sewing. It really makes me think of the Relief Society and while some of us may think that taking casseroles is old fashioned, sometimes in the face of tragedies or illness you just have to do what you know. If you can't do anything else but bake, you bake. If you can't do anything else but make a quilt, make a quilt.

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