Kirkus Reviews QR Code


by Lisa Van Allen

Pub Date: Sept. 3rd, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-345-53855-0
Publisher: Ballantine

The women of the Van Ripper family know that magic requires sacrifice as well as intention. What will they risk to save their own home?

The Stitchery, a derelict architectural hodgepodge, replete with mansard garret and a tower, has been home to the Van Rippers since the Revolutionary War. Each generation has had a guardian, the woman who devotes her life to knitting spells for her neighbors. Aubrey, with her disturbingly iridescent blue eyes, is the new guardian. Her sisters, each holding her own secrets, have returned for the funeral of Mariah, the previous matriarch and the beloved aunt who raised them. Meggie left home at 18, becoming a nomad—but was she running away or searching for someone? Bitty arrives with her children, Carson and Nessa, but not her husband. Having rejected magic years ago, Bitty’s marital problems are compounded by her daughter’s instinctive interest in knitting and love for the Stitchery. But now Tappan Square and the Stitchery itself are in danger as unscrupulous developer Steve Halpern plans to raze the town and put up a shopping mall. Mariah had led the charge against Halpern, but her death—in Halpern’s office, no less—leaves the residents of Tappan Square unmoored. Aubrey is too shy to take the reins; Bitty and Meggie would rather sell; and slick newcomer Mason Boss seems too good to be true. Complicating matters is handsome handyman Vic Oliveira, the only man who can look Aubrey in the eye, the only man who makes her heart race, the only man who makes her question her allegiance to the Stitchery. In Allen’s debut novel, knitting becomes a rich metaphor for the power of women, of the disenfranchised, of the desperate.

Steeped in the spirit of Washington Irving’s "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow," this bewitching tale will delight fans of magical realism.