JCC Central: Alyson Richman and Shaunna J. Edwards
Inspired by the authors’ own family histories, The Thread Collectors is a rich historical novel set during the Civil War about two women — one Black and yearning for freedom in New Orleans, the other a Jewish abolitionist in New York — whose resourceful sewing to support their communities leads them on unexpected, dangerous journeys as they fight to bring their beloveds home from the front. As the two women risk everything for love and freedom during a brutal Civil War, their paths converge in New Orleans, where an unexpected encounter leads them to discover that even the most delicate threads have the capacity to save us.
Truth in fiction: Alyson’s great-great-great uncle, a Ger¬man Jew, was a musi¬cian in the Union army, whereas his brother fought for the other side, allowing the novel in part to explore what happens when family members hold opposing views on something as horrific as slavery, especially when that family is a minority in a new country. The character of Stella is partially inspired by Shaunna’s great-great-great Aunt Janie, a woman of Black and White parentage who managed to become a financially independent landowner while her relatives struggled to find economic stability. Shaunna’s family came to own a sugarcane farm carved out of a plantation that she and her siblings still own to this day.
Catered Schwartzie’s lunch included.
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