There are a number of books, and book series, out there that have “crafts” as their main theme. I’ve read a number of them and thought I would share my responses to them.
First, if you have a Kindle or use one of the Kindle apps, you may be interested in a free book- Lye in Wait is currently on Amazon as a free ebook. It may not be free for long so check the price before you click on Buy. I downloaded it but haven't yet read it.
If you haven't read the Shenandoah Album series by Emilie Richards, I do recommend it. Each title is a quilt name with the first being Wedding Ring. The series began as a trilogy but the author decided she needed to explore the characters a little more and it ended up as a five book series. The story starts with a somewhat cranky woman named Helen. Her relationships are explored with her wedding quilt as the centerpiece of the first book. I’ve read the entire series and enjoyed them all. The last one was written in 2009 so I expect that is the end of the series. There are quilt instruction books based upon the series available at a variety of booksellers and quilt shops as well as at your local library.
Another series that is current and ongoing is by Betty Hechtman and uses crochet as the center of the story. You can find them as either Crochet Mystery Series or Tarzana Hookers Mysteries. I’ve read the first two books and so far am enjoying them. They are based upon a woman, Molly, who is the event coordinator at a book store. One of the events she organizes is a crochet group that gets together to create projects for local charities. Molly is new to crochet. Other members of the group have much more experience with, and opinions about, crochet which makes for some interesting interactions. And, of course, someone is murdered and Molly helps track down the killer. These are quick reads and are a good take along for vacation or for when you want something light to read. Each book includes a recipe and a crochet pattern.
Not to leave knitting out, there is another mystery series that features knitting and is authored by Maggie Sefton. These are very similar to the crochet series in that they are quick reads and mostly enjoyable. She is on book 9 in the series. I have read through book 7. The story is about Kelly who inherits her aunt’s property after she is murdered. Her aunt was a knitter but Kelly is a novice. She ends up developing a relationship with the women and men of the local yarn shop and tries her hand at knitting while also solving murder mysteries. I really liked the first four books or so, but somewhere around book 5 or 6 the author took a turn and I found myself reading more of a Harlequin romance than a cozy mystery. Book 7 backed off a little bit from that and I truly hope the rest of her books will go back to the mystery focus. Romance is just not a genre I read and I really don’t care for it when I’m reading a mystery. Each book includes a recipe and a knitting pattern.
One last series I’ll mention today is by author Monica Ferris. She writes what has become a very popular series that is set in a small town in Minnesota. Similar to the previous two series, these are fun mysteries that are easy to read. The main character is Besty who has inherited a needlework shop from her murdered sister. Betsy is a complete novice in the world of needlework. She decides to keep the shop and with the help of her staff she learns what she can about the needle arts while solving murders. What I like about this series is that the author delves into a different type of needlework in each book. You not only have a good mystery to read, but you learn about a needlework technique. Monica includes a small pattern at the end of the book in that technique. She is currently working on book 15 in the series which will be out later this year. If you are in the Twin Cities area you will want to watch for Monica’s appearance at one of the Textile Center Library author bag lunches later this year. She was our guest speaker at our EGA chapter’s luncheon last December and is a joy to hear.
There are other crafting type novels out there and at some point I’ll do a review of those as well. For now, I continue to work on my EGA related projects and will have an update on those next week!