Karen Osborn’s moving debut novel, Patchwork, follows the lives of three sisters living in Ash Hill, a fictional South Carolina mill town. Beginning in the early 1930’s, Patchwork takes you inside the cotton mills with their hundred-degree heat, their clattering spindles, and their twisting threads. Here, the oldest sister, Rose, stands for hours in front of rows of spinning spindles and leans against the outside wall of the mill during break time, nursing her newborn. The middle sister, Lily, falls in love with a man who will destroy her, all the while flirting with the foreman, hoping to seduce him into marriage. Meanwhile, the youngest, June, is pursued by a wealthy banker. Together, the three sisters weather years of loss, laughter, and love, forming the bonds that make a family. Like the patchwork quilt they sew from the mill scraps, their lives become stitched together with thread that knots and tangles but does not break.
Patchwork is a powerful saga of three women, their children and their grandchildren. It will make you laugh and break your heart, and the world of Ash Hill is one you won’t easily leave behind or forget.
Award Winning Novelist
A New York Times Notable Book of the Year
"Ms. Osborn, herself a poet, often renders rural Southern dialect into something close to poetry."
-New York Times Book Review
"Engrossing, well-crafted, poignant."
"A haunting and purely told drama of kinship, womanhood, and the long aftermath of tragedy... The tales are fluid and captivating sagas of love and betrayal, lies and hard truths, irresponsibility and loyalty. This is fine new fiction, deserving a place on the shelf and in the heart."
-Booklist, starred review
"Many Southern writers have latched onto the quilt as a metaphor, but none has done a finer job of literary stitching than poet Karen Osborn in Patchwork, a sensitive, unforgettable story of a South Carolina mill family."
-Atlanta Constitution Journal
"Karen Osborn has expertly pieced together a remarkable literary patchwork of honest female voices in a Southern mill town. The novel has the resonance of oral history without sacrificing the thread of suspense. I felt at the end as if I had heard, not read, this wonderful novel."
-Anita Shreve, author of The Weight of Water and Testimony
“Patchwork is a complex world of domestic disharmony, forbidden love, and family secrets festering through generations. Karen Osborn faithfully re-creates a world that is no more. Spending time with the people in Patchwork is like going to a family reunion. You listen to the gossip, marvel at the beauty in ordinary lives, and are sorry to leave."
-Denise Giardina, author of Storming Heaven and Saints and Villains
"Choosing her words with a poet's precision and accuracy, Karen Osborn has created an admirable example of the trueborn storyteller's art. This is an exciting novel, powerful and memorable."
"Patchwork is a story of many sorrows, but its accuracy, intensity, and sense of design give it a dark beauty. Karen Osborn has many gifts, not least among them a talent for dialogue that impels her story forward with hard power."
"Carefully crafted...a beguiling array of female voices, and a very authentic sense of time and place."
"There is a naturalness, a rhythm in the characters' lives and language which Osborn captures with lyric grace."
-The Columbia State
"Osborn has stitched together a tale of strong, colorful women you won't soon forget. She has chosen an interesting device and embellished it with a talent for dialogue reserved for poets and extraordinary storytellers. Despite its name, Patchwork is whole cloth."
-Jackson Clarion Ledger
“Osborn proves herself a novelist worthy of watching with this storytelling debut.”
-The Orlando Sentinel
"From the opening pages, Patchwork mesmerizes. "
-Lexington Herald Leader
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