I am thrilled to be joining the blog tour for the amazing Threadneedle by Cari Thomas. Many thanks to Cari and Harper Voyager for providing me with a copy of the book, and to Anne Cater at Random Things Tours for inviting me to be a part of the tour.
Anna’s aunt has always warned her of the dangers of magic. Its twists. Its knots. Its deadly consequences.
Now Anna counts down the days to the ceremony that will bind her magic forever.
Until she meets Effie and Attis.
They open her eyes to a London she never knew existed. A shop that sells memories. A secret library where the librarian feeds off words. A club where revellers lose themselves in a haze of spells.
But as she is swept deeper into this world, Anna begins to wonder if her aunt was right all along. Is her magic a gift or a curse?
Told through spells created with knots and threads, this is a story that is both innovative and based in traditional witchcraft.
I first heard about Threadneedle from my lovely friend Kate Kenzie who couldn’t say enough good things about it. With it coming so highly recommended, I knew that this would be a book that I would love. Even with such rave reports though, Threadneedle still caught me by surprise – not least because it has a contemporary setting, whereas for reasons known only to my subconscious, I had been utterly convinced that it was going to be historical. Once I’d got beyond that little misconception though, it wasn’t long before I was utterly hooked.
Threadneedle is a book of contrasts, the light and dark of magic, the warmth of Rowan’s mum and the positively Arctic personality of Anna’s aunt, the fine line between teaching someone a lesson, and taking it just a little too far. It is full of magic and mystery and I loved following Anna on her voyage of discovery of both magic, and life with friends. I was completely swept away by the hedonism of Beltane, which was actually vaguely reminiscent of a club I went to in Ibiza many years ago. I found myself longing to visit the magical club, and hidden library of magical texts, and all the other secret spaces there are to be found in London.
The complicated friendships, family relationships, and shared histories mean that there is an awful lot to unpick in this book, and I don’t want to give any of it away and take away the pleasure to be found in discovering it for yourself. It is a wonderfully original story which cleverly entwines plenty of the history of witchcraft within it.
Fantasy and YA are my two favourite genres of books, so Threadneedle was always going to be a winner for me. I couldn’t read this book fast enough but at the same time I didn’t want it to end. Here’s hoping I don’t have to wait too long for more from Cari Thomas.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Cari Thomas has always loved magic, inspired by her upbringing among the woods and myths of Wales’ Wye Valley. She studied English and Creative Writing at Warwick University and Magazine Journalism at The Cardiff School of Journalism. Her first job was at teen Sugar magazine where she ran the book club and quickly realised she wanted to be the one writing the books instead. She went on to work at a creative agency, spending her spare time researching magic and accumulating an unusual collection of occult books. She wrote her debut novel Threadneedle while living in London, wandering the city and weaving it with all the magic she wished it contained. She now lives in Bristol with her husband and son, who bears the appropriately Celtic name of Taliesin.
A NOTE FROM CARI THOMAS:
I remember the old family stories about my Great Aunt Mary. A fiercely independent, enigmatic woman who was said to be a witch. Perhaps it was these early stories seeping into my subconscious, perhaps it was devouring The Worst Witch, or growing up in rural Wales surrounded by myth and fairy tales, or maybe it was just me, but from a young age I developed a fascination for all things witches and magic.
But let’s not forget that the witch’s hut always sits outside of the village for a reason. In my research, I became just as obsessed with magic’s opposite forces – repression, fear, suspicion and prejudice. After all, if my Great Aunt Mary had been alive a few centuries earlier she may well have been burnt at the stake.
Witch hunts became an area of fascination for me and the more I read the more outraged I became – how powerful, outspoken women and men, or people of the pagan faith, or simply outsiders, have time and time again been suppressed, silenced and extinguished from society. How the power structure of the day meant that it was near impossible for them to have a voice and to defend themselves. Why was it such people terrified those in power? Why were we not taught more about this dark period of history? Why did the themes feel like they still resonated so strongly today?
I explore these tensions in Threadneedle – the freedoms of magic set against a fear of witches and feminine power; schoolgirls forced to take on the injustices of the world one spell at a time.
The sheer joy of writing the book came in bringing these tensions to the modern world and particularly into the London setting we think we know.
Ultimately, this is where the heart of the story lies: in feminine power and sisterhood, bringing together an unlikely set of outsiders, who together must navigate their way through the light and dark of being a young woman in today’s world. A world that is more complex than ever and yet still plagued by many of the same issues that my Great Aunt Mary would have faced, and all the witches who came before her.