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Reviewed by Lynda Faye Schmidt for Readers' Favorite
At the Seams by Pamela Gwyn Kripke is a story about family secrets. Told from the main character's perspective, Kate Nichols, it begins with an impactful life-altering scene. Kate is eight years old when she learns from her mother that she’d had an uncle who died in a hospital four days after his birth in mysterious circumstances, a secret that will haunt her for the rest of her life. Interspersed among everyday events, like attending classes at Miss Kellerman’s school of ballet and the fiasco of Changing the Desk Day, are the tumultuous emotions of coming of age and tensions that develop between Kate’s parents. Anxious and curious, Kate struggles to let go of the past, obsessed with the story of the baby who died. Her search culminates in a satisfying ending that hits the sweet spot between feelings of closure and lingering questions.
I liked how the title of this book hints at the unraveling of family secrets while paying homage to the lineage of tailors that Kate Nichols is born into. Pamela Kripke writes effective descriptions that had me picturing every scene in vivid detail. Masterfully utilizing the craft of showing, not telling, I was pulled into the characters' lives by the author and resonated with the complex interweaving of their relationships. Jealousy, insecurity, misunderstanding, unrealistic expectations, and the inability to accept one another and their differences are described with insight and perception. If you like character-driven stories about family ties that bind, blind, and undo us, you’ll enjoy reading At the Seams.