Review: Tapestry by Beth Duke (2020) @bethidee @damppebbles #damppebblesblogtours


Twenty-one-year-old Skye Willis lives in Eufaula, Alabama, a tourist mecca of stately homes and world-class bass fishing. Her childhood friends are either stuck at dead ends or have moved on to accomplish Big Things.

Skye’s grandmother, Verna, insists on being called “Sparrow” because she suspects her ancestors were Muscogee Creek. She dresses in faux deerskin and experiments with ancient Native American recipes, offering a myth or legend to anyone who will listen.

Skye has no idea what to do with her life. She’s smart as hell, but she has no faith or knowledge there’s something out there she was “born to do.” Nor does she know much of anything about her father, who died in Afghanistan when she was a toddler. He and his family are a mystery her mother won’t discuss. But when Sparrow sets out to confirm her Creek ancestry through genetic testing, Skye joins in.

The results hit like a DNA bomb, launching them both on a path filled with surprises and life-changing events. Skye learns a harder truth than she ever expected.

Alternating chapters between Skye’s Alabama life and an intertwining tale of greed, deceit, and control in Texas, this story offers proof that all life is a woven tapestry of past, present, and future.

In Beth Duke’s uplifting and soul-singing voice, TAPESTRY is Southern Fiction at its best; you will cry, you will laugh out loud, and you will wish you were a member of the beautiful, matriarchal family Duke has created for her readers.

This book is a must-read for fans of Fannie Flagg, Anne Rivers Siddons, and Rebecca Wells.


Thank you to the author and to Emma at Damp Pebbles for my spot on this blog tour. I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

I really enjoyed this book. I have read some quite serious, dark fiction this year, and it was a refreshing delight to follow Skye and her family on their quirky, twisty journey. I loved the characters, especially Skye’s grandmother, Verna, whose devotion to her possible heritage is more than just an endearing eccentricity: it is an assertion of identity. But even the more minor characters are wonderfully drawn, from Skye’s mother’s new beau to his mother, each is given care and attention. This is a very loving book – you can feel the author’s big heart in every page.

Large themes are given space here, but they never overwhelm the narrative, which is a fun, unexpected ride that carries the reader along. Skye’s first person narration rings true – so much so that I definitely felt the age difference between us and found myself occasionally raising my eyebrows at her twenty-something mindset, but I think that says more about my age and cynicism! She is a sympathetic protagonist, and I wished her well at every turn. Her father is a more complicated character than he initially appears, and I liked his development as the book progressed. His wife, the fabulously dislikable Kara Darling, is the only character in the book who teeters on soap-operarish caricature, but her sections allow Duke to fully indulge her excellent sense of humour, and provide some highly entertaining drama, so I actually didn’t mind at all, and looked forward to Kara appearing on the page to stir up more trouble!

Tapestry was great fun to read. It is almost like reading two books in one: an uplifting, sweeping tale of a wonderfully idiosyncratic matriarchal family, and alongside, a comeuppance story about a Dallas/Dynasty-esque female villain. The non-traditional family values and the warmth at the heart of this book feel like a giant literary hug, and that is a beautiful thing. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a good story told with a light touch and plenty of love.

About the Author

Beth Duke

Beth Duke is the recipient of short story awards on two continents and is eyeing the other five.

She lives in the mountains of her native Alabama with her husband, one real dog, one ornamental dog, and a flock of fluffy pet chickens.

She loves reading, writing, and not arithmetic.

Baking is a hobby, with semi-pro cupcakes and amateur macarons a specialty.

And puns—the worse, the better.

Travel is her other favorite thing, along with joining book clubs for discussion.

Please invite her to London…England or Kentucky, either is fine. Anywhere!

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Tapestry was published in paperback, digital and audio formats by The Art of Dixie on 8th February 2020.


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