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After many lonely years, Paula has finally found love. She has decided to move with her new man to his childhood home in the countryside, but a big secret puts her in danger of losing everything. To clear her mind, Paula signs up for an embroidery course at a newly reopened handicraft school located in a small village in the picturesque region of Dalecarlia. Paula does everything she can to keep a low profile among inquisitive course mates, but the school’s all around go-to Gunni has her eye on her.

Though nearing retirement age herself, Gunni is unable to break free from her controlling and colorful mother. She has a hearing impairment that has made her an outsider, always excluded from conversations and contexts. Now she lives alone in the house on the school grounds where she grew up, and her only social life consists of visiting her mother at the retirement home. But once upon a time, things were different. Through flashbacks to Gunni’s youth in the 1970s, we see how Gunni finds her place in the world for the first time when she enters a school for the hearing impaired. There, she falls for her teacher: the beautiful and dedicated Angela, who also inspires Gunni to a political awakening. In a misguided effort to get close to Angela, Gunni enters a secret relationship with her teenage son. When catastrophe ensues, Gunni finds it hard to forgive herself for what happened, let alone forget the woman who opened her eyes to the world.

In a different time but in the same place, young and beautiful Anita has the future ahead of her. It is the 1950’s and change is afoot. When a modern supermarket opens in the village it is a sensation, but for Anita the sensation is the ambitious trader Bengt from America. When she starts working as a shop assistant, a forbidden romance develops between them. But Bengt is married and uninterested in more than a fling. When Anita finds herself pregnant, she must alone face a difficult and dangerous decision that will define her life.

Back in the present at the handicraft school, something about the lost Paula seems familiar to Gunni, and slowly a friendship of sorts develops between the odd pair. A diary turns up in Paula’s room at the school; a diary written by a young and desperate woman living decades before. Who is the unknown owner of the journal? And what happened to her? When the truth is revealed, it lays bare secrets that have been buried for a lifetime – and that will change the course of Gunni’s life.

Embroidery is at the heart of Hidden Stitches where, through the story of traditional handicraft, a piece of women’s history is painted with poignant fates and secrets that span decades. In this warm and relatable novel by bestselling writer Sara Paborn, the fates of three strong women, defined by three different times, weave their way through history and create a delicate shared embroidery.


”[…] All three women carry a secret that has left each of them deeply wounded. But Paborn does not leave her characters in the dark, but gives them and the reader hope. ‘In the desert there were species that survived without food and water for decades but still managed to flourish. It was a question of conserving energy.’ The black silk thread ingeniously ties these three women’s stories together  – this is stylish authorial embroidery!”
Femina (SE)

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