‘… it is the men who dream of Oregon.  It is as though Heaven itself beckons them and we must all cross hell to get to it.’

Set across different centures, The Scarlet Thread follows the lives of two women who are joined through an old, tatty journal as they each grapple with their husband’s ambition.

Twenty-first century woman Sierra Madrid is less than thrilled when her husband Alex announces that he has accepted a job offer which means they must move hundreds of miles to Los Angeles.  She is so upset about the family being uprooted that she fails to see how God could have a hand in any of this, despite her mother’s insistance that God has a plan for her life.  Suspicious of her husband’s new work colleagues and superficial new friendships, Sierra begins to feel like an uneducated country bumpkin and, therefore, worthless in Alex’s eyes.  In her loneliness, she turns to an old family journal – wrapped in a scarlet-embroidered quilt – and finds her life becoming intertwined with her ancestor Mary Kathryn McMurray.

Mary is a feisty young woman whose husband James insists on travelling to Oregan in a covered wagon in the 1840s.  Like Sierra, Mary is reluctant to uproot her family and move hundreds of miles away.  But she has promised to obey her husband and so – with bad grace – she packs up and prepares for the long, dangerous journey through Indian territory with her young family.

The hardships for both Sierra and Mary are real, and there are many ups and downs for them.  They doubt themselves, their husbands, and God.  But eventually, they each come to recognise that God really does have a plan for their lives.  Mary’s faith journey is carefully embroidered in scarlet thread onto a ‘friendship’ quilt.  It’s only when Sierra submits herself to God’s plan for her life and learns to forgive and be reconciled with Alex that she understands what the scarlet-embroidered quilt means.

I loved this book.  Any wife will identify with some of the things Sierra and Mary go through with their husbands; every marriage has its ups and downs.  The fact that it is set in two different times drew me like metal to a magnet – I love this type of storyline.  Like all of Francine Rivers‘ books, there is tragedy, drama, love, forgiveness, grace.  Wondering how Sierra and Mary will cope with each new incident that comes along kept me turning the pages, eager to read on.  Skillfully written, it brings history to life while showing us modern-day women that we can learn from the past.