Maternal Threads by Frances Susanne Brown

There was a time when I was quite fascinated by millinery shops with all its fancy hats. Pretty sure, from time to time now, when I see such vogue hats, I would remember Aunt Charlotte, the flapper girl, whose got a whole closet filled with them, and it'd make me smile.

Maternal Threads shows that one need not have a grand adventures or an extraordinary family legacy to make a memoir captivate a reader. I love these quiet journals that evokes bouts of nostalgia; poignant, lovely and lingering. In Maternal Threads, Brown traces her mother's family tree which brings her back into the 1920s and its rather empowering history on women and from which revelations slowly came to her over the years in a manner of musical crescendo.

More than Aunt Charlotte and family secrets, the book has social relevance on women. It amazingly lays out the thread that connect the characters of each generation and the metaphorical hats that they wear for every phase of their lives, whether trivial or important. Aunt Charlotte loved hats and she wore them with pride and flair that is a reflection of her personality. In a way, it has become a symbol in that it lets us contemplate the varying roles of women; as a daughter, a wife, the light of a family as well as herself. It left me musing much as to my own pursuits and place in the society.

Brown has a gift of making ordinary moments worth lingering over and making it momentous if only in the way of remembering. She weaves a nice delicate thread of chapters and sews them tight and solid. Nothing has been left to randomness and flitting thoughts. It was a well-laid out work and one I could imagine re-reading every few years or so.


Maternal Threads is a compelling story that weaves one woman's search of her childhood, with the secrets that have been kept from her since birth. While researching her family, Frances Brown finds herself unearthing stories of flappers, prohibition, and strangers that seem to never quite materialize. It isn't until the death of her mother that she's driven to explore the details of her maternal heritage.

Title: Mathernal Threads: A Memoir of Discovery
Author: Frances Susanne Brown
Published: May 1, 2015
Publisher: High Hill Press
Rating: ♨♨♨♨ (4 cups - A nicely written memoir with a little homage to the flapper way of life).