Available May 1, 2019


Can love for a secret child heal old wounds?

St. Paul, Minnesota, 1946: Introspective Shannon Malone and her more popular sister Eliza are Irish twins and best friends. As little girls, they relied on each other for companionship and affection as their mother remained distant, beating back the demons of her own mysterious childhood. In the summer of 1946, as womanhood approaches, both look forward to supporting each other in promising--though different--futures. But when tragedy rocks the Malone family to the core, secrets bloom and one sister leaves, possibly forever.

The other, physically and emotionally scarred, vows to hold the invisible thread that runs between them. In the course of her journey, she encounters a child with a hidden past, and discovers the true meaning of family. But is it enough to bring her sister home?

What Reviewers Are Saying


  • “The intense love shared by two sisters is challenged by crises in Welch’s debut novel, set in St. Paul, Minnesota, and Ithaca, New York, during the mid-20th century...

    In skillful, straightforward prose, Welch sets her character-driven narrative against the backdrop of postwar societal changes. Along the way, she implicitly contrasts the more traditional St. Paul society with the nascent progressive movements in Ithaca. The addictive melodrama weaves a tale of secrets, misunderstandings, resentments, and squandered opportunities for reconciliation that keep the sisters apart for almost two decades. Shannon, the more creative of the two siblings, is a more fully drawn character than Eliza, and readers get to know her more intimately through her unmailed letters. A strangely ethereal epilogue offers a mostly satisfying conclusion, even if it leaves a few questions unanswered.

    An engaging and poignant historical novel. —Kirkus Reivews
  • As romances, politics, and trauma arise for each sister, patterns of the past threaten to overwhelm and separate their connections: "Eliza pulled the receiver away from her face and brought it to her chest, her mind reeling. Again, Fa was asking her to bury her needs in the shadow of Shannon’s trauma. Again, pushed aside by Shannon’s neediness." Can the ties that bind prove changeable rather than breakable? Some things never change, and readers who undertake the journey of this evolving relationship between two sisters from childhood to adulthood will find that A Thread So Fine lassos the heart with stories of close connections tested by life's progression. Readers of women's fiction who especially enjoy stories of sister relationships will relish this engrossing saga of change and survival. —Midwest Book Review

What Readers Are Saying


Dr. Angela Eilers, Minneapolis, MN

Inseparable sisters, Shannon and Eliza, are warmly memorable characters. I found myself immersed in their lives as if they were my own family. Set in the 1940s, this premier novel tells the tale of each sister’s wildly different dreams for her future, yet one braces for heartache knowing dreams can’t all come true. The story of Shannon’s love for Eliza and the invisible thread she believes will bring her home weaves historical events of immense interest: life-threatening tuberculosis treatments, family abandonment over shame and the tightly guarded secrecy for victimized women, to name just a few. Welch as a first-time author shines as the story teller of this vivid depiction of post-war life in St. Paul, Minnesota and Ithaca, NY—reminding the reader of a more genteel world, although a world still fraught with social challenges and turmoil that persist today. This book is a gem!

Mary Ranahan, Seattle, WA

I read this book in 2 days…a real page turner. It’s a great work of historical fiction and a thoroughly captivating storyline, smartly written with flair.

Eliza Amon, Seattle, WA

Two sisters, a secret and two lives forever altered. This is a totally captivating novel that plunges the reader into the lives of Shannon and Eliza, two Irish-American sisters living in the post-World War II American Midwest. Their experiences and dreams take them in totally different directions and I was totally immersed in the story. I ached at their estrangement and rooted for their reconciliation. I loved the historical details as well, especially that Frances Perkins is a character. This is a totally absorbing novel that is wonderful to curl up with….

2019 Events



Friday, April 26th
1:30-2:00 p.m. EDT
“Conversations LIVE” with Cyrus Webb

Wednesday, May 15th
2:10-2:30 p.m. CDT
“Afternoon Delight”
KASM-AM (Albany, MN) with Diane Haskamp



Saturday, May 4th
3:00 – 5:00 pm CST
Black Dog Café (books provided through Subtext Bookstore, St. Paul, MN)
308 E. Prince Street
St. Paul, MN 55101
RSVP: Angie at 651-253-7142

Saturday, July 20th
7:00 pm CST
Common Good Books
38 Snelling Ave. S.
St. Paul, MN 55105

Seattle, WA

Sunday, June 2nd
2:00 – 4:00 pm PST
Secret Garden Bookshop
2214 NW Market St, Seattle, WA 
Preorder Your Copy

Sunday, June 23rd
7:00 – 9:00 pm PST
Third Place Books – Seward Park
5041 Wilson Ave S, Seattle, WA 98118
Preorder Your Copy

About Susan


S usan grew up in Minnesota and Wisconsin with either her nose in a book or her toes in the water. After graduating with a Masters in International Management from AGSIM-Thunderbird, she spent fifteen years in business calling on breweries across the world, which gave her a treasured perspective both on cultural diversity and on the opportunities she might discover for learning, giving and growing. She now works for a company focused on regional agriculture, new technologies, and craft brewing.

Always a writer, Susan often attempts to solve her problems in third person, creating fictionalized versions of herself and the main characters in her life—mostly in her head, but sometimes on paper. Nearly a decade ago, in the days after discovering her own adoption story for the first time, she turned to her imagination to trick her reeling mind so she could get a good night’s sleep. A THREAD SO FINE was born of those creative threads weaving into nocturnal dreams as she struggled to re-write the beginning of her own life story.

Welch created Shannon and Eliza, Nell and Miriam as a way to imagine how women such as her Midwestern birth mother and adoptive mother might have overcome challenges as young Catholic women in an optimistic, but socially restrictive post-World War II culture. With the exception of FDR’s Labor Secretary, Mrs. Frances Perkins, the people in A THREAD SO FINE are all much loved fabrications layered with realities, truths and insights about her cherished mother, her brave birth mother, her beloved mother-in-law, her younger sister, and herself. When not traveling for work or pleasure, Susan spends her time either on the family houseboat in Seattle, or in a cabin in the dark and rainy, sometimes balmy woods of Lummi Island – and if she’s lucky, her husband Bruce is right there with her.


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