Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Blind Stitches

Rate this book
Nikolai Solvay has been dreading his sister’s wedding, but when his father dies unexpectedly two weeks beforehand, his return to New Hampshire promises to rake up his worst nightmares.

Meanwhile, talented young seamstress Juliet Glitch has been putting the finishing touches on the wedding dress. Mother of the bride—former prima ballerina and Russian expatriate—asks Juliet if she ‘would hem her blind son Nikolai’s trousers for the funeral’ … and the wedding.

When Juliet meets Nikolai, he draws her into the whirlwind of his unraveling family that makes her own quirky domestic situation seem normal. Confronted with the Solvay’s delusions and narcissism, Juliet must decide if her developing relationship with Nikolai is worth the turmoil as she deals with her own unreconciled past.

Either way, Nikolai cannot stave off the repressed memories surrounding his mother’s defection from the Soviet Union twenty years earlier. Against the backdrop of autumn 1989, during the Glasnost era, Nikolai’s family secrets crash alongside the crumbling Berlin Wall.

312 pages, Paperback

First published July 11, 2014

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

J.B. Chicoine

8 books19 followers
J. B. Chicoine was born on Long Island, New York, and grew up in Amityville during the 1960s and 70s. She has lived in New Hampshire, Kansas City and Michigan. She enjoys setting her stories in New England.

She has been writing stories since she was a girl, but didn't complete a novel until she was nearly thirty. Since then, she has completed four more novels; UNCHARTED: Story for a Shipwright, SPILLED COFFEE, PORTRAIT OF A GIRL RUNNING and its sequel PORTRAIT OF A PROTEGE.

J. B. Chicoine's novels are character driven, (though she does love a plot twist). As a watercolor artist, people are one of her favorite subjects. She says that developing a character is so much like painting a portrait--adding layers as she goes--creating depth.

She also enjoys designing covers and binding her novels. She blogs about her painting and writing, and also has a Website--www.JBChicoine.com. When she's not writing or painting, she enjoys volunteer work, baking crusty breads and working of various projects with her husband. Please feel free to contact her--she loves interacting with her readers.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
13 (33%)
4 stars
7 (17%)
3 stars
8 (20%)
2 stars
8 (20%)
1 star
3 (7%)
Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews
Profile Image for Anne Gallagher.
Author 25 books31 followers
July 14, 2014
I've been reading JB Chicoine since she first published, and I have to say, I think this book is the best so far. Chicoine dives into the human condition with all its frailty and dysfunction, and gives us an unbelievable roller coaster ride.

Nikolai Solvey has been living a lie since he was a little kid, as a result from a catastrophic incident during his childhood. Returning from England for his sister's wedding is bad enough, but two weeks before the wedding, his beloved step-father dies. His life from that point on will never be the same.

When he meets the seamstress his mother has asked to hem his slacks, he finds an ally in New Hampshire. Together they unravel the mystery of Nik's childhood and uncover a secret that will turn the entire family upside down.

Chicoine's prose is like eating a five course dinner blindfolded, one exceptional surprising course after another. You just can't get enough. I've loved her writing in the past, but this novel has pulled out all the stops. I don't want to give spoilers, but I have to say, it's quite unexpected. I don't have a clue where she gets her ideas from, however, this fiction reads almost as if it could be factual. Kudo's to Chicoine for another job extremely well done. Ten stars!
6 reviews
July 2, 2014
Blind Stitches was a really enjoyable read, with quirky characters and just enough suspense and romance to keep it rolling, although I wouldn’t necessarily call it a Romance—more of a psychological drama.

The characters are well developed—I loved Rome and his chickens. And Nadia—the bride and sister of the main male character Nikolai—was chilling. The delusional mother—former Russian ballerina—was believable, even if her delusion was rather unusual (I don’t want to give any spoilers). And the main female character, Juliet, was so easy to relate to. It was interesting to watch Nikolai—the son who returns to NH for his father’s funeral—work through his family’s dysfunction.

As Chicoine does with all her novels, there’s plenty of twists and turns to this plot, spiked with a little Russian history. Parts of the story are really creepy. There’s a lot of depth to this book, and I would highly recommend it!
Profile Image for Diane.
347 reviews73 followers
September 4, 2014
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of Goodreads First Reads.

This was a very enjoyable read. The story is set in 1989. The Cold War is coming to an end. Nikolai Solvay, whose mother is a former ballerina who defected from Russia 20 years earlier, has spent most of his life attending school in England. He has returned home for his father's funeral and his older sister Nadia's wedding. Meanwhile, Juliet Glitch, a young seamstress, is making Nadia's wedding dress, which is supposed to be a secret, especially from Nadia's mother. Both Nikolai and Juliet come from highly unconventional families. Juliet was only seven years old when her mother abandoned her and her newborn brother Romeo (yes, Romeo). Since then they have been raised by their aunt Anita. Nikolai's mother Olga believes he has been blind since birth - but there is nothing wrong with his vision. He also has a difficult and strange relationship with his older sister Nadia. Both Nikolai and Juliet have close, affectionate relationships with their younger siblings - Nikolai with his sister Lizzy and Juliet with her brother Romeo (nicknamed "Rome").

It took a little while for me to get into the story. I thought it was odd that Olga was telling everyone that Nikolai was blind while there was nothing actually wrong with his sight. I also thought the relationship between Nikolai and Juliet was progressing rather fast (three weeks?). However, I got caught up in the story. I wanted to see if Nikolai and Juliet not only got together but stayed together. I also wanted to learn the reason behind Nikolai's mysterious "blindness." I also liked the chickens. I used to raise geese, and believe me, they're just as dumb and accident prone. Rome was my favorite character - sweet, endearing, and rather goofy, and trying hard to be independent. This was actually a quick read. I read most of it in one day, which is pretty good for a 300 page book.

The only thing I found confusing was Nadia's age, which seemed to change. On page 70, we're told that Nadia was ten and Nikolai was five in 1970. However, we are later told that Nadia was born in 1956, which would make her 14 in 1970. At the end, she described as seven years old in 1969, which would mean she was born in 1962. This a minor note, though, and the only inconsistency I could find.

4 reviews
December 30, 2015
This was a nice little story, and JB Chicoine has a knack for drawing you into certain scenes and creating consistent characters. The book didn't make it from "good" to "great" for me, for a couple reasons.

In terms of the plot, I found myself getting impatient at times. There were plenty of "this is the scene when" moments where it was clear what Chicoine was up to, and I just wanted the story to move along. At other times, I wasn't sure what was happening, and scenes followed on each other without seeming to create any momentum. The ending was pretty exciting, though.

The writing also disappointed me at times. I'm not a stickler for grammar, but I sometimes found myself unsure about pronoun antecedents or dangling modifiers, and had to read sentences or paragraphs over again once I'd figured out what Chicoine meant. I had a similar concern with dialogue or descriptions of character reactions, when neutral or ambiguous language yielded several possible interpretations of a line and I wasn't sure which one was intended.

Two further quibbles on diction. Certain unusual words and constructions were recycled often enough that they started to seem repetitious (characters' eyes often "welled," and lovers were fond of "breathing in each other's scent/breath." Meanwhile, Chicoine was fond of highly specific terminology regarding sewing, fabrics, fashions, and architecture, using unfamiliar words that were neither essential to the story nor likely to reappear.

I would describe this as a high-brow beach-read romance novel. Though the writing could use some careful revisions, the book offers a nice love story, some family intrigue, and strongly written characters.
Profile Image for Sarah .
146 reviews21 followers
September 5, 2014
This review can also be found here

**Copy provided in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are mine alone.**

When I was offered the chance to post the Q&A with J.B. Chicoine I jumped at the chance because the book sounded really interesting, I was also offered the chance to read and review the book. Unfortunately I did not enjoy it as much as I thought I would.

The book went way too slowly for me. I was hoping for more mystery than what was in the book and a little more action. What I got instead was a romance that seemed to progress too fast and a mystery that didn't really start unfolding until halfway through the book.

I did love the whole Russian aspect to it. I love learning about Russia and the fact that the book is set during a time where the Berlin wall was coming down and communism was still very much alive in Russia was a huge bonus that kept me reading, I really wish that there had been more of the history involved with the book though.

The thing that I enjoyed most about the book was the ending. Not because it was over but because so much happened. I don't want to give away spoilers but that ending seriously surprised me. I may eventually give the authors other books a try but for now I don't think I was in the mood for an adult romance.
281 reviews
March 14, 2021
Another great story from J.B. Chicoine! Interesting psychology and mystery wrapped into one story. While reading the whole story, I was thinking of Tolstoy's famous quote about family. Apparently I was not the only one.
232 reviews
January 10, 2023
I think this book was self-published, and it shows. Chicoine really needed an editor. Even some sentences didn't make sense. That said, I did care about the main characters and a few others, but the villain was ridiculous. It was obvious who the "baddie" was, the only question was how awful she was going to be. Also, there is no sense as to why a mother would believe her son blind - Chicoine keeps telling you, but until the explanation at the end it is really annoying.

She had a motive, but it's hard to believe she was both crazy enough to do what she did and capable of living successfully in society prior to the events of the book. There is a huge warning sign at the beginning that the planned wedding will not go well.

Many supporting characters are just a bit too quirky for me, although I really liked the one with Asperger's. But.....there are too many coincidences. Too many people too easily manipulated. Too many sentences I had to reread to figure out what Chicoine meant.

Just not a good book.

Displaying 1 - 7 of 7 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.