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A Measured Thread

4.57  ·  Rating details ·  28 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Fifty years is a long time to keep a secret

Looking back on her life, Maggie O’Connor is rightfully pleased. Fifty years ago she left Ireland with a single suitcase and a dream. After a long and satisfying career, she is enjoying retirement on her farm in rural Wisconsin — until she falls.

Determined to regain her independence, she hires Isobel, a young woman who is also an
Published April 14th 2020 by Books Go Social
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Octogenarian Maggie O'Connor has had a full life but has kept a secret. When Isobel becomes her helper/assistant, Maggie faces her past by reading through a cache of old letters and reliving her past.

A pleasant story, nice images of life in Ireland.

Jun 07, 2020 added it
Mary is a friend of my Parents’s who also spent some years living in Mazomanie. It was a personal gift, so I am not going to rate it. It’s the story, semi-autobiographical I assume, of an Irish woman, Maggie, who comes to the US to get her postdoc in zoology. As a woman of 80, her life story comes out through reading old letters written to her parents in the first years of her time in the US. Through the letters a secret is revealed and then Maggie takes over the telling. The bond between family ...more
Bonnye Reed
I received a free electronic ARC of this excellent historical novel on December 1, 2020, from Netgalley, author Mary Behan, and publishers Lawrence Gate Press and BooksGoSocial. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this novel of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. This is a warm, soft-hearted tale that I found totally compelling. It is one I highly recommend to friends and family and will plan to read, again, down the line. If you ar ...more
Dec 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book felt like a warm hug. Heartwarming and soothing.
Behan does an excellent job with the imagery - I can see Maggie so clearly, in her rustic cabin on the Wisconsin prairie. Feisty and capable, taking care of her land, and creating community.
Maggie is a character I loved to read about (prequel please!) - smart, capable, educated, and self-assured. Relationships are important, but she is first and foremost her own woman.

Through this delightful story, we see Maggie protecting her land wit
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A Measured Thread is a satisfying, thoughtful and thought-provoking story; I highly recommend it. The book itself is a lovely thing to own, its cover a superb landscape by Wisconsin painter Gina Hecht and with typeface and layout that are pleasing and refreshingly comfortable to read.
In quiet retirement in the beautiful (and accurately detailed) driftless landscape of rural south-central Wisconsin, Maggie reluctantly reflects on her life with the help of a young friend. Both women are immigrant
Gregory Renz
May 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A MEASURED THREAD by Mary Behan was written in such an authentic voice and laced with such emotion, I felt I was reading a gripping memoir. But it’s not a memoir, it’s a wonderful novel that tells the story of a woman’s search for peace and forgiveness as she reaches the end of her years. The protagonist, eighty-year-old Maggie, is beautifully flawed. She’s set in her ways; knows what she wants and what she doesn’t want and makes sure everyone knows it. Her comfortable world is rocked when she f ...more
Jon Lyon
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This tale of Maggie O’Connor is an exquisite and delightful portrayal of the life of an elderly Irish woman who immigrated to America in her early twenties to pursue what has always been her ‘dream,’ to maximize her intellectual curiosity and potential while sharing it with others. Sure...rightful compensation and recognition are a part of her choices and decisions but ultimately it’s a variety of unexpected twists and turns that shape her inner being and only come full circle as her life enters ...more
Marge Blanc
Jul 15, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It's not just that I love the setting, or that I love the author (I do; 'Abbey Girls' is marvelous); it's because I lived the story from beginning to end. Historically, I only read memoirs because they feel like the only emotionally-honest books, but I was completely enthralled with Mary Behan's Maggie, who felt as authentic to me as the author of an emotionally-raw memoire. Maggie's portrayal of her life was a personal gift to me. I feel changed: more honest, more brave, more secure in my own e ...more
Wise. Touching. Wonderful.

Reading this book made me experience many emotions. I empathized greatly with Maggie and her plight.

The novel made me acknowledge once again just what rich lives many people live. All people have secrets, hopes, and doubts. Maggie was a strong woman who valiantly tried to accept all that she was, and all that she had done.

With rich characterization, “A Measured Thread” the story of one woman nearing the end of her life. The story explored the guilt that is inherent with
Christopher Olsen
Aug 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
After a primary career as a very successful scientist and academic, Mary Behan has now become a genuinely talented author. I have read both of her books, and I love the engaging style in which she writes. I have just finished her new novel, A Measured Thread. Honestly, I couldn’t put it down over the past two days. It is wonderful. Isobel and Vic are lovely warm characters, Maggie is complicated and yet straightforward, and that Bill Bruenig…a man you love to hate! I know I will wake up tomorrow ...more
Rex Owens
May 21, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is novelist Mary Behan’s first work of fiction. Previously she co-authored a memoir with her sister about growing up in Ireland. In A Measured Thread octogenarian Maggie O’Connor faces a number of challenges, most important, the guilt and remorse she feels from abandoning her newborn child when she was in her twenties.

The book is well crafted, has a good pace and plot. There is a surprise ending that is very satisfying and completes Maggie’s tale with hope.

A Measured Thread would be a good
Jul 16, 2020 rated it really liked it
Lovely first novel by Mary Behan. Mary is as skilled at suspense and pacing as she is crafting her plot. As the main character, Maggie, struggles to maintain her independence, she encounters physical and mental barriers of an almost Gothic nature. The land and cabin itself transcend mere setting and become additional characters of depth and beauty. It's an immigrant's quest to redefine "home," an octogenarian's struggle to maintain independence in a world that doesn't value her contributions, an ...more
Julie Horner
Jul 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A Measured Thread by Mary Behan is a thoroughly enjoyable first work of fiction by this new author. There is humor in it and sustained interest. The characters are delightfully human so it’s easy to recognize a friend, acquaintance or even a neighbor in some of the people portrayed. The surprise ending brought tears to my eyes. This author has great promise and I hope she has more stories to tell.
Valerie Biel
Apr 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written story as the main character looks back on her life and the decisions she has made. Current-day events keep the plot humming along. That pace combined with the emotional depth of the characters make this a page turner. I didn't expect--but appreciated very much--the twists in this well-woven story. Lovely--just lovely! ...more
Jan 02, 2021 rated it liked it
Good writer. No surprises in the story. The Wisconsin tie made it worth reading for me.
Wisconsin Alumni
Mary Behan, professor emerita

From the author:
Nearing the end of her life, a woman confronts her past when she rediscovers the letters she wrote home to Ireland 50 years ago.
Mary Behan
Jul 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A really engaging read.
5 stars
Jan 29, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Very good!
Gina Hecht
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I hope there is a sequel!
George Siede
Jun 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a lovely story - some mystery, some suspense, interesting interpersonal relationships with painterly descriptions. Very enjoyable read.
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Jan 24, 2021
Mary Behan
Dec 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
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William Behan
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Mary Behan is a retired professor of neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. she devotes her time to writing fiction, short story and memoir. Her first book, Abbey Girls is a book she wrote with her sister, Valerie Behan, about their childhood in Ireland. She lives with her husband in the Driftless Area of southwest Wisconsin in a historic log cabin overlooking a tallgrass prairie.

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