Through the Needle's Eye by Linda Bledsoe
"A moving novel about one child's need for love in a hardscrabble world. Young Jessie tells much of the story herself, and her voice is both gritty and poetic. Linda Bledsoe's novel is an exceptional debut by a very talented writer."
—Ron Rash, New York Times bestselling author of Serena and Above the Waterfall
"This novel is not for the faint of heart. Linda Bledsoe has given us an unflinching look at how poverty can ravage a family. Yet, I kept being reminded of James Still's River of Earth during the telling. A powerful read."
—Wayne Caldwell, author of Cataloochee
"Linda Bledsoe's Through the Needle's Eye goes deeper into the genre of Appalachian noir fiction than anything I've read to date. One could even say that this book challenges Cormac McCarthy's dark corner of the genre. Told from the perspective of a young girl, this book reads more like a memoir than fiction and goes deeper into the human experience and psyche. If this novel by such a talented and honest writer doesn't send chills up your spine, yet touch your heart, then nothing will. If there were an Oscar for historical literary fiction, Bledsoe and her characters would all be going home as winners."
—Thomas Crowe, author of Zoro's Field: My Life in the Appalachian Woods
Through the Needle's Eye is told through the authentic voice of Jessie, a precocious girl raised in the Blue Ridge foothills of Southern Appalachia after WWll. Saddled with an alcoholic narcissistic father and passive mother, Jessie is charged with mothering her siblings as generational curses and poverty never cease to overwhelm them.
Granny Isabelle—a toothless, wizened humpback spitfire spouts scriptural admonitions like spears—sets her eagle eye on this orphan waif, that neither parents nor teachers think worthwhile.
Sporting a ridiculous paper bag hat, Granny Isabelle earnestly chucks clods of dirt with a garden hoe to plant onions to hawk at nearby markets for dimes; proving to Jessie a few dimes can make a difference in life if one keeps plugging onward. Through keen intuition and a special bond she provides a haven for Jessie's survival to help motivate the child beyond her circumstances.
Often at the end of the long hard work days, with Jessie in tow, they'd stand together, hand in hand, at the end of corn rows, searching the meadows and skies, both yearning to find that missing puzzle piece of life. Hopeful that one day this undesirable child might choose to travel amongst the heavenly host—past some glittering starts—to proceed right through the needle's eye.
A native of Virginia, Linda Bledsoe worked for thirty-three years as a Family Nurse Practitioner. She has co-published articles in various medical articles. Bledsoe holds degrees from Rockingham Community College (AAS), New York State University (BS) and Johns Hopkins (MAS in Counseling Psychology). She earned her Family Nurse Practitioner certificate at UNC-CH. Bledsoe currently resides on a farm in Stuart, Virginia and in Eden, NC. For years she and her husband owned and ran Victoria's Hearth B&B in Eden. She is working to complete her second novel, Rhea and Jeremiah Zeus, and has several children's chapter books ready for publishing stage.