A Tangle of Knots

A Tangle of Knotsby Lisa Graff

an intermediate, middle grade delight

Which cake is your perfect match? – let us know.

There’s something special about A Tangle of Knots.  It’s not just the bit of magic that surrounds the people in the story or the questions they seek to answer.  It has to do with the connections that bind them – even though they don’t know each other yet.

The story begins 53 years before the main action of the book when Mason gets on a bus north.  He carries with him a small blue suitcase – a light blue, boxy, three-dimpled St. Anthony’s suitcase.  It contains a single piece of paper defining his future and his fortune.  While waiting for the bus Mason meets a tall man – a man with a talent for knot tying.  In fact, it is this man’s Talent.  You see, most everyone in this place has a special Talent.  Here’s some of what the man says about his:

Could have been blessed with a Talent for finance or medicine.  Even a log-splitting Talent might have done me some good.  But no, I find myself with knot tying.

Well, the only knot I’ve mastered is the one to tie my shoelaces,” Mason admitted.  He couldn’t help it; he liked the odd fellow.  “Every other knot just looks like a tangled mess to me.”

The man in the gray suit thought about that.  “Well, that’s the thing about knots, isn’t it?” he replied after a moment.  “If you don’t know the trick, it’s a muddled predicament.  But in fact each loop of every knot is carefully placed, one end twisting right into the other in a way you might not have expected.  I find them rather beautiful, really.”

His description of a well-done knot is just exactly how Lisa Graff writes her story weaving the lives of Cady, Toby, Marigold, Will, V, Zane, Mrs. Archer and Miss Mallory together with each surprising and satisfying twist.  Will Cady find a way to make another perfect cake?  Will Will be found in time?  What is the secret ingredient that makes each family a uniquely satisfying combination?  Is it fate?  Is it destiny?  It is the unexpected twist in an unnamed knot?

A Tangle of Knots is a satisfying puzzle that will keep you wondering right through to the end.  You may discover your perfect cake along the way, but even if none of Cady’s recipes appeal to you, her story and the writing you’re about discover certainly will.  Like all of this author’s books, A Tangle of Knots is sure to please.

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