Friday, October 8, 2021

The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady by Sharon J. Mondragon REVIEWED

 About the Book:

A knitting group’s change of scenery changes lives in unexpected ways 

Margaret, Rose, Jane, and Fran had a good thing going: meet every week in the quiet of their peaceful chapel and knit prayer shawls. No muss, just ministry. That is, until their pastor boots them out of the church in his last-ditch effort to revive the dwindling congregation. 

Uptight Margaret isn’t having it. Knitting prayer shawls where people can watch is the most ridiculous idea she’s ever heard of, and she’s heard plenty. Prayer belongs in the church, not out among the heathen masses. How are they supposed to knit holiness into these shawls if they’re constantly distracted by the public? But with no choice, the others embrace the challenge. They pack their knitting bags and drag Margaret—grumbling the whole way—to the mall with them. She can’t wait to prove them all wrong when it fails miserably, and show the pastor that she always knows best. 

Without the familiar mold the group has been stuck in, their own losses, pain, and struggles rise to the surface. And the people and situations they encounter every time they try to sit quietly and knit are taking them a lot further out of their comfort zone than they ever imagined. Can they find the courage to tackle the increasing number of knotty issues they learn about in the community--or will the tangle be too much to unravel? 

Sharon J. Mondragon’s debut is warm and delightful, full of real laughter, grief, and personality. It beautifully illustrates the power of women across generations to reach people for Christ. 

To read an excerpt of The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady click here.


My Thoughts:

"You're right, God is orderly.  But people are messy.  They have problems and wounds and fears and besetting sins.  Isn't that what prayer shawls are all about, though?  Trying to give people the comfort and strength they need to face and get through those things?"  (p. 64)

These words, spoken by Father Pete to Margaret as he tries to tell her that the prayer chapel will, indeed, be unavailable to the prayer shawl knitting group while being painted, did nothing to calm her anxiety.  Sharon Mondragon's book, The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady, spins quite the tale as she follows the four ladies that meet in the prayer chapel to knit prayer shawls as they go out into the community to knit while the chapel is undergoing renovations.  You would never BELIEVE that a group of knitting ladies could be so blessedly used of God, but let me tell you this story will convict a heart to open up to the most unexpected circumstance!

From the moment the women enter the bookstore café in the mall, it seems to attract the attention of everyone.  When they get kicked out by the manager and settle on the couches outside Macy's, they not attract attention, but they begin to gather people and prayer requests in droves.  Life does get messy, and the ladies of the Heavenly Hugs Prayer Shawl Ministry go to the gates of heaven with the most unlikely and unusual prayer requests you can imagine!  They learn, albeit reluctantly, that their own lives are not devoid of messes, and that when they join hearts and hands in prayer, God not only hears but answers in very amazing ways!

I could not put this book down!! It seemed as though every chapter the hearts of the characters broke open a little more toward all that God was doing in the lives of the people they interacted with in the mall, and in their own hearts as well!  Talk about transformation!  God is in the business of reaching people where they are, even if He has to kick you out of your comfort zone to do it!  You will come to love all of the characters in the book, and it will be a bittersweet but satisfying ending when you reach the last page. Please, bless yourself by reading this book, and then, find a way to reach others right where you are!  BRAVO!!!  This is a fantastic book!!

About the Author:

Sharon J. Mondragón writes about the place where kindness and courage meet. Her debut novel, The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady (originally titled The Heavenly Hugs Prayer Shawl Ministry) was the 2017 winner of the American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis award in the Short Novel Category, and she has also been recognized by The Saturday Evening Post where her short story, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” was an Honorable Mention Awardee in the 2014 their Great American Fiction Contest.
Mondragón has been active in prayer shawl ministry since 2008 and currently serves as facilitator for the prayer shawl ministry at her church, St. Paul Episcopal in Waxahachie, TX. She also knits with the Circle of Healing at Red Oak United Methodist Church. She is a Level 2 Certified Knitting Instructor through the Craft Yarn Council and teaches beginning knitting at a local yarn store.
Mondragón is the mother of five grown children and has four grandchildren. After 26 years as an Army wife, she has settled in Midlothian, TX with her hero/husband, her laptop, and her yarn stash.
Visit Sharon Mondragón’s website and blog at and follow her on Facebook (Sherry Mondragón) and Twitter (@SJ_Mondragón).