Tuesday, 1 April 2014

The Quilted Heart : Three Novellas in One - Mona Hodgson

Elsa Brantenberg hosts a quilting circle in a riverside town on the outskirts of the town St. Charles, Missouri. The ladies that attend have experienced some form of heartache relating to the Civil War. Together they offer prayers and friendship as they each contemplate God's plan for them.

Dandelions on the Wind
Maren Johnson took a job on Mrs. Brantenberg's farm not expecting to call it home. Working on the farm and looking after both Elsa's granddaughter (Gabi) and the household, she is growing to love them both. As her love grows so her eyesight slowly fades. When Gabi's father returns, Rutherford 'Wooly' Wainwright, Maren sees it as an opportunity to get a paying job, save the money and return to Denmark to her family. But it seems that her plan isn't necessarily what God has in store for her. Should she accept His way or face an uncertain future?

Bending Towards the Sun
With unswerving loyalty to her father and her education, the last thing on Emilie's mind is love. But then a childhood friend returns from serving in the War. Unexpected feelings emerge and together with his charm and smile, the young woman's heart is captured. However, PaPa has other ideas and is not keen for his daughter to get involved with Quaid - even if he is hardworking and loyal to his family. How will Emilie choose between her beloved father and a future that includes a husband and a family?

Ripples Along the Shore
With all the talk of wagons going west and her husband dead Caroline has many options open to her. She could stay with her sister; but her husband with war injuries is bitter and bad tempered. If not for the sake of the children Caroline would have told him her exact thoughts. So when Garret Cowlishaw (a Confederate solider no less) turns up, the widow's reaction is hate. This Garret may not be the person solely responsible for her husbands death, but he fought on the side that killed him. Tempted to join the wagons there's little stopping her. But will God's love provide the answers she's looking for or will her fate be decided by a man, namely one Garret Cowlishaw.

This collection of three novella's is a gentle story that weaves together the lives of a small community that has been torn apart by war. Yet their faith and determination to carry on is heartwarming and inspiring. With Maren's conflicting emotions to stay or leave, Emilie's unwavering loyalty and dedication, and Caroline's concerns about perception. Each woman is facing their own trials but still very aware of others plight. Their bond is the quilting circle where the ever present, ever kind Mrs. Brantenberg with her deep faith manages to quell the fears of each woman.

This historical drama is so enjoyable it was difficult to put down. There's no high drama yet the author builds tension and apprehension to a happy satisfying conclusion. Each story has a strong lead character that appear true to life as well as being completely likable. It's a collection of heartwarming stories that remind us that despite the ravages of war, faith, loyalty and love always win out. A highly recommended read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book as part of the Blogging for Books program part of WaterBrookMultnomah publishing group. The opinions expressed are my own and I am not required to give a positive critique.

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