My favorite thing about “The Quilted Heart” was seeing how the hearts of the women in the quilting circle became knit together as they shared their lives in so many different ways. Although each novella featured a different young woman, they were all tied together almost seamlessly. The stories were a picture of life following the Civil War for the women who lost husbands and sons, the women whose husbands came home changed men, and the women who still had no closure and did not know whether their husband would ever return.
I enjoyed reading about each of these women and how they overcame various challenges and found romance. I also liked most of the men in the novellas with the exception of one who did not accept his circumstances and made sure everyone else paid dearly for his unhappiness. Wooly, Quaid, and Garrett were all honorable men who worked hard to protect and cherish the women in their lives which made them the perfect heroes for this series. The narrative was easily followed and held my interest until the end. I was a tad disappointed that there was not closure to “Ripples Along the Shore” but expect that will take place in the follow-up novel “Prairie Song”. Looks like I will need to pick up a copy to learn how everything ends.
In “Bending Toward the Sun”, Mrs. Brantenberg sums up the author’s theme on page 151 – “God, the Divine Quilter, has the perfect patchwork pattern for our lives. Each will be different as sunshine and snowfall…It’s the batting that gives warmth to the quilt. Otherwise we may end up with a beautiful, but limp, blanket. We may choose wool or cotton for fillint our quilts. In our quilted heart, our faith in the good Lord is the filling.”
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group Blogging for Books Program.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Like a beautiful patchwork quilt, the three novellas in The Quilted Heart tell stories of lives stitched together with love and God’s unending grace.
Once a week, Elsa Brantenberg hosts the Saint Charles Quilting Circle at her farmhouse on the outskirts of the riverside town of St. Charles, Missouri. The ladies who gather there have all experienced heartache related to the intense hardships of the Civil War, and together, they are facing their painful circumstances with friendship and prayer. Can the tattered pieces of their hearts be stitched together by God’s grace?
Dandelions on the Wind
When Maren Jensen took a job on Elsa Brantenberg’s St. Charles, Missouri farm, she never expected to call the place her home. As she grows to love Mrs. Brantenberg and her granddaughter, Gabi, Maren is transformed from a lonely mail-order bride-without-a-groom to a beloved member of the Brantenberg household. But when Gabi’s father, Rutherford “Wooly” Wainwright, returns to the farm unexpectedly, everything changes for Maren, and she feels compelled to find another job. Are her choices in obedience to God, or is she running from His plan?
Bending Toward the Sun
Dedicated to her education and to helping her father in his general store, Emilie Heinrich is convinced she doesn’t have time for love. But when a childhood friend returns to St. Charles, Missouri, after serving in the Civil War, his smile and charm captures Emilie’s eye and her heart. Will she be forced to choose between honoring her father and a future with a husband and family of her own?
Ripples Along the Shore
Change is brewing in St. Charles. A group of brave souls are preparing to head west on the Boone’s Lick Wagon Train, led by the mysterious and handsome Garrett Cowlishaw, who served as a Confederate soldier in the war that killed Caroline’s husband. Despite her dislike for him, Caroline is tempted to join the wagon train and start fresh somewhere new, but when Mr. Cowlishaw forbids her—a single woman—to travel with them, will one man’s prejudice destroy Caroline’s hope for a new future? Or will the ripples of God’s love bring the answer she needs?
Praise for The Quilted Heart Series
“Like a warm breeze ripples across a lake, Dandelions on the Wind offers a gentle crossing in this first-in-a-series novel. Mona Hodgson gives readers characters we care about, a bit of intrigue, love, and a satisfying ending that promises more in the second series book. Well done!”
—Jane Kirkpatrick, best-selling author of Where Lilacs Still Bloom
“Filled with true-to-life characters and fascinating historical details, Dandelions on the Wind is a heartwarming story of second chances in the turbulent days immediately after the Civil War. Don’t miss this, the first of Mona Hodgson’s The Quilted Heart trilogy. If you’re like me, you’ll be waiting eagerly for the second.”
—Amanda Cabot, author of Waiting for Spring
“Dandelions on the Wind is a sweet tale about the merging of two hurting hearts. The characters drew me, and I can’t wait to read more about their lives…and their love!”
—Tricia Goyer, best-selling author of thirty-three novels, including The Memory Jar
“In Dandelions on the Wind, Mona Hodgson weaves a tale of broken promises, wounded hearts…and the power of forgiveness—a heartwarming reminder that we walk by faith, not by sight. Maren is a heroine you’ll cheer for!”
—Carol Cox, author of Love in Disguise and Trouble in Store
“Mona Hodgson’s Bending Toward the Sun captures Saint Charles following the Civil War so well. Quaid returns home—a man changed by the war. Emilie is a delight—a young woman pursuing her education, who knows her own mind. And even though the war has changed so many things, this story reminds us that some things, like love, never change.”
—Dorris Keeven-Franke, archivist, Saint Charles County Historical Society
“Mona Hodgson has written a warm, tender tale of family loyalties and forbidden love. When Emilie’s father objects to her seeing the handsome McFarland boy, recently returned from war, the couple struggles to do the right thing. But they are about to discover that God has another plan. Filled with charming characters and godly themes, this
heartwarming story is pure delight.”
—Margaret Brownley, New York Times best-selling author of A Rocky Creek Romance Series and the Brides of Last Chance Ranch Series
“With believable characters, an historic setting, and a gripping love story, Mona Hodgson gives the reader an uplifting account of a time when our country was recovering from a dark period and looking forward to a brighter future.”
—Martha Rogers, author of the Winds Across the Prairie Series and the best-selling Christmas at Holly Hill
Click HERE to download chapter one of The Quilted Heart.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Over the last twenty-five years, Mona Hodgson’s publishing credits have grown to include nearly thirty children’s books, contributions to more than ten books for adults, and four historical novels, including her debut, Two Brides Too Many in The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series. Mona is a popular speaker for women’s groups, schools, and educators’ and writers’ conferences. She lives in Arizona with her husband and has two daughters and several grandchildren