Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Dandelions on the Wind: The Quilted Heart Novella One

Dandelions on the Wind: The Quilted Heart Novella One

3.9 13
by Mona Hodgson
Tattered relationships and broken hearts, like a quilt, can be pieced together by God’s love.


Tattered relationships and broken hearts, like a quilt, can be pieced together by God’s love.
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. Despite the failing eyesight that caused her suitor to reject her, she can see that Wooly desperately needs to reconnect with the family he abandoned when his grief sent him running toward the army—and into the Civil War. She also senses there could be something more between the widower and herself, if either can move beyond their past hurts.    
Comforted and counseled by the wisdom of the women in her beloved quilting circle, Maren begins to discover the cost such decisions demand of her heart. Are her choices in obedience to God, or is she running from His plan? Is it too late for love to be stitched into the fabric of her life?

Product Details

The Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
Quilted Heart
Sold by:
Random House
Sales rank:
File size:
3 MB

Read an Excerpt


Saint Charles, Missouri, 1865

Never mind that four months had passed since General Lee’s surrender. Maren never walked the apple orchard or the wheat field without careful watch for bushwhackers and jayhawkers. Four-yearold Gabi held tight to Maren’s hand while they followed Gabi’s grandmother to the field. When Mrs. Brantenberg’s walking stick sprung a branch in her path, the child’s gaze darted up the lane toward the orchard then back to the farmhouse and across the hillock to the five acres of wheat.

“Are they coming again, Miss Maren?” Dread strained Gabi’s voice.

Maren drew in a deep breath in the hopes it would remove any tension from her own voice.
“The war is over, little one.” We should be safe. “God is with us. Like Oma said, ‘Fear is not of the Lord. We cannot live in fear. We must trust God.’”

Gabi gave a quick nod, then began swinging Maren’s hand at her side.

Fear is not of the Lord. We cannot live in fear. We must trust God.

Maren willed her shoulders to relax into the child’s playful arm swinging. Still, she’d heard too many stories about raiders from the women in the quilting circle to let down her guard. To believe the fighting would ever end. The memories of the Union jayhawkers traipsing through the orchard picking apples and taking the steer from the pastures remained fresh in her mind too. She glanced toward the cabin at the far corner of the property, past the orchard. Now empty. She’d only heard about the Confederate bushwhackers who had raided the farm last year, but little Gabi remembered.

Maren fanned the side of her bonnet against her ear to cool the onslaught of hot August air. Thankfully, she saw no sign of trespassers today. And if any outlaws did show their faces, Mrs. Brantenberg had her stick ready with a stack of sorrows backing it up.

Mrs. Brantenberg stopped at the edge of the field. This close, Maren could see that two women didn’t do as even a job of planting as she and her father had in the old country.

Gabi stepped up to the three-foot-high lawn, giggling. “They have whiskers like the cats do.” Her hands brushed the tips of the wheat stalks.

Bent, the widow plucked one head and rolled the grains between her fingers.

Maren did the same on the thinner area, where the stalks didn’t reach as high. The grain was soft and green inside. She didn’t need to taste it to know it’d be bitter. “Still a ways to go here.”

When a covey of bobwhites exploded from within the crop, Gabi cried out and fell to the ground.

Maren bent over the child. “Just thieving fly-by-nights. They learned their lesson, didn’t they?”

Gabi nodded. “They scared me.”

“Didn’t do my heart any good either.” Mrs. Brantenberg patted her chest. Then, smiling, she pressed the tip of her stick to the ground. “The wheat on the north end turned golden first. It’s more likely to be ready in just a few more days.”

Gabi’s little hand slid into Maren’s. Together, they tromped around the stand of shimmering stems, the whiskers tickling Maren’s arms.

This wasn’t the home Maren expected while traveling on the boat from Denmark four years ago. But back then, she’d still had more of her sight. Eight months ago, when the family that had taken her in gave up and moved away, Mrs. Brantenberg brought her out to the farm and provided her work in exchange for room and board. The widow, her granddaughter, and the quilting circle were her family here in America, but she missed her mum, her sister, and her little brother, left behind in the old country.

The promise to bring her family to America had disappeared, right along with Orvie
Christensen. Lying in bed at night, all she thought about was going home to Denmark. But the only jobs she’d been able to find during the war barely covered her living expenses, with nothing left over to save for the cost of travel. Yet how could she stay not knowing how long she’d have vision enough to work on the farm? She needed to make the long passage home while she could see well enough not to be a burden.

About twenty yards from the north end, Mrs. Brantenberg stopped and they repeated the testing process. This time, when the grain separated between Maren’s fingers, she bit into a kernel and nodded to the widow.

Gabi stretched onto her tiptoes. “Is it sweet?"

Mrs. Brantenberg pulled another head from the stock and handed it to Gabi. “What do you think, Liebling?”

The little one rolled a kernel out of its sheath and bit into it like she’d seen Maren do. “Not sweet like Mr. Heinrich’s rock candy. Tastes like dirt.”

Mrs. Brantenberg tittered. “Well, most of us agree then—this section is nearly ready.” She waved along the northern edge. “Monday, the three of us will begin harvesting.”

Gabi’s stomach growled and she giggled. “The bear in my belly is hungry now.”

They all laughed. Even in the midst of work and careful watch, the child had a knack for easingtheir tension.

“It has been too long since breakfast. Gabi and I will fix us all an early supper while you tend the animals.”

“Yes ma’am.”

As the trio walked back toward the farmhouse and barn, the sinking sun began casting shadows on the path. Maren’s deteriorating sight robbed her of colors in low light, leaving everything tinted in gray. Now she knew the trouble her father had suffered in his blindness. Her own stomach growling, she picked up her pace, hoping to reach the familiar inner yard before there was too little light to define the path. They’d worked in the vegetable garden right through the noonday mealtime, and she had chores yet to do before she could settle into the house for supper.

At the arbor, Mrs. Brantenberg and Gabi headed toward the house while Maren continued to the chicken yard. She needed to find a job in town where she could earn enough money to start saving for her return to Denmark. But they had the wheat fields to harvest this month, and then the twenty acres of apples would be ripe a few weeks after that. How could she even think of leaving the widow and dear Gabi alone out here?

“Shoo. Shoo.” She spoke the words as much to her own thoughts as she did to the chickens pecking at her bootlaces. She reached into the scrap bucket hanging on a nail and tossed handfuls of potato peelings and grain in a wide arc. The cackling chickens scattered to be first to the bounty.

Inside the stifling hot coop, Maren dodged the roost and reached into the first of the five nests along the back wall. After all the eggs were gathered, she felt for the pole and ducked under it, taking the most direct route out of the smelly henhouse. Protecting her face with her hand, she stepped into the chicken yard, through the gate, and into the ruts leading to the barn. The parching wind stung her eyes and whipped her apron.

She folded one of the double-hinged barn doors and clamped it open, then stepped inside, squinting against the near darkness. The strong, sweet smell of the hay filled her nostrils. The cow scent was strong too, but not so sweet. Both reminded her of the farm her family had lost in Copenhagen. And the farm Orvie had promised her in his letters.

After Maren hung the basket of eggs by the door, she climbed the wooden steps to the hayloft. Cows bawled and horses whinnied below. Hay needed to be tugged from a stack and tossed over the edge into the swinging mangers at the stalls, then repeated on the other side. When she’d flung hay into Duden’s and Boone’s stalls, she dropped a couple forkfuls onto the center of the barn floor. At the top of the ladder, Maren brushed her hands together to dislodge any remaining hay stems from her woolen gloves before climbing down. Her plan was to feed the hogs and mules, milk the two
cows, and then go inside for supper. She had planted her boots on the first two rungs of the ladder when a raspy baritone voice split the still air.

“Good day, ma’am.”

Maren jerked and her boot slipped, causing her chin to strike a step. Wincing, she released her grip and fell backward. Fear caught a scream in her throat. The fresh pile of hay on the floor broke her fall, but still she landed flat on her back. She fought to recover her breath and gather her wits. A staccato heartbeat pounded in her ears. She didn’t associate the deep voice with anyone who belonged on the farm.

Blinking, she willed her eyes to focus in her limited circle of vision. Brown curls swerved every which way on the head of a man she did not recognize. Scrambling to right herself, she edged toward the wall near the cow stall.

“Ma’am.” A Union accent. Not one of Mrs. Brantenberg’s German neighbors. “Are you well?”

“Yes.” She felt along the wall for a makeshift weapon. When she found the shovel, she lifted it off its nail and held it across herself.

“I mean you no harm.”

Holding the shovel steady, Maren widened her shoulders and raised her smarting chin.

“I apologize. I didn’t—”

“Didn’t what, sir?” This man may be harmless, but he was no less a nuisance. “You did not mean to burst into my barn and cause me to take a topple?”

“You’re not Mrs. Brantenberg.” It wasn’t a question.

Did he know Mrs. Brantenberg, or had someone in town told him to expect an older woman?

“I am Maren Jensen.” She couldn’t make out his facial features in the shadows, but she did seeone arm in a sling. That could be a ruse. “And you are?” Silence ticked off the seconds.

He removed his cap and moved closer. “People call me Woolly.”

While repositioning her heavy weapon, Maren blinked to focus her vision. Her employer had never mentioned anyone named Woolly. If he wasn’t a troublemaker, he had to be a drifter looking for work. And with her own work to finish, she had no time to waste. “You’ll find Mrs. Brantenberg at the house.”

“Thank you.” His voice held a pleasant tone, although it sounded a bit gravelly, like he’d been out in the wind for a long spell. She should be nicer to the gentleman, but she couldn’t afford to be. Chores were obligatory. Niceties with strange men were not.

He turned to leave the barn and quickly faded into the darkness. Maren lowered the shovel and listened as the door closed behind him. If she ever did have a home of her own, it wouldn’t sit beside a well-traveled road. Especially not during or immediately following a war.


Woolly felt like the prodigal son in the New Testament. Except it was his daughter, not his father, he was coming home to. He followed the path from the barn to the front of the brick Georgian-style plantation house. Its fluted porch columns needed whitewashing. The shutters framing the doublehung sash windows needed attention too. When the wind caught his kepi, he pulled the cap tight onto his forehead. The smell of fresh bread wafted on the breeze, taunting his hunger. He couldn’t say how long it’d been since he’d dined on anything but hardtack or bully soup.

Now that he was home, he had a lot to catch up on. But this wasn’t a Bible story, and he wasn’t a beloved son.

He stopped at the bottom of the steps. If nothing else, perhaps his mother-in-law would let him stay long enough to meet the little girl he and Gretchen had created on this very farm, and to make a few repairs around the place. He owed her that much. And more than he could ever repay. He couldn’t change the past four years. Not for Mother Brantenberg. Not for his daughter. Not for himself.


The strained little voice drew his gaze to the window for a glimpse of sunny round cheeks framed in heaps of brown curls. Like his own. Tears stung his sleep-deprived eyes.

“A man, Oma.”

Bleiben sie ich zurück, Liebling. Behind me.” He recognized the voice, and the endearing term. Mother Brantenberg was protecting her little one. His little one.

He removed his cap, then spoke through the closed door. “Greetings, Mrs. Brantenberg.”

The door opened just wide enough for him to see the woman’s face. She gasped. “It is you.” Her color matched what was left of the whitewash on the door that stood between them, and her foot didn’t budge from its crossed position behind the door. Mother Brantenberg studied him, her gaze resting on the cloth that tethered his left arm to his neck. “You are hurt?”
“I got my arm caught in a rope whilst loading a barge and pulled my shoulder out of place.”

His mother-in-law opened the door, but she hadn’t spoken of his identity. He so desperately wanted the child hiding in the skirts to know her father had returned home. But at least for now, he was only a visitor. Inside, good smells and memories of happier times hit him, and his stomach rumbled while his heart wrenched.

He glanced from the woman to the child, who stepped out from behind her. He held out his right hand to her. “And who is this?”
The little one leaned against her grandmother, dipping her chin and peering up at him with wide eyes. “I am Gabi.”

Short for Gabrielle—the name he and Gretchen had discussed for a girl. Gabi’s face was a sweet miniature of her mother’s. “What a lovely name.” He hoped his smile hid the pain.

“Thank you.” Gabi curtsied like a princess, then pointed to the soiled cloth that cupped his elbow. “Does it hurt?”

“It isn’t so bad anymore. Thank you.” His daughter was already four years old, and so grown up. He turned to his mother-in-law. “The arm should be workable in another day or two. I can start on repairs soon. Harvest?”

His mother-in-law huffed. Wrinkles framed her face. She still wore her hair parted down the middle with a braid, now white, encircling her head. But her eyes had dulled.

“Mister.” Gabi’s sweet voice cut into his thought. “What’s your name?”

“Woolly.” Mrs. Brantenberg rested her hand on Gabi’s head. “His name is Woolly.”

That’s what Gretchen had called him the first time they’d met on her father’s farm.

Gabi swayed side-to-side like she had music in her. “Woolly like a lamb?”
“Yes.” He pointed at his head. “My hair is curly like lamb’s wool.”

“Mine too.” Gabi patted her hair.

Woolly nodded, afraid to speak, sure the truth would come out before Mother Brantenberg was ready to reclaim him as family.

Mother Brantenberg glanced toward the washstand at the top of the staircase. “It is time to washfor supper, Liebling.”

Gabi offered him a forlorn glance, and sighing, she marched up the stairs.

His mother-in-law studied him. “I did not expect your return.”

“I had to come see my daughter. I should never have left you.” He glimpsed the staircase and the little round cheeks pressed between the white oak spindles. The light in Gabi’s eyes pierced the darkness in his heart…until he returned his attention to his mother-in-law. Mrs. Brantenberg looked as if she’d just gulped camp coffee. A look that said he’d not be staying for supper.

Meet 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 novels, including Twice a Bride, the final book 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.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Dandelions on the Wind : The Quilted Heart Novella One 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Surprised only 116 pages.
VillaSyl More than 1 year ago
Tattered relationships and broken hearts, like a quilt, can be pieced together by God’s love. Dandelions on the Wind by Mona Hodgson is a sweet, romantic story of two hearts grieving from loss and what it means to find love and hope again. A well written and touching story 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 Ms. Hodgson did a great job of creating an enjoyable story in this short novella. I liked the characters and overall setting of the book set during the Civil War and looking forward to reading the other Novellas in the series. Overall this little novella was an inspiring book, with lessons on grace and forgiveness throughout the book. Short and sweet, a well-paced story, bringing us to a lovely conclusion, a great book to read away the afternoon on the patio. I received a free copy of this eBook from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing through their Blogging for Books program for my review.
lisaatfarmfresh More than 1 year ago
From the author of The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek series (which I LOVE!) comes a new series of novellas called The Quilted Heart. The first book in the series is Dandelions on the Wind--my latest selection I was fortunate to be able to review. I picked Dandelions on the Wind because I am familiar with Mona Hodgson's work from her previous series (The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek) which I love (I'm eager to read book #3 and #4!!!). I hoped that this book would have the same level of appeal. I was captured in the first few sentences: "Nevermind that four months had passed since General Lee's surrender. Maren never walked the apple orchard or the wheat field without careful watch for bushwackers and jayhawkers." This book is set in St. Charles, Missouri in 1865 shortly after the conclusion of the Civil War. The plot follows Maren Jensen a young woman from Denmark who came to America to wed--only to find herself rejected because of her failing vision. She has since found a home with a widow and her grand-daughter as the little girl's nanny. The widow's daughter had died in childbirth and her son-in-law ran away to war overwhelmed by his grief. The story begins four years later. One day, without warning, the son-in-law named Rutherford Wainwright aka. Woolly returns home from the war (after not having communicated at all since he left) in hopes of a second-chance with his daughter and to help on the family farm. What follows is a sweet story of forgiveness, grace and second-chances at love. It's an easy read with beautiful vivid vocabulary. I think it enhances the plot since the lead character is facing a life of utter blindness. So the vivid descriptions reminded me of what a seeing person would use to describe the world around them to someone blind. Like in the book series Little House on the Prairie when Mary goes blind and Laura describes everything to her. Because it is a novella, Dandelions on the Wind is just about 100 pages long, so there isn't time to have a deep plot or a lot of characters--however, the author allowed enough character development in the handful we meet, for the reader to understand them. It really is just a very sweet story--perfect for someone wanting a good wholesome short story to enjoy. I wish it had been longer, but now I will just have to seek out the next two books in the series Bending Toward the Sun and Ripples Along the Shore in hope of seeing the characters again. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Water Brook Press as part of their book review bloggers program through Blogging for Books. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not required to write a positive review.
leahhhh12 More than 1 year ago
Dandelions on the Wind is the first novella in Mona Hodgson’s series: Quilted Hearts. Normally I am not a big fan of novellas. I enjoy novels more because I feel like there can be so much more character development and depth to a story. That being said, while this book was not one of my all-time favorites, I was still able to enjoy the sweet story that was told. The Civil War has just ended and Maren Jensen is working at Mrs. Brantenberg’s farm, helping with the farm chores and taking care of her granddaughter, Gabi. When Gabi’s father returns, after not having heard from him in several years, Maren realizes that now is the time to go back to Denmark. Having come to America as a mail-order bride, her groom decided he didn’t want her and while she has grown to love Mrs. Brantenberg and Gabi, she doesn’t want to impose forever. However, Woolly, Gabi’s father, has come to enjoy the presence of Maren and he doesn’t want to see her return to Denmark. Ms. Hodgson did a great job of creating an enjoyable story in this short novella. I liked the characters and overall setting of the book as well. I really like any story set during the civil war time period, whether pre-civil war, during the civil war, or post-civil war. I look forward to reading the other books in the Quilted Hearts series as well. I received a free copy of this ebook from the publisher Waterbrook Multnomah through the program Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions stated are my own.
Book_Crazy02 More than 1 year ago
The Book was OK. This story is told from an alternating perspective between Maren and Woolly. The setting is mostly on Mrs. Brantenberg’s   farm with some scenes in a nearby town. The plot was focused on Maren and Woolly’s love story, and how Woolly’s family  starts to rebuild an relationship with him. I really enjoyed the time period that the book was set in and felt that the author did  a good job bringing the it into the book, and not letting it overcome the plot. I mostly enjoyed this book. I didn't feel very connected with any of the characters, so I didn't get very emotional with this book as I do with others. I think that the plot was good, and the story line was nice, but this book is not one of my favorites. It was a little too short and the ending was rushed. I liked the characters and felt that they had potential, but they needed to be more believable so that the readers could connect with them. I also think that many ideas were introduced in the story, but never fully carried out. At the end I felt like the author left many things with a cliff hanger. I was actually surprised when the book was finished because I was expecting more. After finishing the book, not all of my questions were answered and I didn't feel satisfied with the ending. Besides these little tweaks that caught my attention, the book was enjoyable and a good way to spend time. I probably wouldn’t buy it in a store for my library at home, but I wouldn't mind reading it again or checking the book out at a local library.  
sjziegler More than 1 year ago
booksbysteph says "Short and Sweet" Short and sweet. The book and the story. Who says you cannot pack a lot of information into limited pages?! I cannot even begin to imagine what those families went through during the Civil War. Soldiers ransacking their houses. Dead, injured or missing husbands, sons and brothers. "Fear is not of the Lord. We cannot live in fear. We must trust God." And in God is love. It can hit you when you least expect it and flip your world upside down. I hope the rest of the books in this series are as sweet as this book. Until next time, live life one page at a time!
MarB1 More than 1 year ago
After reading Two Brides Too Many back in 2010, I knew I wanted to read another book by Mona Hodgson. The publisher kindly provided me with a copy of this ebook for review purpose, so I sat down and hoped to be entertained as much as I was by the story about the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek, but…I was disappointed. Although the characters in this novella are lovely, they lacked depth and I felt that the line of thought of the characters was repeating—which made it a bit annoying and predictable to read.  It is a quick read and nice enough, but for me not appealing enough to make me want to read the other books in this series.  Thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy through NetGalley.
GingerS219 More than 1 year ago
Well-written. Good story. Believable characters. Dandelions on the Wind by Mona Hodgson had all these things, and I yearned for more. I don't mean it didn't have a satisfying ending. It did. I enjoyed Ms. Hodgson's writing and Maren and Wooly's story grabbed me from page one and I wanted to read more. ***I received this book from the author/publisher for the purpose of review. The above opinion is my own.***
MyBookAddictionandMore More than 1 year ago
DANDELIONS ON THE WIND by Mona Hodgson is an exciting inspirational historical romance. #1 in "The Quilted Heart",the first in a three serial novella set in 1865 post Civil War,Missouri. A quick read filled with emotion,faith and hope. A post Civil war novella during a time of hopelessness and loss where love can blossom still on a small farm in St.Charles,Missouri. Maren is going blind,and wish's to go back to her native Denmark. Wooly has finally come home from the war looking for forgiveness and healing what he finds is love,faith,and hope. A great read,very emotional and compelling. With realistic characters and an interesting plot. Ms. Hodgson writes from the heart and it shows in her wonderful,powerful stories. Received for an honest review from Waterbrook Press. RATING: 4 HEAT RATING: SWEET REVIEWED BY: AprilR,My Book Addiction Reviews
Lindz2012 More than 1 year ago
Maren is helping a widow raise her granddaughter after a war. But soon something unexpected happens. Wooly come back and wants to raise his daughter. His grandmother has a hard time welcoming her son in law back from the war. Did the war break a family or did the loss to almost everything also destroy the family. Wooly come back he want to see his daughter and help around the farm. He has his regrets as well as Maren. Can both get over past hurts or will their be no second chance at love.
NesieDF More than 1 year ago
A beautiful story and a gentle reminder that God's Grace is a gift from Him and one that we can extend to others. I am a huge fan of Mona and the Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek and I was delighted by this book as well. Looking forward to more.........................................
outofthebagscom More than 1 year ago
Wonderful story of hope, loves lost and wonderful new beginnings This story is post Civil War and is a story of a women who is strong and very likable. I enjoy Mona Hodgsons books. Her previous series The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek, are wonderful books. This novella is no different. It is a story that is sweet and she has a way of telling a story that sucks you in and will not let you out till the end of the book. I think that anyone who like historical fiction with a christian influence with just a splash of romance will love this book. It is well written and you want to know more about the characters and she gives you just enough to know them but still leaves some to your imagination. Don't write this book off if you are not sure about the christian influence. It is not overly preachy and I love that it is more of being morally right than preachy. She is able to intertwine it so well that you come out of the book feeling refreshed. I am looking forward to the next two novellas.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The only thing i didnt like about it was thatt ended so suddenly. I wish the book would have lasted long enough for us to meet her family. Other than that loved the book!