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Posted April 17, 2014
Joyce Magnin in her new book, “Maybelle in Stitches” Book Sixteen in the Quilts of Love Series published by Abingdon Press brings us into the life of Maybelle Kazinski.
From the back cover: A patchwork quilt holds together two hearts separated by miles of ocean and the Second World War.
Maybelle can’t sew. But when she finds an unfinished quilt in her mother’s closet, she gets the crazy idea to complete it. At first, it’s just a way to fill the lonely nights while her husband, Holden Kazinski, is away fighting in World War II.
Yet when Maybelle discovers that the quilt is made from scraps of material that can be traced back through her family heritage, the project is suddenly much more important. Then word comes that Holden is missing in action, and with little else to do, Maybelle clings to the quilt as much as to the hope that her husband is still alive. As neighborhood friends gather around Maybelle to help her through the unknown days and nights ahead, it is the quilt that becomes a symbol of her unflagging belief that Holden will return—to her, to their home, and to their quilt-covered bed.
History, World War II, Quilting and Shipbuilding. Quite a mix and, on the outside, it seems difficult to write a story combining all these elements. Fear not, Ms. Magnin has captured them well and provided an excellent story. The men are off fighting but the jobs needed to be filled so the women stepped up to the challenge. Maybelle becomes a welder at a shipyard. She has never been a welder in her life however she is up to the challenge. She has never sewn before either but accepts that challenge as well. This is a story about spiritual growth, about stepping out of your comfort zones and of relying heavily upon God. All kinds of events happen and it takes a rock-hard foundation upon God to keep her grounded. Maybelle and the rest of the characters are outstanding and wonderful to be with and learn about. Ms. Magnin has done an outstanding job of bringing history to the table. There is a lot in this book, much to think about and it just interesting and exciting as well.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
Posted April 15, 2014
Joyce Magnin has established herself as a talented author with a unique voice in such novels as The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow and the delightful Harriet Beam books. Her addition to the Quilts of Love series is a departure from the type of story I expected from her, but it was a heartwarming read. For someone who had not read a historical fiction book centered around the WWII wives and women left to work in the industries supporting the war effort, this would be a good read. Personally, I thought the characters in Lynn Austin's A Woman's Place were better developed and the plot was "meatier." I didn't quite understand Magnin's inclusion of two women boarders at Maybelle's home, only to have them "disappear" suddenly. Perhaps, we were to understand how everyone's world kept constantly changing. I felt that Magnin's story showed how even grief was given a limited time, as everyone had to "move on" and deal with everyday life.
Maybelle shows that as she deals with her mother's unexpected death, and so does her friend Doris.
To readers who are enjoying the Quilts of Love series, you'll want to read this title, also. If you discover that you are fascinated by that time period and the lives the women and family left behind when the soldiers went off to war, I also recommend you seek out other WWII-centered books such as Lynn Austin's A Women's Place.
Posted April 14, 2014
Quilts of Love
Maybelle couldn't believe she was going to attempt to finish a quilt her mother had started. Her dear friend Doris said it was a memory crazy quilt since it had pieces of fabric from Maybelle's heritage. After great contemplation they decided to add more than her childhood scraps to the quilt she would add pieces of memory of her husband and others whom were enduring this Second World War. The fact that her husband was missing in action makes finishing the quilt more important than ever.
There is one big problem Maybelle can't sew and needed help. She had several women workers from the shipyard renting rooms in her home. She too worked at the shipyard as a welder building ships which was her contribution to the war. Some of the women staying in her home and a couple of other she worked with was interested in helping her with the quilt even adding some of their own memories to the quilt and at the same time they would teach Maybelle to sew.
I found the character Maybelle to be pessimistic in many ways. For instance her lack of faith in God to keep her husband safe or to get her through life's everyday trials and tribulations. She did not think she was capable of learning to cook or sew in other words most things women were expect to know by her age. She had no faith in herself or God. She came off at times as being self-centered. Especially when there others were worried about their husbands being missing or becoming casualties of war.
I loved the story line of the shipyard women workers, but the rest of the reading was slow. The reading seemed repetitive at times about the characters daily lives. But the story line kept me reading and waiting for something interesting to happen which it did occasionally through the story.
My own father was in the Navy during WWII. He died from Leukemia in 1955 when I was four years old. I have no memory of him. A memory quilt would have been nice.
I do recommend this book.
Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from Litfuse Publicity Group/Abingdon Press for review. I was in no way compensated for this review. This review is my honest opinion.
Posted April 13, 2014
This book is about Maybelle Kazinski, a welderette for Sun Shipbuilding and Dock in Chester, Pennsylvania. Maybelle was newly married when her husband was called off to war. Now he is missing in action and she is left to wonder if she will ever see him again. Her friend, Doris is determined to help keep hope alive so when Maybelle finds an unfinished quilt her mother had been making, Doris insists on gathering a few ladies to help finish it. It is a crazy quilt made from material that Maybelle identifies as scraps from her family history.
Maybelle is pretty disheartened by her own lack of skills when it comes to things like sewing, cooking and cleaning, all of the things most women know how to do, and she gave up repeatedly. Her best friend, Doris, was always there to encourage her and nudge her along and I loved that. Everyone needs that kind of friend in their life. Everyone really came together as a group to finish the quilt but it was much more than that. They were all women fighting for the same cause. They all had loved ones at war and each knew the other's sadness and pain. They were a sounding board for each other, a shoulder to lean on. I love that the book was about the war. I love war torn stories. Reading about the devastation and havoc of war can really speak to a person and touch their heart in a deeper way. I did find it a little slow, however. I kept waiting for the pace to pick up but it never did. The storyline was good and I liked the characters but it failed to really draw me into the story, to hook me. It was set in 1943 and the language and setting was true to that time period. One of the major sayings in the book was "what a gas" or "it's a gas". I thought that was great. Anyone that likes sewing or the background of the war efforts (it was mostly about building and repairing war ships) will like this book. If you like a fast paced novel it might not be for you.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone. I received no monetary compensation for this review.
Posted April 12, 2014
Maybelle in Stitches
World War II placed numerous women in the work force to aid in the country's war effort. The characters in Maybelle in Stitches are employees of a famous shipyard, the main character and her best friend working as welders. The women in this story are waiting for their husbands to arrive home from the war, passing the time together, visiting and sharing sad news as well as good. The main character's mother died, and when Maybelle was cleaning out her mother's things she discovered a quilt her mother had started, and numerous odd pieces of fabric. Those fabrics turned out to be pieces of cloth saved from clothing her family had worn, pieces of Maybelle's baby quilt, etc. A quilting group eventually formed to piece together memories of the past and the present, bringing these women together not only to create a warm bed covering, but a bit of hope to their lives.
It is obvious that a lot of research went into the writing of this book. The details regarding the shipyard and the type of work that women were doing throughout World War II was interesting. I enjoyed the camaraderie that developed between these women while putting together a crazy quilt of memories. I had a bit of trouble staying focused while reading the daily details of the characters, and the repetition. This book could have used more editing. There were a few discrepancies, etc. The last few chapters were quite enjoyable and I enjoyed the creation of the crazy quilt of memories.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from LitFuse in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed are my own, and no monetary compensation was received for this review.
Posted April 8, 2014
We all know about women being employed at factories during World War II as an effort to help do whatever they could to enable their men to come home from the war as soon as possible. For Maybelle Kazinski, she is doing her part as a welder in Sun Shipyard, getting ships ready to aid in the war effort. She had only been married for a couple of days to Holden before he was called to report for duty, but it was worth it to know that he would have her waiting for him when he returned, if he returned at all. It seems like the waiting was truly the hardest part and even though working for six days helped to pass the time, she would cringe whenever the doorbell rang expecting the worst.
She just wasn't prepared for that dreaded feeling in the pit of her stomach to take the life of her mother, Francine and leave her alone. She had lost her father earlier and besides Roger, one of her mother's boarders who also worked at Sun Shipyard who she had come to see as a brother of sort, she had no more family left. Her only consolation was her best friend Doris who also had a husband serving overseas. Between the two of them, they did what they could to encourage each other that the war would be over soon and their men would come home.
But life isn't always sunshine and roses! Fate intervenes when we least expect it and for Maybelle it would be when the doorbell rings and a yellow telegram is delivered. The only good thing about the news it contained was that Holden wasn't killed but simply missing in action. But for Maybelle it seemed to be her undoing. On the heels of her mother's death and Holden's MIA telegram she had to find something to keep time from crawling along. When she discovers a crazy quilt of scraps her mother was making as a surprise for her and Holden for Christmas, Doris decides to convince Maybelle that they should finish it. But Maybelle isn't exactly what you would called skilled at sewing or cooking for that matter. Her high school sewing project involved her sewing the zipper of her dress into the neck area instead. Something that is still laughed about between her and Doris. But at least it will help to pass the time between working and sewing.
I received Maybelle in Stitches by Joyce Magnin compliments of Abingdon Press and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed here are strictly my own. This is the 16th novel in the Quilts of Love Series and one that can be read as a stand alone as each talented author takes their turn at telling a story with the quilt at the centerpiece. Joyce appealed to not only the romance lover in my heart but to WWII lover as well. I loved the background story she researched about women working in the shipyards as welders for Sun Shipyard which she includes at the conclusion of this novel. It makes it so rich to read how difficult it was waiting for men to come home from the war not knowing if they would ever see them again. Hands down this one rates a 5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
Posted March 24, 2014
The premise of the story is a good one. Maybelle is a woman without many talents; however, her best friend, Doris, seems to be able to do most anything. There is a good bit about quilting, and a small group of women comprise a quilting bee. The quilt fills the long hours while the ladies wait for their husbands to return from the war.
I did not enjoy this one. The slow pace of the novel frustrated me. It is repetitious. For example, the phrase, "Loose lips sink ships" is mentioned five times! In addition, better editing would weed out grammatical errors like, "... Logan approach Maybelle" (173).
Discussion questions are included.
Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Abingdon Press for my copy.
Posted March 19, 2014
Maybelle was content with her life, if not happy. Her husband Holden was away at war in Europe, she was living with her Mom and
working as a "Welderette" at the Shipyard. World War II had effected every part of her life. She was a tomboy through and through
despite her mothers attempts to turn her into a housewife. When her mother unexpectedly dies, then her husband is listed as missing,
she is forced to step into the role as "Lady of the House". Her friends are other military wives and widows, all doing their best under
tough circumstances. Maybelle is nudged into making a quilt. Something she thought she would never do after a disastrous outcome
in High School when she attempted to make a "simple" dress!
This is a wonderful look inside the day to day lives of those left at home during WWII. From rationing, to service flags to visits from the
military bearing bad news.
If you enjoy looking through the keyhole into lives of past eras, you will love this book!
Posted March 18, 2014
Maybelle in Stitches Quilts of Love Series by Joyce Magnin
Maybelle and Holden were married before he headed off to the war. She is a welder and works on all kinds of ships for the war effort. She lives in a house with her mother and they have boarders that also work at the factory.
Holden has written to her a few times and she is comforted by the quilt her mother made them for their wedding.
Doris is there to comfort her as she loses her mother and then Maybelle gets word Holden is missing in action. The quilt her mother had started along with Doris' help has brought a calm to Maybelle's life as she pieces the past together in little pieces.
Hope and her trust in God will see them all through....she just needs to find what she is good at and do it. So many disappointments in the past of things she was not able to do. Doris helps her make the big Thanksgiving dinner for everybody.
Very interesting history of events. They also get news of Holden ... An excerpt from another Quilt of Love book is included.
I received this book from Net Galley via Abingdon Press in exchange for my honest review.
Posted October 30, 2013
No text was provided for this review.