In 1875 a young man, Jack Brennan, from a large and impoverished Catholic family refuses to be pushed like his brothers into the priesthood and runs away from home to become a teacher.
Jack falls in love with Eliza Hewlett, but his dreams and plans are thwarted when his landlord's daughter, Mary Ellen, falsely accuses him of fathering the child she is expecting.
Rather than be forced into marrying his accuser, Jack and Eliza decide to run away to America. Just as the ship is ready to sail Jack is arrested and dragged from the ship, leaving Eliza alone en route to New York with just a few shillings in her pocket.
Will Jack be forced to marry Mary Ellen? Will he fulfil his dream of becoming a poet? How will Eliza cope alone and penniless in America? Will the lovers be reunited?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Mamta Madhavan for Readers' Favorite Letters From a Patchwork Quilt by Clare Flynn is set in the 1800s. Jack Brennan is different from his brothers. He does not want to be a parish priest like them. His father is angry but Jack runs away from his home, hoping to become a teacher. Mr. Quinn, his teacher, speaks to his cousin who is the headmistress of a new school in the outskirts of Bristol. Jack meets Eliza Hewett there and falls madly in love with her. Things change when Mary Ellen, his landlord's daughter, accuses him of being the father of the child she is expecting. Jack and Eliza are left with no choice but to run away. As they board the ship to America, Jack is arrested and Eliza finds herself going to New York alone with hardly any money. Will Jack be able to join her? The story is different, original and touching. It's interesting to read how the lives of Jack and Eliza unfold in different countries. The plot is powerful, the characters are well sketched, memorable, and their personalities will remain in the minds of readers even after they finish the story. It's a story of love, loss and tragedy; a heartbreaking and moving tale where readers will wish to see Jack and Eliza reunited and happy together. The narration is descriptive; it also speaks about the society that existed during that age and pulls readers into the story. It's well written and the story is not predictable, making it a engaging read.
What could be more intriguing that finding a letter stitched into the backing of a quilt? Our curiosity is piqued when, under a magnifying glass the letters are unstitched from inside the quilt and the story unfolds. Jack's story begins in 1875 in Derby, England. His very poor family intend for him to become a Catholic priest, sooner than later, and as Jack has no ambition to become a priest he leaves for a teaching assignment in Bristol. Content with his new position and newfound love, Eliza it appears that his future prospects are well in hand. Unaware of treachery brewing in the background, Jack falls victim to an unprincipled and unscrupulous priest who intends to ruin his life to protect his own reputation. Jack and Eliza immediate make plans to leave for America, but at the last moment are separated. Eliza, penniless, leaves for America alone. The novel follows the storylines of both Jack and Eliza and what they must do to survive and move on with their lives. Their love remains strong for each other even though they seem to be powerless to effect any change in their situation. If you are looking for a light romance, this is probably not the story for you. This book has its fill of plenty of tragedy and heartbreak. Personal weakness on Jack's part as well as the methods used by the Catholic church to cover up wrongdoings of its priesthood arise time and again and you wonder, will things ever get any better? This is not exactly a clean read, PG 13 + M. The offensive subject matter is well within historical accuracy and has been inserted into the storyline for a reason. Nonetheless, I found that the plot kept me interested until the last page. Sorry, no spoilers!