After a flood damages the looms at Zenus Dane’s Philadelphia textile mill and the bank demands loan payment, Zenus turns to his aunt for help repurposing his textiles. Trouble is . . . his aunt has already been hired by the lovely yet secretive Englishwoman Mary Varrs. Eager to acquire his aunt’s quilt patterns, Zenus attends the summer Quilting Bee, a social event his aunt has uniquely designed with the secret purpose of finding Zenus a wife. However Zenus only has eyes for Mary, but Mary has no such desire for him. Though his aunt is determined to design a masterpiece marriage, both Zenus and Mary will have to overcome their stubborn ways. Can he realize that love requires stepping out of his routine? And will she recognize that following her heart doesn’t mean sacrificing her ambition?
About the Author
Gina Welborn is the author of several novels and novellas, including The Heiress’s Courtship. Gina now lives in Cache, Oklahoma, with her pastor husband and their five children. Visit her online at GinaWelborn.com.
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Quilts of Love Series
By Gina Welborn
Abingdon PressCopyright © 2014 Gina Welborn
All rights reserved.
May 9, 1891
In all his thirty-one years, Zenus Dane had never expected to see seven inches of rainfall during a six-hour period.
He trudged through the flooded floor of the textile mill he was able to inspect since the fire marshal had declared it safe. Still, the water reached the third metal clasp of his vulcanized rubber boots, a product he wished he had invented, but was thankful Charles Goodyear did. Although, at the moment, he felt more nauseated than thankful. Through the hole in the roof, the morning sun revealed the full extent of the destruction caused by Friday afternoon's deluge setting a record for one-day rainfall in Philadelphia.
April was the month for deluges. Not May.
His mouth sour over the damage, Zenus looked to his foreman at the other end of the mill. The man didn't have to speak for Zenus to know he shared his grim thoughts.
Zenus stopped at the loom farthest from the collapsed roof. A floral cotton print lay half-woven in the machine. Unlike the bolts of textiles in the storage room, the print was as dry as his gabardine suit. It was also water-stained on the bottom portion of the roll. As he had with the other machines, he examined the loom's frame,the crankshaft, tight-and-loose pulleys, picker stick, shuttle, and race plate. All damp. Oxidation here, too, on the bolts where the floodwater reached its highest level. The looms hadn't even had a month of usage, and now rust?
As if his flooded warehouse of raw cotton bales wasn't a torturous enough loss.
A fitting why God? moment if there ever was one.
Zenus whipped his newsboy's cap off his head, ran his hands through his hair, then put the cap back on. Living by faith could be hazardous.
With a shake of his head, he released a breath.
No sense bemoaning fate. Count it all joy—it was the only contingency he had. And he would count it all joy that he'd fallen into this trial, because the testing of his faith was producing patience in him. He didn't consider himself an impatient man. His well-planned schedules allotted time for the unexpected and diversions; they resulted in maximum efficiency. Everything would work out, in time. Optimism: the first necessary ingredient for success. Don't lament the obstacles was the second. A few days were all he needed to solve this setback.
He could—no, he would—do it.
After a slap to the loom beam, Zenus stood.
He looked across the mill's vast floor to the entrance. His ten-year-old goddaughter Aimee stood with her father, waving frantically, while wearing her perpetual smile. The parts of her blue dress not stuck in her rubber boots grazed the surface of the floodwater.
He waved back with a silly expression, knowing it'd make her giggle.
And she did.
"Morning," his cousin Sean Gallagher called out, his voice echoing in the practically empty mill.
Sean said something to the fire marshal then touched Aimee's head. The fire marshal, nodding, motioned Sean to enter. As they did, he resumed pointing to the second-story rafters and speaking to three other firemen, likely, about the hole in the flat roof.
Sean gripped Aimee's hand. He slogged forward with the pants of his gray suit tucked inside his own pair of shin-high galoshes, his arm and Aimee's a pendulum between them, their legs creating ripples in the water.
"I should've insisted you buy flood insurance," Sean said.
Zenus's lips twitched with amusement. Typical of Sean to cut to the should've. "Buying flood insurance wasn't logical. When was the last time this part of Philly flooded?"
Sean gave a yeah-you're-right shrug as he waded through the water.
"I'm sorry about your mill," Aimee said in almost a whisper.
"It'll be all right, sweetheart." He gave her a gentle smile. "Did Noah have flood insurance?"
She shook her head, her dark corkscrew curls swaying.
"Did he survive?"
"Then things will work out for me as well."
"Sometimes your optimism annoys me." Sean stopped with Aimee one loom from where Zenus was. He rubbed the back of his neck as he glanced about the mill, his blue eyes even lighter in the morning sun. "You'll need a new roof before production can resume. Insurance will cover it. Unfortunately, it won't cover damage caused by rising water."
Zenus motioned to the looms around the mill floor. "Is any of this fabric covered by insurance because the damage was caused by the collapsed roof brought on by an act of God, not by flooding?"
"Yes, but" —Sean removed folded papers from his suit coat's inner pocket—"let me see what your policy says."
Zenus blinked, stunned his cousin actually remembered to bring the policy. Details, Sean never forgot. Items—always. If the man ever married again, his wife would have to accept Sean would remember their anniversary, but wouldn't remember to get a gift. Or if he did remember to buy a gift, he would leave it at his law office or in the cab or at the café where he always had a coffee after leaving work.
Good man. Honorable. Just forgetful.
"What isn't excluded," Sean said, "is included, so it's covered. But from what I can tell, none of the fabric on the looms looks damaged."
Aimee ran her hands across the orange-and-brown plaid, one of his new textile designs. "It's not wet."
"Because it dried overnight." Zenus trudged to the loom where Sean and Aimee were. He looked to his cousin. "Even if the textiles don't have stains, I have to declare they were exposed to water and sell them at a drastic discount, which means no profit. I lost all the raw cotton bales in the warehouse, too."
Sean repocketed the policy. "You'll get insurance money to help you equal out. Why are you shaking your head?"
Zenus leaned back against the loom. "I have forty-seven bolts in the storage room"—Aimee touched his hand, and his fingers immediately curled around hers—"all damaged or partially damaged by the flooding."
"How much fabric is it?"
"A hundred yards per bolt. Each bolt, fifty-four inches wide."
Sean opened his mouth then paused, clearly thinking, running numbers through his head. "Were those bolts already paid for?"
"Almost all. They were scheduled for cutting and delivery this Monday. Forty-five days of weaving will go to fulfilling those orders." Zenus loosened his tie. "Insurance money will go to repairing the roof and making my loan payment. I have enough left in savings to make payroll for a month."
"Maybe this is God's way of telling you to sell the business and do something different."
Zenus nodded thoughtfully. Maybe this was God at work. He'd go to his grave believing God worked in mysterious ways. He also knew God generally did not cause a field of wheat to grow unless a farmer sowed said grain. Made no sense for God to tell him to expand his business if God wanted him to sell the business. The loan he took out to buy the looms—to "grow his flock"—could now cause him to lose everything.
He needed guidance. Heavenly guidance. Jesus-inspired guidance.
"Maybe," he answered.
Sean stared at him in shock. "Maybe?"
"I should consider all my options."
"How adventurous of you, Queen Victoria."
Sean's face shared how much he believed Zenus was capable of doing something different. It pricked. Court a mail-order bride. Take out a loan. What else did he need to do to prove to Sean he was open to change? And he had changed.
Zenus withdrew his pocket watch, holding it in his palm. "The problem is the MacKenzie brothers' offer was made before rain created a hole in my roof," he said calmly, restraining the twinges of irritation from growing into a roar. "Would be foolish to presume their offer stands as-is."
"Then take a lesser offer and be done with—"
"Boss," his foreman called from the exit doors, "I'll get some mill hands to start clean-up here and at the warehouse."
Zenus nodded and hollered back, "I'll lock up." He looked to Sean.
"No. I can't risk my employees losing their jobs. A quarter are unmarried women—" His gaze shifted to Aimee long enough for Sean to understand his silent with children.
Sean leaned against the loom, his shoulder slightly touching Zenus's. "All right, Coz, selling isn't an option then. Insurance will help you through a month, maybe two. Then what?"
"You could ask Great-Aunt Priscilla," Aimee cheerfully offered. "She likes helping people."
If his eyes rolled, Zenus would not admit to it. His aunt was the last person he'd go to for aid.
"Thank you for the suggestion, sweetheart." Zenus gave her hand a little squeeze. "But I can't ask her."
"Why not?" she asked.
"I'm not allowed back into her home."
"Until he apologizes," Sean tacked on.
Aimee's confused gaze shifted between them. "For?"
"Being me," Zenus answered.
Sean, to his credit, did not snicker.
Aimee looked at Zenus with some surprise. "I don't understand. What's wrong with you?"
Sean chuckled. "His sentiments exactly."
Zenus quirked a brow. "Flaws, I have, as everyone does, and I can admit—"
"Confession is good for the soul." An unusual edge tinged Sean's words. His gaze never wavered from Zenus, never flickered, never stopped hammering nails right there in the center of Zenus's chest. He couldn't know. Couldn't.
Zenus looked away. Not everything needed to be confessed.
"The problem is," he said to Aimee, "Aunt Priscilla sees flaws which do not exist. She is quite secure in her opinions, thus she and I are at an impasse."
"It means when neither person can win," Sean answered. "What about the girl from Boston you've proposed to? Maybe her family could loan—"
"No." Zenus's response sounded a little tight, which betrayed a lot of emotion to anyone who knew him well, and Sean did. Fact was being emotional about another failed courtship would not do, considering Zenus had not yet formed an attachment to the lady in question. "No," he repeated this time in a lackadaisical tone. "My courtship of Miss Boesch has reached a mutual conclusion."
"You proposed in your last letter." While Sean didn't add a didn't you? the implication was clear.
Zenus checked his pocket watch. He needed to get to the next item on today's agenda. "Yes," he answered, pocketing his watch again. He began the slow walk back through the mid-calf-deep flood water to the mill's entrance, Aimee clinging to his hand.
Aimee looked over her shoulder. "Papa, can we have ice cream for lunch?"
"Certainly. Your mother would have insisted," Sean said, the water sloshing against his boots as he caught up to them. "I'm confused. The time line doesn't make sense. You mailed the letter on Wednesday, three days ago. Mail doesn't travel overnight even to Boston."
Moments like this were when Zenus wished his cousin was less tenacious. He gave Sean a bored look. "She mailed her proposal acceptance before I mailed my proposal offer."
Sean's frown deepened with his continued confusion. He grabbed Zenus's arm, halting him. "Explain."
"The proposal she accepted was from a Wyoming rancher to be his mail-order bride."
"Do you mean you aren't getting married?" Aimee asked, brow furrowing.
Zenus shook his head.
"Are you sad?"
He ignored the interest on Sean's face from Aimee's innocent question. Irritation, not sadness, was his more prevailing emotion.
"Things always work for our good." Believing that didn't ease his sour mood. He resumed their trek, the water splashing and rippling, Aimee singing "Row, row, row your boat."
Five months of courting Miss Boesch through letters. Five months of weekly correspondence. Five months of examining his schedule for the next year and finding the best date for a wedding and honeymoon to Niagara Falls so he wouldn't miss ...
(1) Thursday Canoe Club meeting, or
(2) Friday symphony attendance (both had free nights on the fifth Thursday and Friday of a month), or
(3) Saturday hunting trip (off-season), and
(4) he would have been home in time for Sunday morning worship.
Five months wasted. Why? Because even when he'd had hours—days even—to plan what to say in his letters, she chose another man over him. He was cursed to remain a bachelor. And someone with his qualities and assets shouldn't remain a bachelor. Women should be fighting with each other to marry him. It was a logical and self-possessed—not vain—assessment.
His current financial quandary aside, he was well-to-do: owned his own business, house, two canoes, and a box at the opera house. Zenus also faithfully attended church, where he taught a Sunday school class for boys, and dutifully gave to charities. Yet, upon at least two occasions, he'd overheard women describe him as "a Gothic rogue, so aloof and cold." Even though he and Sean had the same dark-hair-with-blue-eyes coloring—not surprising considering their mothers had been identical twins—Sean always earned a sigh and a "he's so charming."
A man's appearance should not define him as a rogue.
Nor should his past forever delineate him as one.
He should count it joy God spared him from the wrong match with Miss Boesch because there was a better-suited woman for him. If only he could find a way to convince the lovely and vivacious Arel Dewey to see him for the charming, devoted man he truly was.
"Too bad you couldn't figure out a way to repurpose the damaged fabric," Sean said, breaking into Zenus's thoughts.
His voice raised an octave. "I said it's too bad—"
"No, I heard you." Zenus stopped at the opened double-door entrance and met his cousin's gaze. Repurposing the fabric? He should have thought of it on his own. "I could cut up the fabric to sell as packaged scraps and then I could charge at least the minimum market price. Or ..." Think. He closed his eyes and pinched the skin between his brows.
Aimee kissed the back of his other hand, then let go. Sloshing. Humming.
There had to be some way he could repurpose the fabric and get a better return.
"I should introduce you to Miss Corcoran," said Sean.
"Uh-huh," Zenus muttered.
What if he added something to the fabric? Like a bonus. The prime buyers of his textiles were women who purchased them at the mercantile who bought them from the distributor. He needed to become the distributor himself to increase his profits. He needed something to entice his prime buyers to buy small pieces of fabric instead of yard sections.
"You aren't such a bad catch," Sean continued.
With his eyes closed, Zenus could hear the fire marshal yelling to his men to leave. Could smell the dirt in the floodwater. Both distracted him from focusing. Think. Ignore Aimee's humming too. Find something to lure buyers. Who wants fabric even if it's water-stained? With a little washing, the fabric would look like new anyway. He needed a woman who would settle—no, who actually desired something less than perfect. A cast-off. Leftover.
"... my new transcriptionist."
Zenus opened his eyes, absently noted the pirouette Aimee performed with all the grace her mother used to have. "What?"
Sean was grinning. "I said I am going to introduce you to my new transcriptionist."
Aimee didn't stop pirouetting to say, "She's nice."
Zenus kept his grimace internal. The dozen of secretaries and transcriptionists Sean had hired in the five years since his wife's death all looked the same: lackluster black hair with unmemorable faces that had forgotten how to smile. "Does she look like your last one?"
"She's not married, knows how to read and write, and is still within childbearing age," Sean said in a most pitying tone, "and it makes her the prime matrimonial catch for you."
Aimee nodded. "And she's nice."
Zenus let out a low growl. "Having Aunt Priscilla fail to match-make me last Christmas with the niece of her quilting friend was humiliating enough. You were there. You saw how—Whoa! That's it." He held his hand up, stilling his cousin from speaking. "Wait. Quilters use every textile known to man. They love scraps." He snapped his fingers and pointed at Sean. "They're what I need."
Sean's brow furrowed. "A quilter?"
"Trust me, you don't want more than one wife."
"I'm not talking for marriage, Sean. I'm talking about buying my textiles."
"Miss Corcoran doesn't look like the sewing type."
Aimee stopped pirouetting. "What's a sewing type?"
Sean scratched his dark bristled jawline, having clearly not taken time to shave this morning as Zenus had. He didn't appear to have any more of an idea of what the sewing type looked like any more than Zenus did, beyond being the female sort and domesticated.
Zenus stepped to the threshold. He patted the top of Aimee's head, murmured "Keep dancing, sweetheart," and then reached in his suit pocket for his set of keys. "Sean, I need you to hire a couple of guards today to watch over the mill during the night while I go arrange for the roof repair." He withdrew the keys, finding the one for the lock. "Offer a week's pay, although I doubt I'll need them so long. Hopefully when I return, the mill can resume operations."
"Return from where?"
"Belle Haven. I'm leaving early Monday morning. Return Wednesday."
Excerpted from Masterpiece Marriage by Gina Welborn. Copyright © 2014 Gina Welborn. Excerpted by permission of Abingdon Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Masterpiece Marriage is the engaging story of Mary Varrs who, in 1891, uses her studies of the growth patterns of tomato seedlings in an effort to obtain a position as a research assistant at the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station in Blacksburg, Va. - and Zenus Dane, owner of a flooded textile mill. When both require the help of Zenus's aunt - Priscilla Dane Osbourne - Zenus needing Aunt Priscilla's prized hand-drawn quilt patterns, in conjunction with his repurposed fabric scraps, to help salvage his textile mill; and Mary needing Priscilla to draw illustrations of Mary's prized plants to submit in her job bid - the relationship is, at first, one of love/hate. When thoughts turn to romance for both Mary and Zenus - the story becomes more complicated. You'll love this entertaining romantic story of Zenus and Mary!!
Mary Varrs loves science and desires to continue her education and work in the field of science. She is on a deadline and must seek help from a neighbor. When she agrees to help Priscilla Dane Osbourne in her quilting circle, so Pricilla will help her, she never imagined meeting the handsome and notorious nephew, Zenus Dane. When they must work together, will they likely kill each other, become great friend or find what neither one thought they wanted, true love. Can Mary meet her deadline in time, or will she be forced to return to Italy? Zenus Dane loves his scheduled life, when flood waters almost cost him his business he must seek the help of his Aunt Pricilla. When he barges into a quilting bee he never imagined how his life would get turned upside down, after he agrees to help his aunt, so she in turn will help him. What will come of his heart. He always thought he knew what he wanted and what he did not. But can Mary Varrs be something he never knew he needed? I really enjoyed this novel. It has some mystery, unique friendships, love and more. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading good, clean, christian romance. It is set in the 1890's. I was gifted a copy of this book from the author and good reads first reads.
5 stars ***** out of 5 Historical Romance I was able to identify with Mary right from the start, for though I can sew (just not a fine stitch), I too prefer to be outside getting my hands dirty. Nothing as prestigious as botany, though. This was a fun read, with stereotypes exchanged. A man who works with fabric, a woman who loves botany. And, as with all the books in the QUILTS OF LOVE series, the quilt takes on its own personality. To have included a woman who makes prize winning quilts was pure genius. Gina Wellborn is a new author to me, and I really enjoyed this, from the conflict of both needing completely different things from the same woman (Priscilla Dane Osbourne), within the same time line, to the final reward. There is just enough thrill to the read to keep the reader from being able to put the book down. I recommend it to all readers. Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group and Abingdon Press for the opportunity to read this book. I was given it free of charge in exchange for an honest review. A positive critique was not required. The opinions are my own.
The Quilts of Love novels are written by a variety of authors that each center around a quilt. While they are all numbered, they can be read in any order, as hey are stand alone novels. I've almost read them all and each inspires a deep desire for me to resume quilting again after finishing one. In Masterpiece Marriage, author Gina Welborn weaves a romance between a textile mill owner, Zenus Dane and Mary Varrs who is studying tomato seedlings in hopes of gaining a place in a university to further her studies in botany. Most universities are not as accommodating for women as they are for men. Each of them is faced with a need that can only be meet by Priscilla Dane Osbourne, a wealthy widow and Zenus' aunt. Lucky for Mary that she asked for her need first, because knowing how likely it would be for Priscilla to chose to help family over a stranger, she is more than relived. She receives an invitation for lunch in which Priscilla illustrated a beautiful plant and that is what Mary is missing in her research for submission. She must submit illustrations over photos. Priscilla agrees if Mary will agree to spend the next 10 days filling in for her on a quilting bee project with some of the local women. Zenus Dane has garnered quite the reputation as a ladies man and all the women have fallen for his charms one way or another. The problem being is his inability to properly talk to them once he opens his mouth. Instead he fumbles his words so horribly, he ends up offending them more than swaying them to courtship. His textile mill has suffered a horrible flood and the only way he can think to profit from the deficit his insurance won't cover on the fabrics is to persuade his Aunt to create a quilt pattern he can sell along with the scraps of fabric he has left. She agrees only if he will be at her beck and call and do whatever errands she asks of him including being a host to the ladies at the quilting bee. But Priscilla has more than one set of plans up her sleeves for Mary and Zenus and will work at solving their problems of the heart through their repetitive working together, something that both of them despise. I received Masterpiece Marriage by Gina Welborn compliments of Abingdon Press and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. Aside from receiving a free copy of the novel, I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review. The opinions contained in this review are strictly my own. I absolutely LOVED this novel and easily read it in a few hours at just 240 pages. It does include a reader's discussion guide at the conclusion as well as a sneak peek into "A Stitch in Crime" by Cathy Elliot coming next in the Quilts of Love Series. This is the 24th novel to find its way into the Quilts of Love series and historical fiction are vast becoming my favorite genre! There is something to be said for the propriety that men and women had back in the 1800's and I believe Gina Welborn captured that perfectly with her interactions between Mary, Priscilla and Zenus. I love the idea of a gentlemen like Zenus being a bit more than tongue tied when he converses with women. It's that unique character flaw that makes him as appealing and Mary's strong will and determination to not be willing to succumb to societies standards that a woman's role was to be married and having children. This one easily gains a 4.5 out of 5 stars in my opinion.
Gina Welborn in her new book, “Masterpiece Marriage” Book Twenty-Four in the Quilts of Love Series published by Abingdon Press brings us into the life of Mary Varrs. From the back cover: Mary Varrs prefers botany to romance. She thinks studying the growth pattern of her tomato seedlings is more time-worthy than pursuing a mate. When she needs illustrations of her prized plants, Mary turns to Priscilla Dane Osbourne for help. Zenus Dane also seeks help from his aunt Priscilla. In order to salvage his flooded textile mill, he wants to sell her hand-drawn quilt patterns alongside his repurposed fabric scraps. No quilter has national name recognition like his aunt, but Priscilla is fiercely protective of her patterns. Convincing her will not be easy.. It seems Priscilla is the answer to both their prayers. But Priscilla would rather weave a masterpiece marriage for her nephew than save his flooded business. Trouble is, her plans do not include Mary, whose own growing attraction for Zenus could jeopardize Priscilla’s good will toward her. If faced with a decision between love and ambition, will Mary be able to choose? 1891 Philadelphia is not an easy time for women. The colleges are not easy to get into and Mary wants to study to be a botanist. All Zenus wants is to get his flooded textile mill going again. Both of them need Priscilla’s help. All Priscilla wants is to get Zenus married.I do enjoy how the imagery of the quilt is played out in this story. “Masterpiece Marriage” is just a sweet romance and Mary, Zenus and Priscilla are really terrific characters that are very well-developed within these pages. Ms. Welborn has given them a life of their own and we really want them to succeed both in their professions and, of course, in their romance. This is a truly enjoyable read and I look forward to more from this very talented author. 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.”
"Being intentional," he said, "is a quality more people should possess." - Zenus Dane Gina Welborn has penned a wonderful addition to the Quilts of Love series! Masterpiece Marriage is a beautiful story! I loved the richness and depth of the historical setting and story details. The tapestry of this story includes so many lovely threads. The characters are complex and charming and the relationship between Englishwoman Mary Varrs and textile mill owner Zenus Dane is delightful. I also enjoyed Zenus's Aunt Priscilla and her determination to design a masterpiece marriage. Engaging, humorous, and romantic, Masterpiece Marriage is a pleasure to read! I loved this book and can't wait to read more from Gina Welborn! I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author. All thoughts expressed are my own and no monetary compensation was received.
Thursday, December 11, 2014 Masterpiece Marriage by Gina Welborn ~ a Quilts of Love story, © 2014 Being skilled in the Art of Pleasing Others truly did obliterate her individuality. No wonder the average English girl was viewed as decidedly dull by the Americans. Years of being "improved" made her this way. --Masterpiece Marriage, 46 Join another wonderful Quilts of Love story ~ finding how quilts change and resurrect the longing to express. A beautiful story of hope and love ~ and Mary. So reminded me of It's A Wonderful Life ~ the old house, the dreams, the future to be taken when you realize why you were born. To live, to love; to be received, to reach for the plans He has for you. For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. And I will be found of you, saith the LORD: and I will turn away your captivity... --Jeremiah 29:11-14a, KJV Guilt of Zenus Dane's past drives him to perfection-seeking in all he does. Gone is the gaiety of his youth and he settles into a routine he believes is what he has and is to do. A flooded warehouse sends him to his aunt Priscilla to try to recoup his damages in his textile mill. An accomplished and respected quilter/designer, Zenus is certain her artwork will bring his goods into a salable option. Mary Varrs is house-sitting while completing her scientific experiments with tomato seedlings, preparing to submit her work for her first employment in the field. Being advised of a new requirement to add drawings with her papers, she finds neighbor Priscilla Dane Osbourne with the skill she most needs to complete her application; line drawings so desperately needed in a short time. She sees Mrs. Osbourne's drawings on an invitation she receives to be part of a Quilting Bee to complete a Bride's Quilt. Being an Englishwoman, certainly she knows how to do handwork. I enjoyed the humor in the story but also the depth of thought in determining what held importance in Mary's life and the freedom she had to choose. In 1891, the academics did not favor women taking part. Being sponsored brought Mary under obligation, until she realized the choices she did have. Very well-written and expressed, I look forward to future writings by this author. **Thank you to Litfuse Publicity Group and Abingdon Press for sending me a copy of Gina Welborn's Quilts of Love story ~ Masterpiece Marriage. This review was written in my own words. No other compensation was received.***