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?
About the Author
Mona Hodgson’s publishing credits have grown to include nearly forty books, including The Sinclair Sisters of Cripple Creek Series, The Quilted Heart novellas, Prairie Song, children's books, and contributions to more than ten books for adults. 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 a gaggle of grandchildren.
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-year-old 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 Maren’s 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 easing their tension.
“It has been too long since breakfast. Gabi and I will fix us all an early supper while you tend the animals.”
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 see one 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 welltraveled 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 double-hung 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.”
“Bleib hinter mir, 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 wash for 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 have come to 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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
THE QUILTED HEART by Mona Hodgson is an amazing Christian Historical Fiction set in the 1860's St. Charles, Missouri. Post-Civil War era. "The Quilted Heart" Trilogy,Three Novellas in one amazing book, "Dandelions on the Wind", "Bending Toward the Sun" and "Ripples Along the Shore". "Like a beautiful patchwork quilt, stories of lives stitched together with love and God's unending grace." This tale of God's grace, love, healing, forgiveness, friendship and romance follows three young ladies, Maren Jensen, Emilie Heinrich, the widow Caroline and the men who steal their hearts. Together, these ladies, endure hardships, and heartache set against the backdrop of the Civil War but with prayer and friendship they stitch their tattered hearts back together one stitch at a time. Each story brings us into the hearts and lives of the characters with endurance and love. A heartwarming tale of second chances, change, a bit of intrigue and lots of romance. You don't want to miss one moment of THE QUILTED HEART. Well done, Ms. Hodgson! Received for an honest review from the publisher. RATING: 4.5 HEAT RATING: SWEET REVIEWED BY: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More
MY REVIEW of Book One, Dandelions on the Wind: "Clutching her cloth doll, Gabi looked at her. 'My PaPa came back.'" This story is told with gut-wrenching honesty given to the feelings of the characters. It is not difficult to imagine the emotional pain and physical hardship it created for a grieving mother-in-law and young daughter for the father to walk away and leave his newborn infant. Can they accept him back into the fold and welcome him home? Wooly is hoping and praying that they can do just that. How will Maren fit into the plan? She has been helping his mother-in-law and daughter on the farm and now he displaces her with his return, but she may be more than happy about the new arrangement. Read to find out these questions and more. This is a five-star novella. MY REVIEW of Book Two, Bending Toward the Sun: "'You're upset that I was speaking to an Irishman?' PaPa looked everywhere but at her. 'The McFarlands run freight wagons to and from the docks. They're teamsters. They're Irish.'" Dear Emilie wants a family of her own and she also desires nothing more than to care for her dear widowed father. He wants an entirely different life for her and he certainly does not want her courting an Irishman. Prejudice rears its ugly head in book two, but can God soften the heart of a loving father or is it hopeless for Emilie? Grab the tissue box and a comfy chair to read this novella to see what transpires. 5 Stars ***** MY REVIEW of Book Three, Ripples Along the Shore: "The woman's nervous giggle tensed Caroline's shoulders. No one could take Phillip's place in her heart. 'I'm not seeking a replacement for my husband.' 'Perhaps you should, dear.'" The Civil War split families apart and left many without husbands, sons, fathers, brothers, and unfortunately Caroline turns out to be one left without a husband. Heading west from Missouri would add even more challenge and likely hardship to Caroline's life but it would give her a fresh start. A different sort of prejudice is experienced in the third book. Caroline turns to God and the church for her answers. Could her enemy, one who may have even killed her husband, be the one to lead her on the greatest adventure of her life? If you want an exciting, fast-paced historical romance, then this is a wonderful choice. 5 Stars again!!! This omnibus is top-notch and left me wanting to keep on reading and just leave the world behind me. I received a free copy of this book from bloggingforbooks in exchange for my honest review.
Reviewed by Joy Hannabass for Readers' Favorite In Dandelions on the Wind, Maren Jensen moved in with Elsa Brantenberg to work for room and board after a mail-order-bride deal went wrong. Maren’s life changed when Wooly shows up at the farm to work. In Bending Toward the Sun, working at the general store and going to college doesn’t leave time for love in Emilie Heinrich’s life. But then a childhood friend comes back into town - will that change things for Emilie? In Ripples Along the Shore, it is almost time for the Boone's Lick wagon train, led by the mysterious and handsome Garrett Cowlishaw to leave for California, but will widow Caroline go along? It is time for a change in Caroline’s life after losing her husband in the Civil War, but is a cross country trip on a wagon train the answer for Caroline? The Quilted Heart is a collection of stories that takes place just after the Civil War, and the people of the small town of St. Charles, Missouri are trying to get their lives back together in their own way. Some will decide to stay in the town, while others choose to leave their home and join the wagon train to California. I enjoyed these heartwarming stories created by Mona Hudgson, with believable and solid characters playing out the scenes as they faced the difficult decisions before them. And I appreciate the way Ms. Hudgson weaves the principles of the Bible into the lives of her characters. Through the heartache of losing family members and friends to the war, and the romance found within the characters of this town, Ms. Hudgson tells a compelling story that will stay with you long after you finish reading. Those who enjoy historical fiction, and especially fiction written around the Civil War era, are sure to enjoy this one.
I just loves series. I have already review the first book to this series. I really like learning about Civil War era. I do not know what bring it out or if it the writing. I just enjoy the story behind it. You can learn so much. Why it just a wonderful thing to see the bonds of friendship and what all can bring people together. The stories are all different but it all great to read. To me it just makes me wonder and these stories also take me back in that time era. What life might have been if I was born in that era.
Mona Hodgson in her new book, “The Quilted Heart” published by WaterBrook Press gives us Three Novellas in One. From the back cover: 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? Welcome to St. Charles, Missouri. The Civil War has been devastating to some of the women here and three of these women meet for quilting over at Elsa Brantenberg’s farm. When they all come together it is more like a support group and each woman gets her own story It is amazing to me how differently the same event, in this case the Civil War, can affect individuals. Ms. Hodgson had done a wonderful job of bringing each woman to life and giving her a unique experience. We fall in love with these ladies and when they feel pain so do we. When they experience love we rejoice with them. Every character is so well portrayed we feel as though we are living in St. Charles with them. It is a sad thing when the book ends and we have to say goodbye to them. However we had a wonderful time with them between the pages so it is all worthwhile. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Press for this review. 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.”
Mona Hodgson’s The Quilted Heart tells the story of a group of women in Saint Charles Missouri, soon after the end of the Civil War. Pioneers are moving West, soldiers are coming home or else their effects are returned after their deaths, and brave souls still cross the seas from Europe in search of a new life. The women of these three tales represent quite different parts of society, but their lives intertwine around a quilting circle and faith in God. Old Mrs. Brantenberg runs the quilters, sowing wisdom as they sew. But even the wise need a word of faith sometimes, and there’s a pleasing sense of human frailty in the characters of these stories—no one purely good or unreservedly willing to take God’s path. A young servant, going blind, has to learn her home is where God puts her, and her value is more than her sight. A daughter offered the opportunities of education has to balance standing up for herself with graceful patience and obedience. And a grieving widow has to learn to move on. War is depicted as a cruel master in these tales, wounding even its survivors. But faith hope and love survive, and the greatest is love. Nicely chosen questions end each novella, inviting Christian reading-group discussion. And the slightly abrupt endings to each story provide a nice reminder that faith is a journey, not a path to an end, and human love is just one stop on the way. Disclosure: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review
These women touched my heart tremendously. I only wish this wasn't a collection of novellas! I would have loved to delve into each of their lives just a little bit more. Dandelions on the Wind: Maren is a strong woman whose sight limitations do not limit her in life. Rutherford is a broken man coming home from the war to try to make amends. The main theme throughout the story is this: Grace cannot be earned, only given. The author does a good job of showing that theme throughout this story, as well as the book. Bending Toward the Sun: This little novella touches on a tough subject for a short story - prejudice. Just as it exists in today's world, it existed after the war between states. Sometimes it takes a near tragic accident to overcome such obstacles and let the Lord guide your heart. Ripples Along the Shore: This story touches closely to home for me. Caroline is a war widow, like me. Her emotions were very real to me and the author does an incredible job of portraying them. The main theme throughout this story is to humble yourself before the Lord so he can show you His plans. Overall, this was a delightful collection of stories about being transformed. Just as these ladies learn from one another during their quilting circle, so we should learn: "A quilted heart is a transformed heart." "Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you." - James 4: 6-8 **Thank you Blogging for Books for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.**
"The Quilted Heart" by Mona Hodgson is three historical novellas in one book. The characters of St. Charles are introduced in the first novella and their story continues throughout each of the other novellas. Although each is a love story there is the underlying story of a wagon train heading west and surviving the Civil War. The war has ended and many are looking for a new start on life. If historical romance is your cup of tea then give this author a try. My disappointment with the storyline was that the romances were so straight forward-I could guess the outcome most of the time. But it is an easy, quick read. I received this book free from Blogging for Books to review.
The Quilted Heart is a collection of three novellas: Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun and Ripples Along the Shore. Having read and thoroughly enjoyed the full-length novel, Prairie Song, last year, I was really excited to read these three introductory stories. I was not left disappointed. These three smaller stories are a great lead-in to the larger book. In Dandelions on the Wind, my very favorite story of the three, Maren Jensen has a choice to make. She has failing eyesight and things have not worked out here in America as she had originally hoped when she sailed from Denmark four years earlier. She learns to trust that God’s plans are not always the plans that we have for ourselves. I also enjoyed the beautiful story of reconciliation, when Rutherford “Wooly” Wainwright returns after leaving suddenly four years earlier, besieged by grief. In Bending Toward the Sun, Emilie Heinrich and Quaid Macfarland renew an old friendship and love begins to bloom. But Emilie’s father has other plans for her and is not in favor of a courtship. Is it possible for Emilie and Quaid to ever find happiness together while still honoring her father’s wishes? This book deals with prejudice and asks the question of how does God really see people. This novella ended before I expected it too, however, their story continued on in the next novella nicely. In Ripples Along the Shore, we mainly follow the situation of Caroline Milburn, a war widow. She is facing tough choices about where her life is headed. She can stay in an uncomfortable situation with her sister’s family, try to make a life on her own in town, or attempt to join a wagon train that will be leaving in a few months. Garrett Cowlishaw complicates things for Caroline when he forbids her to join. But she is determined to find a way to go. This was a very good story that flows very well into the larger novel Prairie Song. This novella comes to an end without complete resolution for Caroline, as well as for Anna, another character who we follow in this book. This type of ending would not have set well with me if I did not already have knowledge of how things end up working out in the full-length novel, Prairie Song. My advice to readers of this collection is to have a copy of Prairie Song nearby because it will be a must read at the end of Ripples Along the Shore. All of these novellas were written so beautifully. They just drew me in and kept me reading. The characters dealt with big issues and all three novellas were tied together so nicely, with one story flowing into the next. I do have to say that I am glad to have a copy of Prairie Song, because I had to pick it up again as soon as I finished reading this novella collection and read more about Caroline and Anna’s stories. I very much enjoyed this collection. I received a complimentary copy of The Quilted Heart from the publisher in exchange for an honest review, which I have given.
As I read Mona Hodgson’s “Quilted Heat” a 3 in 1 novella, I was filled with joy. It is a story of families reunited after the Civil War. Now it is time about thinking about joining a wagon train and heading west. Will all of the Ladies Quilting Circle go or will some stay behind? The Ladies Quilting Circle meets once a week for quilting and fellowship. Mrs. Brantenberg, the leader of the circle, likes to compare our life and walk with God to quilts and quilt patterns. “Life is much like quilting – a patchwork of scraps and remnants.” “We all have a long list of the scraps and squares that make up our lives.” “God, the Divine Quilter, has the perfect patchwork pattern for our lives. Each will be different as sunshine and snowfall.” These were just a few of my favorite quotes from the second book “Bending Toward the Sun.” In the third and final novella “Ripples Along the Shore,” Mrs. Hodgson talks about being stuck in the mud. It really made me stop and think if I am stuck in the mud and what am I going to do about it? That is what I really like about Mrs. Hodgson writing not only is it very entertaining but it really makes you stop and think. Set aside some time and get ready for a great adventure with Maren, Emilie and Caroline just a few friends you will meet in this wonderful book.
The Quilted Heart Three Novellas in One Author: Mona Hodgson I really loved The Quilted Heart that has three novellas in one. Mona Hodgson has done an excellent job of going from one to the other and you will not miss out on anything.You will love Elsa Brantenberg she is a very loved and wise lady. She and the other ladies in Saint Charles quilting circle gets together once a week at her farmhouse on the riverside town of Saint Charles, Missouri and work on their quilts and pray for one another. Before they start Mrs. Brantenberg or one of the ladies opens up with a prayer. All these ladies have been through heartache and hardship. They all have something in common. In these three novellas you are going to meet Maren, Emilie, Caroline, and you are going to love them. Maren takes on the job of helping Mrs. Brantenberg and her granddaughter, Gabi on the farm. Maren never expected to love these two like she does. Gabi's father Rutherford ,who they call "Wooly" Wainwright returns from the war unexpected. Since Emilie's mother left she has been helping her father in his general store and has no room for love. Her father does not want her talking to a man. So what happens when an old school friend returns from the war? Will she listen to her father or her heart? Caroline in the other novellas has not heard from her husband who went off to war. She doesn't know if he is alive or dead. When a man comes to town he knows someone who might can find an answer for Caroline. This third novella is all about the people getting ready to head west on the Boone's Lick Wagon train.This wagon train is lead by the handsome Garrett Cowlishaw. This trip west is going to be very hard and long.This handsome Garrett also takes a liking to Caroline. Is she ready to love again? Can an un married woman take this trip west? Who will sign up for this long and hard trip to the west. I loved how Mona put the spiritual parts in her book. There is also a quote that I loved , "Like a quilt is made up of remnants....scraps, so is your life and mine." I loved The Quilted Heart and I know you will to. I was given a copy of this book by the author for an honest review, Which I have given