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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Review: The Quilted Heart Omnibus by Mona Hodgson






Recently I had an opportunity to read and review the Quilted Heart Omnibus by Mona Hodgson.  This book contains three different novellas: Dandelions on the Wind, Bending Toward the Sun, and Ripples Along the Shore.  In this book,which takes place right after the Civil War,  Elsa Brantenberg holds a weekly quilting circle at her farmhouse outside of St. Louis Missouri.  The ladies there have all experienced extreme hardship and heartache because of the Civil War and the quilting circle helps to ease their grief through common bonds, friendship, and prayer.

In the first story, Dandelions on the Wind, Maren Jenson takes a job on Elsa's farm after traveling to this country to find that her betrothed could not cope with the idea of her failing eye sight and would not marry her.  Maren loves the farm and it begins to feel like home to her and she loves caring for little Gabi and helping Mrs. Bratenberg although she still carries a desire to earn enough money to return back to her family.  When Gabi's father (Elsa's son in law) returns to the farm, Maren feels she needs to find another job.  Is she being obedient to God or running away from His plans?

In the second story, Bending Toward the Sun, Emilie Heinrich is very dedicated to helping her aging father in the store and continuing her education on his wishes.  When a childhood friend returns from the Civil War, he steals her heart.  But, her father doesn't approve.  How can she honor her father if it means loosing a chance for true love.

In the third story, Ripples Along the Shore, a group of residents from St. Charles have decided to make the trip West on a wagon train led by former Confederate soldier Garrett Cowlishaw.  Caroline has lost her husband and is desperate for a change.  She decides the trip west is just what she needs but Garrett forbids her to undertake the journey as it would be too hard for a single woman traveling alone.  Will this destroy her future or lead her towards God's plans for her life.

As stand alone books, these would have been way too short for me, but put together as a novel, I really enjoyed them.  I loved how the author created the stories around the quilting circle and used the making of quilts as symbolism for life.  The three stories were woven together well and showed an honest picture of the things people were dealing with following the war.  My favorite story was Bending Toward the Sun.  It is a hard choice for Emilie to obey her father (and therefore God) even though she really wanted not to.  But she ended up being greatly blessed because of her obedience.  I liked too how the story is leading into the westward expansion and how the quilting circle handled the upcoming separation.  I am glad to see that the author will be continuing the story with those that are moving west and will be very interested in reading the upcoming novel.

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of The Quilted Heart Omnibus for the purpose of writing a fair and honest review.  I received no other compensation and all opinions are my own.  I am disclosing it in accordance to FTC regulations.
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