16 March 2014

The Quilted Heart Omnibus by Mona Hodgson

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“A quilted heart is a transformed heart.”

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?

Mona Hodgson’s The Quilted Heart Omnibus collects three sweet novellas: “Dandelions on the Wind,” “Bending Toward the Sun” and “Ripples Along the Shore.” With quilting and its correlation with God’s unending grace as the connecting theme, each novella explores the lives of a different set of characters within this post-Civil War society of Saint Charles, Missouri. Hodgson creates characters and stories I would love to delve into even deeper, though I understand with the limitations of a novella all the details cannot always be explained and elaborated. Admittedly, I would have liked a bit more closure with the storyline at the end of the collection (but I have no problem reading Prairie Song to find the answers to my questions). Regardless, I honestly enjoyed each of Hodgson’s quick stories and would recommend them for an easy afternoon read. I thank WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for providing me with a copy of this novella collection. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to read and honestly review it.

*Previously I wrote a review specifically for the novella, "Dandelions on the Winds," and it can be found here.

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