Love this series and this book is a keeper. It starts out with Cordelia Grace and she's just a teen when the bullies in town go after her but Bernard Howard, the new white kid in town sticks up for her.
Years later she's talking to her grandmother and she's telling her the story of the Pine cone quilt and how each girl who's 18 is presented with her life covering with pieces of fabric from worn out clothes or other special pieces.
Folding the fabric into a square while praying over it. how priceless!
The story also follows Bernard and when he's younger his father beats up his mother and himself. He can't wait til he's 18 and able to leave the house.
Time frame for this novel is when the war is ongoing and women must work in factories and Japanese are being held in camps. It effected all parts of the country.
Cordelia was to wed Bernard next year and he didn't want her to work outside the home.
Love that she uses her hands to design clothing. Bernard learns of his mothers sin and hopes Cordelia's father the pastor can help her have faith again.
Misunderstandings among them leads to disagreements and arguments and I wonder if they will ever get back to what they had. Cordelia is not sure how she can tell him of what she saw his father do.
Seems there are more questions than answers ... His life leads him into a different direction and after a tragedy in her life she must seek work... Love how the bible and the quilt hold the answers to all the problems...
Love the storyline and the mystery and revelation of the quilt. An excerpt from another book in this series is included at the end.
I received this book from Abingdon Press in exchange for my honest review.
This book was worth the wait. I love WWII and am always excited to see a fresh perspective on it. Pieces of the Heart has a VERY fresh perspective. An African American girl and boy meet when they are young and just know they will get married someday - this is their story... filled with twists and turns and most dramatically filled with Bernard going off to WWII while Cordelia stays home to work in the factories. I was quite taken with the characters and the life breathed into them. There are a lot of supporting characters that surround them, including both sets of their parents with their own issues and Cordelia's friends. They add lots of dimension to what is going on in the lives of Bernard and Cordelia.
I was unaware of what a lot of African Americans soldiers went through in WWII as well as lots of the segregation still on the home front up north - even among light skinned and dark skinned African Americans. I was moved by the threads of forgiveness and prayer wrapped up in this story and I truly enjoyed this newest book in the Quilts of Love line from Abingdon Press.
Bernard and Cordelia are a young couple in love, and much like Romeo and Juliet, circumstances prevent them from marrying as early as they'd like. Frustrated, Bernard enlists. They both endure a time of testing. Much research on WWII African-American soldiers is evident. Separation from white soldiers must have been extremely humiliating for soldiers like Bernard, who had enjoyed mixed company all his life.
Cordelia's love for Bernard as he wrestles with battle fatigue makes this reader ache.
There's so much to the story that it seems choppy at times.
The theme and history of a Pine Cone quilt carries throughout the story. I like the way the quilt becomes an intricate part of Cordelia's life.
Discussion questions included.
Thank you to Bonnie at Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Abingdon for my copy.
"You know how some people can pinpoint when their lives changed for the better or worse?"
"Yes, baby. I've heard tell about folks like that. For me, I just personally felt it all began the day I was birthed." Grammy Mae, with her hair pulled back in a perfect chignon, wore tailored housedress; she had looked prim and proper every day Cordelia could remember. Even her black Hill and Dale stack-heel oxfords were polished to a high shine. Grammy loved shoes. She had taught Cordelia the brand name of every pair, though, to her grandmother's chagrin, Cordelia preferred to go barefoot.
Cordelia rubbed her hand over the red material that was close to the center of the quilt. "Well, this is when I was reborn."
Grammy smiled. "I knew the day you brought that bloody shirt in here, something was burnin' in your belly."
"That day I met Bernard." She sighed, remembering the whole jumble of feelings from that day. Her mind had raced to find excuses for the dirt on her play dress. She didn't want to tell about being pushed to the ground. A bicycle fall always seemed a handy excuse. Sometimes she was sure Grammy had guessed the truth. And then there was her Superman, Bernard Howard.
In the latest novel to find its way into the Quilts of Love Series, author Bonnie Calhoun takes her turn with Pieces of the Heart. In the beginning we get a snap shot at the life changing even that Cordelia believes changed her life, one that many young adults like myself could easily relate to. Grammy shares pieces of Cordelia's life as they continue to work on completing her Pinecone Quilt. With each piece there is a story to tell that chronicles an event in Cordelia's life, life moments according to Grammy Mae. Not only would it cover her with warm but the quilt itself would become what Grammy would call a life covering and one that has been passed down from generation to generation. But then again most quilts have their own stories to tell and perhaps that is our draw to them. This novel is that story retold once again by Grammy Mae of Cordelia's life.
Going back through the generations, each young lady is presented with her life covering on her eighteenth birthday. It holds the prayers, dreams, and wished spoken for her and her life as a woman, wife, and mother. Each girl gets their own special quilt. Each quilt holds its own blessings just like Elijah and Elisha, that have been prayed over as each piece of material has been added.
I received Pieces of the Heart by Bonnie Calhoun compliments of Christian Fiction Blog Alliance and Abingdon Press for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for a favorable review. It never fails not only do this novels capture my heart and soul, but they inspire me to want to create my own memory quilt and none more so than this one. I love how Grammy Mae has been collecting this pieces of Cordelia's life, slowly cutting the pieces out, folding them just so and praying a special blessing over each piece. When it's finally complete, not only do you have a lifetime of memories but a lifetime of blessings covering you as you lay beneath it's warmth.The added bonus is that this takes place during World War 2, once of my favorite genre's to have story take place because of the added tension that comes between couples who have to be separated. I rate this one a 5 out of 5 stars.
Have you ever read a book that reminded you of a movie? Not that movie was based on a certain book, but that the subject brought to mind a movie? Whether you have or have not, for me Pieces of the Heart did as it covers the time era of WWII along with segregation of the men who went along with a pinecone quilt. I love historical novels as they reveal some information about history framed in fiction. Perhaps we think PTSD is a new diagnosis for those returning from service, but it is actually a new term put on what used be called battle fatigue. Bonnie Calhoun also shares her own personal family history at the end of the novel along with ways readers can further learn about topics covered in her novel.
Cooking the Books is the first novel Bonnie wrote and has a direct link to a descendant from this WWII historical story. As I sat and read, I was actually amazed at how my attention never wavered nor lost interest. I didn't put the book down until I completely read the whole thing; I was that enthralled. Here we see the infighting that occurs between those who are lighter skinned African Americans and those who are darker skinned. Cordelia is always being harassed because she is light skinned and therefore doesn't belong in the neighborhood. Bernard comes to her rescue once and from then on Cordelia loves him even though his faith seems more real to him than hers. Her Grammy works on her quilt until her passing, which means Cordelia has to complete it on her own.
Grammy tries to teach prayer as a real relationship and life-changing habit while Cordelia is growing up. However, due to her lack of believing, seeing the hypocrisy in her own parents and having no Biblical knowledge of her own that when bad things happened in her life, she gives up on prayer. Bernard was raised with an abusive father. Due to his turning 18 and also a misunderstanding that causes him to lose his standing in the church, he signs up to serve in the Army. When he returns, Bernard is not the man who left. There are people and situations that have changed as well. On top of it all, Grammy left such a deep inheritance that it takes a moment of surrender to discover what has been before both Cordelia and Bernard for a long time.
Pieces of the Heart takes a look at different topics set in the WWII era, but that are still happening today. On top of that, the novel shares the truth of our brokenness and the lengths God goes to draw us to Himself no matter how broken we see ourselves. In fact, our brokenness should reflect the truth to our hearts of our need for Him and the love we desire from other people. I loved how honestly the struggle we all have sometimes with prayer in our lives is depicted brilliantly. There really is freedom if we are open and truthful about what we are struggling with and how we feel about life. It isn't that it stops, but that He comes in and gives us His love, strength, comfort, compassion and peace to live with the truth every new day.