The Quilted Heart Omnibus by Mona Hodgson is three novellas in one book that are set in St. Charles, Missouri in 1865. What a wonderful collection of stories this is!
Dandelions on the Wind
When Maren Jensen's mail-order bride arrangement falls through due to her failing eyesight, she finds a home with a widow, Elsa Brantenberg, and her granddaughter, Gabi.
But when Gabi's father unexpectedly returns from the army, Maren and Rutherford might just find that God has a plan for healing their hearts.
Bending Toward the Sun
Emilie is the daughter of the local general store owner. She has spent her life dedicated toward helping out in her father's store
She's happy for her co-worker and friend Maren who has found love and will be getting married soon.
But that leaves Emilie to wonder if there is love in her future, until Quaid McFarland reurns after the Civil War. This gives Emilie hope for her future until her father voices his opinion. Emilie's father does not bless the relationship between his daughter and an Irish man. How will her fathers opinion affect her future?
Ripples Along the Shore
Caroline Milburn lost her husband in the Civil War and is now living with her sister and her family.
When she learns that there is plans for a wagon train heading west she thinks that this just might be the new beginning she is looking for.
Garrett Cowlishaw, a former Confederate soldier, is the leader of the wagon train. He is smitten with Caroline. Even though he may never see her again, he can't risk allowing a single woman to take such an arduous journey alone.
When she is told that she will not be allowed to ride alone on the wagon train, her dreams of a new life in California are crushed.
A heart warming book with stories about three different women with unique challenges in their lives.
I just loved the characters in this story, they were strong and likable each in their own way, and learned along the way.
I received this book free from WaterBrook Publishing for an honest review.
About "Dandelions on the Wind" by Mona Hodgson, the first book in this collection.
"Tattered relationships and broken hearts, like a quilt, can be pieced together by God's love.
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 "Woolly" Wainwright, returns to the farm unexpectedly, everything changes for Maren. Despite the failing eyesight that caused her suitor to reject her, she can see that Woolly desperately needs to reconnect with the family he abandoned when his grief sent him running toward the armyâ€”and into the Civil War. She also senses there could be something more between the widower and herself, if either can move beyond their past hurts.
Comforted and counseled by the wisdom of the women in her beloved quilting circle, Maren begins to discover the cost such decisions demand of her heart. Are her choices in obedience to God, or is she running from His plan? Is it too late for love to be stitched into the fabric of her life?"
Series: Book #1 in the â€˜Quilted Hearts' series (book #2 & #3 scroll down) Has sequel series "Hearts Seeking Home", book #1 in that series Here!)
Spiritual Content- Psalm 119:105 in the front; Scriptures are quoted; Prayers are said; Maren trusts God with her sight and says so.
Negative Content- Rutherford/Woolly has two flash backs about raids, neither of them detailed.
About "Bending Towards the Sun" by Mona Hodgson, the second book in this collection.
"Can the Divine Quilter stitch together the torn pieces of Emilie's heart?
Divided between the love of her father and the desires of her heart, Emilie Heinrich must rely on the love and wisdom of the women in her quilting circle for support. Since Emilie is dedicated to her education and to helping her father in his general store, she 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.
Quaid McFarland has a gentleness and humor that causes Emilie to question her indifference toward romance. But her German father sees only one thing when he looks at the young man: an Irish teamster. And Johann Heinrich is not about to let such a man court his beloved daughter.
Her father's prejudices test Emilie's faith in God's ability to mend the patchwork pieces of her life. Will she be forced to choose between honoring her father and a future with a husband and family of her own?"
Series: Book #2 in the â€˜Quilted Hearts' series (book #1 scroll up & #3 scroll down) Has sequel series "Hearts Seeking Home", book #1 in that series Here!)
Spiritual Content- Proverbs 4:23 in the front; Proverbs 3:5-6; 1 Samuel 16:7; Emilie has a Faith but Quaid is re-learning to trust God in all things
Negative Content- N/A
Sexual Content- When Quaid sees Emilie he wonders when she "_got tall_and shapely?"; Kisses
About "Ripples Along the Shore" by Mona Hodgson, the third & last book in this collection.
"Can a War Widow Escape Her Griefâ€”and Find God's Promiseâ€”on a Wagon Train West?
When Caroline Milburn steps off the boat and back into her hometown of St. Charles, MO, part of her wishes she could step right back on board and sail away. St. Charles, though home to her beloved friends and quilting circle, hasn't felt like home since the death of her husband. And living with her sister, Jewell's family hasn't provided much balm for her grieving heart. Caroline knows something needs to changeâ€”but for now she's stuck sharing her sister's home, and enduring the anger and bitterness of her brother-in-law.
But change is brewing in St. Charles. A group of brave souls are preparing to head west on the Boones Lick Wagon Train, led by the mysterious and handsome Garrett Cowlishaw. Despite her dislike for Mr. Cowlishaw, who served as a Confederate soldier in the war that killed her husband, Caroline is tempted to join the wagon train and start fresh somewhere new.
When the lovely young widow makes her intentions to travel west known, Garrett Cowlishaw forbids herâ€”a single womanâ€”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?"
Series: Book #3 in the â€˜Quilted Hearts' series (book #1 & #2 scroll up) Has sequel series "Hearts Seeking Home", book #1 in that series Here!)
Spiritual Content- James 4:10 in the front; Caroline & Garret pray and go to church; Caroline feels like she's not as strong in her Faith as she was and goes to church and feels better.
"The Quilted Heart" is the first work by Mona Hodgson that I've had the privilege to read. It's a collection of three novellas, and overall I enjoyed reading them. I do have some mixed feelings, though. I'll start by telling you what I loved!
In these novellas, Hodgson introduces us to a community. I enjoyed getting to know her characters and seeing them interact with one another. I was especially fascinated on a personal note because the book is set in St. Charles, Missouri, just after the civil war. My own ancestors settled near there and would have been in the area at the time in which this book is set. It was fun to imagine them being a part of a community such as the one Hodgson describesâ€”in a way, she helped me get to know them.
I also appreciated the quilt theme. The women in these stories meet once a week for fellowship while quilting. One of the older women in the group mentors them as they discuss their life concerns. She teaches them that life is like a quilt made of fabric scraps. You take the scraps God gives you and assemble something beautiful. Sometimes God presents you with a scrap that doesn't seem to fitâ€”wrong shape, wrong color. You want to reject it, but you can't. Instead you must give it to Him and let Him show you what He has in mind. His plan for your quilt is perfect, but you must trust Him.
Each character in "The Quilted Heart" has an "odd fabric scrap" to work with, so we see this concept in action as characters choose how to handle the events and circumstances of their livesâ€”some in positive ways, some not so much.
My concerns with the book had to do with development. As I mentioned, "The Quilted Heart" is a series of three novellas. Each of these could easily have been a full-length novel, and I would have loved that! As it was, it seemed the author just didn't have enough time or space to develop everything naturally. Conflicts were resolved too quickly and easily. Circumstances that would have been huge challenges in real life were glossed over as if not really a big deal. Relationship that usually take months to develop became intense in weeks, days, even at first sight.
Further, the series doesn't end. The third novella is actually a prequel to the author's next series, though it isn't identified as such. Questions were raised, but never answered. To enjoy the new series, it will be important for readers to have the information from this one. Yet this one is incomplete. I don't mind series being interrelated. Yet, though connected, each series should be somewhat self-contained. I felt disappointed when I reached the end of The Quilted Heart.
I thank Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for sending a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. I am curious now to read some of Mona Hodgson's full-length works.
I really enjoyed this collection of three novellas
February 8, 2014
Grand Prairie, TX
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.
The Quilted Heart is 3 novellas in one book. All of which have in common Mrs. Elsa Brantenberg's quilting and Bible study. The women of the little St. Charles community meet here to try to understand the trials of their life after the ending of the Civil War. In the first, Dandelions on the Wind, Maren who is an immagrant to the country as a jilted mail order bride too poor to return back to her home she lives with Mrs. Brantenberg and cares for her little 4 year old granddaughter, Gabi. She has grown quite close to the family that is until Gabi's father returns from war Maren becomes uncertain of her future and gets a job in town so that she can earn money for her passage home--buuuuut she feels pulled toward Wooly, Gabi's father. What to do, what to do. Bending Toward the Sun continues the story but takes it up for the point of view of Emilie, another community woman from the quilting/Bible study. Emilie has been helping her father run the general store of St. Charles. While all of her friends are paring off with new male interests she has no real interests outside of helping her aging father run the store but Mr. Heinrich has bigger plans for his daughter, he wants Emilie to go to the University and further her education. Then just to spice things up she meets again a boy who has grown into a man during the war. He has an Irish background and her father is sure that an Irish man is not good enough for his daughter. The story continues on in Ripples Along the Shore Caroline has all during this book not heard from her husband. She is afraid of what to think--she doesn't think he could have been killed. She would have felt it wouldn't she have? Garrett Cowlishaw has come into town in order to lead a wagon train to the west and into California. Caroline instantly hates him because he was a Confederate soldier. Even though St. Charles is in Missouri which had gone with the south this group is decidedly antislavery and Caroline just can't stand the thought of this Confederate in her town--that is before he told her he would see if he could find out the where abouts of her husband and so she decides to trust him.
These stories are all good and I like that though the story is a continuation of each the plot is different in each. I have like all of Ms Hodgson's books and so of course I liked this one. I think that this is the best that she has done so far. This book would be good reading for girls and women of any age and I would encourage your reading this book.
I recieved this book from Waterbrook Press for this review