Christmas is in the air with this collection of holiday-themed novels, accompanied by quilt-making and baking. Judith Miller, Nancy Moser, and Stephanie Grace Whitson bring three unique stories to readers in "A Patchwork Christmas." Despite their differences, all three novellas felt melancholy until concluding with a happy ending. It is often difficult for me to develop connections to the characters in short stories, which proved to be the case in this collection.
"The Bridal Quilt" by Nancy Moser is my favorite among the three. It contains its share of loss and heartbreak, but the plot has dimension and the characters feel more fully developed. The messages of unselfish sacrifice and love for even the lowest on the social ladder are prominent in Moser's story, and especially relevant at Christmas.
Judith Miller takes readers to the Amana Colonies in "Seams of Love." I enjoyed revisiting the colonies in Miller's novella, after reading about them in one of her novels. Karla Stuke, though not an unlikable main character, suffers from insecurity and a broken heart. While such struggles are relatable, she dwells on them throughout the story. As a result, the overall tone of the novel becomes a bit heavy.
"A Patchwork Love" by Stephanie Grace Whitson is a story of hope. Jane and her daughter, Molly, find themselves sick, injured, and stranded when their train hits a wall of snow. A local farmer, Peter, offers them shelter in the home he shares with his mother. Peter is scarred visibly and emotionally from his time in the Civil War. The beginning of the novel centers around Molly overcoming her illness while Jane and Peter deal with their injuries. Peter's mother adds some charm to the novella, and the tone lightens as Molly improves. Love blossoms in the snug little home as once strangers become an inseparable family.
Although "A Patchwork Christmas" was not my ideal holiday collection, the stories convey good year-round messages.
I received a complimentary e-copy of this novel from NetGalley, courtesy of Barbour Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above 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."
Sometimes it can be hard to find the time to read a really great Christmas story because so often we are too busy that reading a large novel be difficult. In A Patchwork Christmas by Judith Miller, Nancy Moser, and Stephanie Grace Whitson, the reader will be delighted to find three beautifully written short stories that give the reader the impression of reading a full length novel. Each is different and based in the historical late 1800's. This book is perfect for those of you wanting a taste of truly something amazing and are limited on time to complete a full length novel. Each of these three Christmas romances offer the reader something beautiful to keep the warmth of finding true love at the forefront of the holiday.
Seems Like Love by Judith Miller takes us back to Amana, Iowa to a small Amish town where we find Karla Stuke is working with her family running the town's hotel. Little did she expect to find her childhood friend, Frank Lehner to show up as a guest while working as an apothecary in training before moving to his own shoppe. Karla has found that hiding away working at the hotel keeps her from finding true love, since her own opinion of herself is quite low, considering her finace' left her for another woman. Thinking it's all based on her looks, she doesn't think that every a spark with her old friend can be ignited into anything more, but could Karla be wrong? This one is truly a fun and hopeful romance to enjoy.
A Patchwork Love by Stephanie Grace Whitson takes us back in time to find love between a war-veteran Peter Gruber who becomes a savior and hero at some point when a train finds itself stuck in the snow. Peter and his mother offer a warm food until the train can continue and he finds a young girl, Molly is ill. Since his mother is familiar with healing they offer Molly and her mom, Jane shelter until the train can move again. Jane has also injured herself in a fall and between them both, need more than just physical healing. Like Karla from the first story, Peter feels that since he has been disfigured from his service in the war that his hopes of every finding love is lost forever. Will Jane seem something more in Peter that just his external scars?
Finally in The Bridal Quilt by Nancy Moser, you find the classic love story of two people, Ada and Samuel that should be together but everything in their lives is keeping them apart. While they are dating, they are not yet engaged , and every single opportunity that presents itself, seems to turn out quite differently than what either of them was planning. In one case, she was hoping he was coming to ask her to marry him and finds out he only wants her help with finding gifts for the orphans instead. Even though his family wants Samuel to give up his charity efforts, Ada is all too willing to marry him, but it soon seems Samuel may never be ready to propose until another man appears in Ada's life. Will Samuel soon realize that the gift he's been searching for he been in front of him the whole time?
I received A Patchwork Christmas by these lovely, talent authors compliments of Barbour Publishers and Net Galley for my honest opinion. In each of these stories there is a profound message of hope and acceptance to be found, no matter what the circumstances may be. Included in all of them are discussion questions and wonderful recipes that would be an added bonus to any book club. There are also some quilting patterns for Christmas Ornaments as well for those looking for something a bit more than just a Christmas romance book!!! I rate this one a 4 out of 5 stars and think this is the perfect book for those looking for great short stories with a Christmas theme.
~ Karla is a young woman living in one of the Amana colonies, dumped by her one-time fiance, and convinced that she is too plain to ever wed. Karla faithfully sews her younger sister's wedding quilt, in preparation for the coming nuptials. When suddenly an old friend from the past comes back into her life. Maybe it's not too late for Karla after all...
This one was probably my favorite out of all the stories. I have never read anything about the Amana colonies before, so I found it really fascinating, and I learned tons.
I liked the characters, and I thought that the interaction between Frank and Karla was great, and I really wanted them to be together! Karla and Frank had great interaction. A sweet Christmas tale of love and life in the Amana colonies.
A Patchwork Love by Stephanie Grace Whitson
~ Jane and her daughter Molly are on their way to Denver to meet Mr. Higgins for the first time. A man with whom Jane could one day have a future. But when the train gets stuck and Molly falls ill, Mutti and her son Peter offer their assistance. Will this sudden detour become a meeting that could have only been predestination?
This story started out slow for me, because Jane and Molly were on the train for quite a long time, and then it took awhile for Jane and Peter to finally meet. So in my personal opinion I thought that the story could have been shorter so that things could move faster. But after Peter and Jane met, I thought things moved much quicker, and I enjoyed the story.
I really liked the character of Mutti, who was Peter's mother, she was smart and good humored. And I really liked Peter's horse, also named Molly :) A good man has got to have a good horse!
I liked how this story had little twists that came unexpectedly, because I would try to figure out where it was going and something would come up, which was refreshing. A sweet prairie tale.
The Bridal Quilt by Nancy Moser
~ Ada and Samuel are a courting couple from upper class New York. One night Samuel goes slumming with his friends and he comes upon a young orphan on the street being coerced into joining a gang of street bandits. From that one experience Samuel turns his life around and follows the his calling to work to support the orphan home. He also breaks it off with Ada.
A year later will Ada and Samuel have a second chance at love?
This story was hard for me to read because I had a hard time understanding why the characters made the choices that they did, and the setting just wasn't my style. But that aside, I liked how Samuel was so moved by his experience and was willing to give all to help others.
I guess my main problem was that I just didn't like how manipulative Ada's mother was, it was a nightmare! I liked how Samuel grew spiritally and Ada grew to have a more personal faith. A tale of full of angst.
A lovely collection of historical fiction set against a variety of surroundings. I think that that there is a story in here for everyone!
I received this ebook from the publisher in return for an honest review. Thanks!