Note: I wrote a single review after each novel, and then one whole review of all of them put together. :)
Title: The Quilted Heart; ‘Dandelions on the Wind’, ‘Bending Towards the Sun’, and ‘Ripples Along the Shore’
Author: Mona Hodgson
Number of Pages:354
Source: Blogging For Books
My Rating (0-5): 4.5 Stars
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?
“Dandelions on the Wind”, The First Novella.
This novella was an easy, short read. The main character, Maren, was a well-built-up character and very likable.
Some parts of this book felt a bit rushed, but I did kind of expect that in a novella.
The story-line was good, if not a little bit predictable.
One of my main complaints in any romance novels set back in previous time periods, however, is the kissing. In most of the settings and times, kissing before marriage would have been a very big ‘no-no’. So that did bug me a little at the end. But otherwise this novella was good.
God was in the beginning, which was encouraging, but He seemed semi-forgotten in the middle, and then reincorporated at the end. The book was more Christian-set than some novels I’ve read, but I still felt like it could have included much more.
“Bending Towards the Sun”, The Second Novella.
So far, this novella is my favourite of this collection. Of course, I have not read the third one yet, but of the glimpses given into each of the main characters, I think that I found Emilie’s character the most relate-able for me, personally.
I wish this story could have been longer – I would have greatly enjoyed spending more times between the pages of this one! It was a bit rushed at the end, and ended a bit too abruptly, in my opinion. The ending was good, don’t get me wrong, it was just sudden.
But I really did enjoy the story line and characters. And the amount of faith, too, though some of it was a bit quick or rushed as well. However, the lessons learned are very good. Emilie goes through her own trials and conflicts, which makes her easier to identify with.
There was more “complication” in this romance, which I actually appreciated, because it was on the more realistic side.
There is a part in “Bending Towards the Sun”, where Mrs. Brantenberg talks about how our lives include all sorts of ‘scraps’ that make a whole quilt, and that part really stuck with me. It is a cool idea/thought. :)
Ripples Along the Shore”, the Third (and final) Novella.
At the beginning of this one, I was a little confused as to the setting, but that soon made itself clear, as it explained where it picks up from the previous setting.
That aside, I did like this story, though maybe not as much as the second novella.
Caroline was a “real” character, though – she had ways that just made her ‘alive’.
Even though this was the longest novella of the three, I felt like it left out a lot. You weren’t really sure about some things by the end of it.
The ending wasn’t quite what I was expecting, but it was still good. It leaves plenty of room for exploring, though. I’m now curious to find out more…or finish it in my mind. :)
What I thought as a whole:
All three of these Novella’s were delightful, but definitely romance-y. And a slight bit on the predictable, as romances usually go.
But I did enjoy reading them, especially the middle one. That one was my favourite. :)
Each novella was well-written and kept your attention, which is a definite plus in its favor.
This book is one that is easy to read for multiple chapters at a time. It’s not one that drags on and on and you feel like it’s never going to end. :D
however, I will make note that I did not like the cover of this book. The ladies pictured were no fitted to the time-period – the models looked like todays ladies with maybe older fashioned clothing.
Other than that, I enjoyed these novellas quite a bit. :)
I received this book free from Blogging For Books, in return for my honest and unbiased review.