The Quilted Heart: Three Novellas in One by Mona Hodgson
Mona Hodgson writes a heartwarming tale where community means giving each other a helping hand when needed. The setting for this book is a small town in Missouri just a few months after the end of the Civil War. Nearly every family in the area was touched by the war in some way. Some had lost family members; some had family return either wounded physically or emotionally.
Maren Jensen had been a mail order bride, traveling from Denmark, who had been rejected once she arrived in America. Her eyesight was failing. The kindly Dry Goods and Grocery store owner directed her to Mrs. Brantenberg, a widow who owned a farm and was rearing a granddaughter on her own after the death of her daughter. Maren, Gabi, and the widow settled down into a contented little family unit until one day Gabi’s father returned from the war. The first novella of The Quilted Heart trilogy is Maren and Wooly’s story.
Corporal Quaid McFarland was one of the fortunate sons who returned whole. He was happy to be back, working in the family’s business, hauling freight. He had served in the same regiment as Rutherford Wainwright, known to his friends as Wooly. On the harvest day at the Brantenberg’s farm, Wooly introduced Quaid to his fiance, Maren. Much of the local community had turned out to help with the widow’s harvest including a former schoolmate whom Quaid remembered–Emilie Heinrich. Book two of the Quilted Heart trilogy is Quaid and Emilie’s story.
These novellas weave in the life stories of other members of the quilting group which met every Thursday, hosted by Mrs. Brantenberg in her home. The club was the social event for women in the area to get together and share news and gossip. It also doubled as a Bible study where hearts that were raw and bruised found solace in the widow’s kindness and spiritual wisdom. The members supported and prayed for one another.
Recently, Caroline Milburn had started coming to Mrs. Brantenberg’s quilting circle. She shared with the group that she hadn’t heard news of her husband serving in the army in several months. The strain of not knowing whether he had perished or was alive was telling on her. Each week they encouraged and prayed for her. But bitterness sharpened her tongue. She would often embarrass her sister by her curt mannerisms. Another friend of Mrs. Brantenberg’s family, Gerrit Cowlishaw, knew the right people to contact, and he obtained news of her husband. Caroline was a widow. This third novella of The Quilted Heart Trilogy is Caroline’s story.
Besides being a collection of charming romances, this book showcases the author’s skill in creating a feeling of community and closeness. I found it easy to care for its members. The relationships were warm, realistic, and sometimes poignant. I could easily imagine them as friends. If you enjoy a cozy read where friendship is a central theme, then I believe you will enjoy this book.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from Blogging for Books on behalf of Waterbrook Press. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed 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.”