A Stitch and a Prayer (Quilts of Love series #18) by Eva Gibson
“Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings. The Quilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family history. Featuring contemporary and historical romances as well as women’s fiction and the occasional light mystery, you will be drawn into the endearing characters of this series and be touched by their stories.”
A young married couple faces their first year together, their first challenges, expecting their first child. Their faith in God and their belief in one another were severely tested. Yet this sweet love story set in the Oregon woods in the post Westward Movement era is a tale of dreams, prayer, community, and family that is timeless.
Married in February, Florence and Will Nickerson set up housekeeping in their newly built log cabin. Florence suffered from the muscle and joint stiffness of a rheumatic illness that plagued her seasonally with fever and chills, joint and back pains. She walked with the help of a cane. Her fear was to never be the kind of wife Will deserved. Because of past events, she was also afraid Will would leave again, although he promised he would tell her if he needed to be away from her.
Will worked tirelessly on his farm throughout the summer. He had a suspicion he may be called away and he wanted Florence to be taken care of until his return. But he didn’t tell Florence any of this. Then one day she woke up to find Will had gone, leaving only a note behind with the promise to be back in time for their baby’s birth.
Florence wasn’t alone. She had extended family: her Aunt Amelia, Tilly and Faye, and friends and neighbors. Aunt Amelia moved into the cabin to help take care of Florence and share in the chores. The settlement’s doctor checked on her regularly. Florence decided she would take on an heirloom quilt project to keep her mind and heart mindful of God’s love and care for her. She decided to create her own version of the Tree of Life quilt, knowing the stitching would be difficult but may help ease the stiffness in her fingers. She wanted to have a large portion of the quilt finished to present to Will when he returned.
As the months wore on and Florence did not hear from Will, the project became a prayer quilt. Florence asked for help from a friend, and Tilly took the largest section to the quilting circle at their church. Women signed up to work on the quilt and to pray for Will’s safe return, for Florence’s health and the health of their baby.
I enjoyed reading this short novella. I was easily able to read it in a day. I couldn’t tell by reading the book if there was a story written that precedes it within the Quilts of Love series. There were many references of a back story how Will and Florence met, but I couldn’t find a specific title. As far as I know, the series titles are mostly written as stand alone stories.
The author has done a wonderful job creating a sense of community in the characters of this book. They lived in a settlement ravaged in the past by flood waters, so they were used to doing things together, helping each other. This was especially evident when people started helping Florence cut the pieces for her quilt, since cutting fabric was painful for the swollen joints of her hands.
One of my favorite parts of the story was when Tilly, Aunt Amelia and Florence celebrated the return of the pearl necklace after it had been lost. This is when the reader is given the story of Florence’s birth, the note her mother wrote to her, and the origin of the pearl necklace. Florence then presented the necklace for Tilly to wear for her wedding, proving to Tilly that they didn’t need to be related to be part of the family.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from NetGalley on behalf of Abingdon 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.”