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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Quilted Heart (Three Novellas in One) Review!!!

The Quilted Heart (3 in 1) by Mona Hodgson

Book Description:
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?

My Opinion:
A Lovely Collection.  I had wanted to read these stories when they first came out separately, but never got the opportunity.  So I was very happy when I got the chance to read them all in one!  The first story Dandelions on the Wind is great!  I love the characters especially the three main ladies Mrs. Brantenberg, Maren, and Gabi!  The whole concept of this first story is a great one as these people try to pick up their lives and move on after the Civil War.  Showing how God provides in ways we never expect, and that sometimes His ways aren't always our plans at all but they are far better! :)  I was SO glad after reading the end of this novella that I didn't have to wait for the next one!  Funny, sweet, and lovable.
The Next Novella Bending Toward the Sun was a little slower paced for me, but when I got into it I was deeply rooted!  I LOVE the end of this one and the whole set up.  Bending Toward the Sun touched on prejudices and letting go.  I love the spunk Mona gives to each of her characters especially Emilie as she grows up and steps out!  A very sweet read!
And Finally Ripples Along the Shore!  Caroline's story was highly entertaining.  Her courage and faith grows throughout Ripples Along the Shore which turns out to be just a taste of her tale.  Hard decisions are made in this one, secrets are hinted at but not reveled, and good byes are on the horizon throughout.  At the attempt to not give too much away; as the end came the good byes are bitter sweet and lovely.  This is where I was torn up!  Caroline and these other character's stories are cut short as they prepare to move on with their lives.  The ending is so sweet with good byes and thanks to God, but there are untied ends, unfinished stories, and unanswered questions!  I definitely need more!  After reading the Authors Note I found that these characters stories go on to the first in Mona's Hearts Seeking Homes series Prairie Song!  I really enjoyed reading the Author's Note as Mona goes into the stories behind the stories in a way.
Overall I love how these books show the different lives and changes after the Civil War and enjoy the whole quilting circle.  All of these stories show God's provision and great love for His children!  And I absolutely Love how Mona plants the title within the book so it drives home why she titled them thus; as well as the way she weaves scripture throughout.  The thing that gets me is I NEED MORE!!!! LOL!!!  I don't like where it ended and I REALLY want Prairie Song to see where Mona takes these characters!!!  I highly recommend these Novellas, just maybe after you've already got Prairie Song in your hot little hand and can immediately go on!  LOL!

Songs that were mentioned in the book and/or that fit: "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God" by Chris Rice, "Sweet Hour of Prayer" by Yoshie Ueno, "Battle Hymn of the Republic" by Nashville Harmonicas Band, "Alas, and Did My Savior Bleed" by Sovereign Grace Music, 
"Love Divine, All Loves Excelling" is also mentioned in this book but I couldn't find a clear enough MP3 on Amazon so I didn't link it up.  Songs may change or be added in the future and if I find a version that's clear and I like I'll add links.

Psalm 119:105, Proverbs 4:23, James 4:10, Ecclesiastes 3:1, Psalm 119:103, Proverbs 3:5-6, 1 Samuel 16:7, James 4:6


*I requested and received this book from Blogging for Books for the purpose of review it.  This in no way affected my opinion and the above are my true thoughts and feelings about these Novellas. ~ASC

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