By Judith Miller, Nancy Moser, and Stephanie Grace Whitson
"A Patchwork Christmas" is an enjoyable collection of three Christmas stories from Victorian-era America, with an added bonus of sewing patterns and cookie recipes included at the end of each story. Sewing patterns are from various unique pieces mentioned in the stories: homestead rose mittens, four patch doll quilt, and crazy quilt ornaments.
"Seems Like Love" by Judith Miller (Amana, Iowa, 1890) - Recently jilted by her fiancé and fearing more hurt, Karla Stuke seals her heart from romantic love - until Frank Lehner, a close childhood friend, returns to town and attempts to change her mind.
"A Patchwork Love" by Stephanie Grace Whitson (West of Omaha, Nebraska, 1875) - Having lost her home after her husband's death, Jane McClure is headed west to marry a prosperous businessman in order to better provide for her daughter, when a snowstorm forces the train to a sudden stop. Peter Gruber, a disfigured war veteran, and his mother offer shelter and a sweet love story follows.
"The Bridal Quilt" by Nancy Moser (New York City, November 1889) - Ada Wallace, the toast of New York society, is humiliated when her "almost" fiancé, Samuel Alcott, grandson of a wealthy banker, renounces his wealth to work in an orphanage in New York's Five Points section. One year later, Samuel is brought into the Wallace home to recover from an accident inadvertently caused by Ada.
I have read books by these popular authors before and felt these stories were true to their style. They were interesting, well written, and I didn't want to stop reading. I don't want to choose a favorite, but I had the strongest connection to Stephanie Grace Whitson's story, "A Patchwork Love." I felt like I was physically there, on the drafty train and later in Peter's sod house. And I really cared about the characters.
An interwoven theme in this collection is looking beyond the outside appearance and seeing beauty the way God sees it. One of the characters, in talking about those who see only with eyes, makes this profound statement: "What is seen hides truth." Karla felt that she lacked physical beauty and would never marry, while Peter suffered rejection due to his facial disfigurement.
In Nancy Moser's book, Samuel decided Ada's willingness to sacrifice her lifestyle to join him in ministry was insincere. In Samuel's words, "The foundling home was no place for Ada. . . . Who was he to say such a thing? God had a purpose in mind for Ada, just as He'd led Samuel to his destiny." Each story brought this spiritual message out through the beauty of storytelling.
My only criticism, and it's not really a criticism, is that "A Patchwork Love" ended rather suddenly. I wish there had been a few more pages or an epilogue.
I thoroughly enjoyed "A Patchwork Christmas" and recommend it to all who enjoy Christian romance.
A special thank you to thank NetGalley and Barbour Publishing for providing a copy of this book. I gave an honest review based on my opinion.