A Stitch and a Prayer
By Eva Gibson
Quilts of Love
Abingdon Press, 2014
A quilt becomes a labor of love for a lonely wife mysteriously separated from her young husband.
After her fiancé returns from the Klondike gold rush in 1897, Florence Harms sets about building a new life in her new marriage---even though the lingering effects of illness have left her weak and vulnerable. She and her young husband, Will, work tirelessly to clear the land around their Northwest cabin, content with their modest life.
But then a stranger comes knocking and Florence suddenly senses a restlessness in Will's spirit that she had never seen before. When he leaves her with only a note that tells her he will return before their baby's birth, she is devastated, and the illness that stiffened her joints returns. Counting the days until Will walks back through her door, Florence busies herself with a Tree of Life quilt displaying a map of the farm they call home. Doubts claw at her heart as Florence struggles to believe Will's promise to return to her. Will her labor of love-and faith in God---sustain her as she waits to see her beloved once again?
I love the imagery conveyed in these opening lines of A Stitch and a Prayer:
Whenever the wind blew hard and the rain came down sideways lashing the windowpane, Florence Harms heard her dancing song. As the wind increased, so did the song. It sang of distant mountain peaks and torturous trails winding through giant boulders. It sang of sweat and blood and always it climbed upwards, trembling from the heights, beckoning, calling, its strange haunting melody set her feet to dancing.
Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope and faith, tradition and new beginnings - and the Quilts of Love series focuses on the women who quilted all of these things into their family histories. In that sense, A Stitch and a Prayer by Eva Gibson fits beautifully among these stories. And there is much in this story that readers will enjoy. Set in the Oregon wilderness near the Williamette River during 1899, Eva creates a great feel for the setting and the area's rugged beauty.
I was drawn to Florence, who has a physical disability affecting her joints, and could identify with her emotions on a day-to-day basis, especially her joy vs. concerns when it came to being a wife. That Will loved her unconditionally and wanted to spend the rest of his life with her was very moving.
I loved the way Florence passed the time while Will was absent by working on a quilt, praying for Will's safe return with each stitch. And the way she relied on Scripture, finding great comfort in it, is an important message for us all. One of the main themes is trust, as Florence shares this thought: "I think it takes a lifetime to really learn what it means to trust God." That is certainly something to which I can relate.
In spite of several strengths and sections that I enjoyed, the storytelling just didn't grab and hold my attention throughout. But I think there are many fans of historical romance with a quilting theme who will enjoy this story.
A Stitch and a Prayer can be purchased online at CBD, DeeperShopping, B&N, and Amazon.
Eva Gibson is the author of twenty books, including The Gift of Forgiveness and The Three Marys. She currently teaches "writing your life story" classes for Portland Community College and is an active member of Oregon Christian Writers. She has lived most of her life on the family farm in Wilsonville, Oregon, which is the setting for A Stitch and a Prayer.
Meet Eva online at evagibson.blogspot.com. You can also learn more on the Litfuse blog tour page.
Thank you to Litfuse for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.