About this book: It is 1864 and Eliza Spooner’s husband Will has joined the Kansas volunteers to fight the Confederates, leaving her with their two children and in charge of their home and land. Eliza is confident that he will return home, and she helps pass the months making a special quilt to keep Will warm during his winter in the army. When the unthinkable happens, she takes in a woman and child who have been left alone and made vulnerable by the war, and she finds solace and camaraderie amongst the women of her quilting group. And when she is asked to help hide an escaped slave, she must decide for herself what is right, and who can she can count on to help her.
About the author: Sandra Dallas is the author of thirteen novels. She is a former Denver bureau chief for Business Week magazine and lives in Denver, Colorado.
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: PG. Some mild cussing, appropriate to story.
How I’d judge this cover: Thumbs up. Nicely captures the feel and content of this novel.
Reminds me of… Jan Karon’s Mitford series; Jennifer Chiaverini’s Elm Creek Quilts novels
Will especially appeal to… quilters, of course. Would makes a lovely Christmas gift.
Would I read another by this author? Absolutely. I enjoyed her graceful prose and the gentle way she blends themes of faith with fiction.
This story matters because it is about so many things that are important in life: family, faith, sacrifice, friendship and healing.
My take: Every once in a blue moon I’m in the mood for a homey, old-fashioned prairie story. You too? If so, you won’t find better than this one.
I’ve not had the pleasure of reading a novel by Sandra Dallas before (please allow me a moment to crawl out of my cave), but I was immediately hooked by her graceful, straightforward prose and apparent ease at crafting a story. I liked that she doesn’t mess with dialect–as many prairie novelists do–which makes hers a smooth, easy read. Really, you could curl up with this one in a weekend and finish it easily. I also liked that she keeps the plot moving right along. When something happens, it happens, without a great deal of wind-up to get there. I also really, really liked the way the characters are depicted as living their Christian faith. They share their beliefs as well as their struggles without fanfare. They are people of faith (or not) and so their faith simply is–nothing preachy or oppressive about it.
Anticipating a simple story, I was surprised, pleasantly, by this novel’s twists and turns, especially in the last third of the story. Kept me hooked, ratcheting my interest as the story progressed.
Altogether a sweet, wholesome tale–perfect to cozy up with during a cool, autumn weekend.
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.
After words: Part of the story behind this story is that this year marks the 20th anniversary of Dallas’s The Persian Pickle Club, about “a group of women in 1930s Kansas who form a quilting group and share not only their sewing skills, but lively town gossip and loyal friendships.” A Quilt for Christmas is the author’s response to her fans, who clamored for another quilting story. This one is set in the Civil War era and features characters who are the grandmothers of the Persian Pickle Club ladies.
Have you read The Persian Pickle Club? Apparently it’s being made into a movie. Having enjoyed A Quilt for Christmas, I’d like to see it but feel I should read the book first. How do you feel about seeing a movie made from a book before you read the book itself?