Saturday, December 22, 2012

Review of "A Patchwork Christmas Collection"

Rating: 3.5 Stars

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Summary: Join three of today’s bestselling inspirational fiction authors in a collection of Christmas stories from Victorian-era America that are full of second-chance romances. Jilted by her fiancé, Karla packs away her wedding quilts and her plans for marriage. Widow Jane travels to marry a prosperous man she barely knows in order to give her daughter a better life—then is stranded in a winter storm. Ada, a wealthy ingénue, inadvertently causes grave injury to a poor man she once considered quite a catch. Each must search her heart, change her plans. . .and patch together a tender, unexpected life filled with love. 
~ Barbour Publishing  

Review: Christmas is in the air with this collection of holiday-themed novels, accompanied by quilt-making and baking.  Judith Miller, Nancy Moser, and Stephanie Grace Whitson bring three unique stories to readers in "A Patchwork Christmas." Despite their differences, all three novellas felt melancholy until concluding with a happy ending. It is often difficult for me to develop connections to the characters in short stories, which proved to be the case in this collection. 

"The Bridal Quilt" by Nancy Moser is my favorite among the three. It contains its share of loss and heartbreak, but the plot has dimension and the characters feel more fully developed. The messages of unselfish sacrifice and love for even the lowest on the social ladder are prominent in Moser's story, and especially relevant at Christmas. 

Judith Miller takes readers to the Amana Colonies in "Seams of Love."  I enjoyed revisiting the colonies in Miller's novella, after reading about them in one of her novels.  Karla Stuke, though not an unlikable main character, suffers from insecurity and a broken heart.  While such struggles are relatable, she dwells on them throughout the story.  As a result, the overall tone of the novel becomes a bit heavy.  

"A Patchwork Love" by Stephanie Grace Whitson is a story of hope. Jane and her daughter, Molly, find themselves sick, injured, and stranded when their train hits a wall of snow.  A local farmer, Peter, offers them shelter in the home he shares with his mother. Peter is scarred visibly and emotionally from his time in the Civil War. The beginning of the novel centers around Molly overcoming her illness while Jane and Peter deal with their injuries. Peter's mother adds some charm to the novella, and the tone lightens as Molly improves.  Love blossoms in the snug little home as once strangers become an inseparable family. 

Although "A Patchwork Christmas" was not my ideal holiday collection, the stories convey good year-round messages.  

I received a complimentary e-copy of this novel from NetGalley, courtesy of Barbour Publishing.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above 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.”

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