Friday, August 09, 2013

The Tattered Quilt

The Tattered Quilt

By Wanda E. Brunstetter

Published by Barbour Books, August 6th, 2013

I was delighted to see that there was a sequel to The Half-Stitched Amish Quilting Club, which I reviewed here last year, and which I have re-read several times since I reviewed it.

We revisit the home of  Emma Yoder, now happily married to Lamar Miller, as they embark upon teaching another group of students how to quilt. Several classes have been taught since we met the would-be quilters in the first book, and we get to catch up with first group by their connections - some obvious and some very much more complex - to the members of this latest group.

I think I might actually like the characters of the new students more than the originals, which surprised me:

Terry is a smoking, long-haired roofer who loves biking.
Carmen is a Latina investigative journalist with a hidden motive for learning to quilt.
Anna is an unhappy young Amish woman who resents the tight rein her parents hold.
Blaine is a salesman who has to learn to quilt as the agreed consequence of losing a wager with his boss. Cheryl initially simply wants to get her beloved grandmother's tattered quilt repaired for her as a birthday gift and ends up joining the class herself.
Selma is an older lady who is bossy, nosy and very unhappy, and is given  membership of the quilting class as a way to keep her occupied instead of prying into her neighbour's business.

They are a complex group of people who gradually polarise into friendships, and in one case, quite bitter rivalry over a female member of the class. Will Emma and Lamar manage to keep the group running harmoniously and teach all of them how to quilt and to care for each other as friends, as well as encouraging them to develop as individuals?

 Emma is a sweet and lovely character who seems a little less decisive and more measured in her comments and actions since her marriage, and Lamar's loving and willing acceptance of Emma's ministry to others through her quilting class underpins and underlines the fact that a good marriage does involve give and take and thought for one's spouse's wishes, needs and feelings. Marriage is a strong theme running through this story and some of the best advice seems to come from some of the most unlikely characters from the first story. The twist at the ending was unexpected and although almost all the loose ends were tied up,  I did feel that perhaps that part of the book could have been a little longer and explored some of the characters' feelings  more deeply.

It was a highly satisfying read nonetheless and I will definitely be buying a print copy to add to my collection of feel-good and heart-warming books which I read several times.

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