Saturday, August 30, 2014

BOOK REVIEW: The Healing Quilt

By:  Wanda E. Brunstetter
Published 2014
Shiloh Run Press

The Healing Quilt tells several stories at once.  The main characters are Emma and Lamar, an older Amish couple who are spending the winter in Florida because of Lamar's arthritis.  Emma is out of sorts, missing her friends and her pastimes, but Lamar seems to be thriving.  When Emma and Lamar begin thinking about what they can do to help Emma, they decide to try teaching a quilting class.  The classes they had back in their home state of Indiana went over well, and Lamar thinks the same thing will happen in Florida.

Several people sign up for the class.  One is Jennifer who is a young expectant mother whose husband has lost his job as a cook.  They are struggling financially and don't have the extra money for the class.  However Jennifer receives a note telling her the class has been paid for and she happily attends. 

BJ is a retired school teacher from Chicago who has been told he has terminal cancer.  He has daughters who helped him fight cancer the last go around, but he does not want to tell them this time.  He feels it is best for all that the girls don't know.  He has come to Florida to make fulfill some final goals, one of which is painting a seascape.  When he learns of the quilting class, he decides to give it a try and intends to give his completed quilt to his granddaughter so she will have something to remember him by.

Kim is a waitress who is afraid of losing her new job.  She is fresh from a breakup with a boyfriend, having followed him to Florida thinking he was the one. 

Mike takes the quilting class by default when his wife Phyllis, who took one class, is called out of state to take care of her sister.  Since Mike's boat, which is his livelihood, is having repairs done, he takes Phyllis' place, with Phyllis intending Mike to teach her how to quilt when she returns home in a few weeks.

Erika is a teenage girl who lost her mother, then lost the use of her legs in a diving accident.  She is reclusive, and in a desperate attempt to get her interested in something other than herself, her father signs her up for the quilting class.

Noreen is a retired widow who wants something new in her life.  She has tried a sporty car, thinking when she has gotten her fill of the wind in her hair she will settle for another.  She is concerned with the welfare of former students and plans to attend an upcoming reunion of her students.  She is not actively looking for male companionship, but if someone comes along, she just might be interested.  When she disastrously tries to highlight her hair, she ends up with a laughable color and feels she has to hide under scarves, desperately trying to wash out the horrid color.

All of these people come to Emma and Lamar with problems and needs that they are not willing to share.  Some come to the class hoping to learn something new.  Others feel they have been forced into the class and act accordingly.  Emma and Lamar grow frustrated, seeing the needs of their students but not knowing how to help them. Lamar continuously reminds Emma that if God wants them to help, He will show them the way.

During the course of the six weeks past students of Emma and Lamar show up, and changes are made in the lives of the students.  Changes that are not always easy, and are sometimes quite painful.  And some changes tat are quite surprising.

For me, the book started out very slowly.  It was frustrating jumping from character to character with each new chapter.  Some parts seemed disjointed and dry.  However, I finished the book and found it okay.  Not as good as some of Ms. Brunstetter's other books. 

This book is one of a series.  If you wish to learn more about Ms. Brunstetter, check out her website

In order to comply with new Federal Trade Commission regulations, please note that this book was provided compliments of Handlebar Hub's book review program.

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