Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Promise in Pieces by Emily Wierenga

Wierenga has written a delightful story combining a historical setting with its contemporary culmination.

The framework for this novel is a road trip elderly Clara and her family are taking. The year is 2000 and they are driving to New Orleans with the goal of having a quilt accepted in war museum. As they travel, Clara tells the story of the quilt to one of her grandchildren. She recounts her own experience of leaving home against her pacifist parents' wishes and joining the Women's Army Corpse. After the war Clara delivers a note a dying soldier wrote to his wife, Mattie. Mattie gives Clara a quilt that was going to be used to warm their children. Perhaps Clara could use it for her own children some day. Then Clara returns to her parents, fearful of rejection. She finds her mother a mere shell of her former self and her pastor father a caregiver.

We follow Clara as she finds her new way in life, working as a midwife and using the quilt as a means of remembering the children born. The quilt will ultimately have an additional role in stimulating a project helping spouses and parents honoring those lost in the war.

In an interview, Wierenga says Clara is loosely based on her own experience. Feeling stifled by organized religion growing up, she left home for school returning later to care for her sick mother. She found her relationship with her father, and subsequently with God, restored.

Readers can take away from the novel the reassurance that God is never finished with us, no matter our age. Just as with Clara, in the twilight of life, there are still meaningful tasks ahead.

This is a well crafted story combining two eras of a woman's life. Clara's compulsive youth is contrasted with her fruitful adulthood. We experience the horrors of World War II as well as the restoration of relationships when Clara returns home. We also see how God works out His plan for our lives, even if it is through rough patches in the path. I really enjoyed the novel.

You can find out more about The Quilts of Love series here.

I am taking part in a blog tour of this book and you can read other reviews here.

Emily Wierenga is a former editor, ghostwriter, freelance writer and staff journalist, a monthly columnist for The Christian Courier, and the author of three former nonfiction books. She lives in Alberta, Canada. You can find out more about her and her books at http://www.emilywierenga.com.

Abingdon Press, 208 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Litfuse for the purpose of an independent and honest review.
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