Monday, August 29, 2011

Quilt of Joy

By Mary Tatem

Book Review

Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group
ISBN 978-0-8007-3364-3 $12.99

Reviewed By Linda Goodman

I met Mary Tatem at the Galax Book Festival in June 2011. She had brought forty books with her and had sold out completely within a day. That was quite a feat. Most of the authors there sold between five and ten books the entire weekend. Clearly, the public loves Mary’s Quilt series.

Quilt of Joy, Mary’s latest book, follows the same pattern as her earlier books. Each of its twelve sections spotlights a particular quilt pattern, followed by four stories that involve that pattern in some way. The first section, for instance, begins with a black and white illustration of a Pickle Dish Quilt, a pattern inspired by the cut glass dishes popular between the late eighteenth and early twentieth centuries.

The illustration of the Pickle Dish Quilt is followed the sweet story Sleeping Stitches, in which a man shows his true affection for his dog under cover of his pickle dish quilt, where he is unaware that his wife is listening; the nostalgic Quilted Protection, about Amanda, who wraps her most precious belongings in a pickle dish quilt before leaving home for good with her new husband; the heart-wrenching Ruined Quilt, which finds two girls becoming friends as they share the heartbreak of absent fathers;and Prisoner Stitches,set just after the Civil War, about a stubborn Confederate who refuses to pledge her allegiance to the Federal Government.

Each story is followed by a related Bible Verse, Mary’s thoughts on how the verse and story mesh, and a short prayer.

The stories come from various sources: friends, quilt festivals, quilting guilds, and seeds found in historical stories buried in quilt instruction books.

“When I see a quilt, I feel the tug of the past,” Mary states in the book’s introduction. “Before I begin a quilt I look through my cloth scraps, browse in a fabric store, and leaf through pattern books to plan and dream about the outcome I want to achieve. I find encouragement in knowing that when God created me, he planned me with even more care and foresight.”

This book will be treasured by those who long for comfort in trying times. I gave a copy to a friend whose husband had recently been diagnosed with a serious illness, and she said that reading its stories gives her hope and peace. I felt those same emotions as I read them. This is a good book to have on hand when life gets to be too much with us. Its stories make the reader believe that, in spite of life’s turbulence, everything will be okay.

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