The Quilted Heart is the first work by Mona Hodgson that I’ve had the privilege to read. It’s a collection of three novellas, and overall I enjoyed reading them. I do have some mixed feelings, though. I’ll start by telling you what I loved!
In these novellas, Hodgson introduces us to a community. I enjoyed getting to know her characters and seeing them interact with one another. I was especially fascinated on a personal note because the book is set in St. Charles, Missouri, just after the civil war. My own ancestors settled near there and would have been in the area at the time in which this book is set. It was fun to imagine them being a part of a community such as the one Hodgson describes—in a way, she helped me get to know them.
I also appreciated the quilt theme. The women in these stories meet once a week for fellowship while quilting. One of the older women in the group mentors them as they discuss their life concerns. She teaches them that life is like a quilt made of fabric scraps. You take the scraps God gives you and assemble something beautiful. Sometimes God presents you with a scrap that doesn’t seem to fit—wrong shape, wrong color. You want to reject it, but you can’t. Instead you must give it to Him and let Him show you what He has in mind. His plan for your quilt is perfect, but you must trust Him.
Each character in The Quilted Heart has an “odd fabric scrap” to work with, so we see this concept in action as characters choose how to handle the events and circumstances of their lives—some in positive ways, some not so much.
My concerns with the book had to do with development. As I mentioned, The Quilted Heart is a series of three novellas. Each of these could easily have been a full-length novel, and I would have loved that! As it was, it seemed the author just didn’t have enough time or space to develop everything naturally. Conflicts were resolved too quickly and easily. Circumstances that would have been huge challenges in real life were glossed over as if not really a big deal. Relationship that usually take months to develop became intense in weeks, days, even at first sight.
Further, the series doesn’t end. The third novella is actually a prequel to the author’s next series, though it isn’t identified as such. Questions were raised, but never answered. To enjoy the new series, it will be important for readers to have the information from this one. Yet this one is incomplete. I don’t mind series being interrelated. Yet, though connected, each series should be somewhat self-contained. I felt disappointed when I reached the end of The Quilted Heart.
I thank Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for sending a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review. I am curious now to read some of Mona Hodgson’s full-length works.