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After the end of World War II, Clara Kirkpatrick returns from the Women's Army Corp to deliver a dying soldier's last wishes: convey his love to his young widow, Mattie, with apologies for the missed life they had planned to share. Struggling with her own post-war trauma, Clara thinks she's not prepared to handle the grief of this broken family. Yet upon meeting Mattie, and receiving a baby quilt that will never cuddle the soldier's baby, Clara vows to honor the sacrifices that family made. Now a labor and delivery nurse in her rural hometown, Clara wraps each new babe in the gifted quilt and later stitches the child's name into the cloth. As each new child is welcomed by the quilt, Clara begins to wonder whatever happened to Mattie--and if her own life would ever experience the love of a newborn. Little does she know that she will have the opportunity to re-gift the special quilt--years later and carrying even greater significance than when it was first bestowed.
Minor-but-nagging setbacks continue to sour Grant and Audrey Whitman's initiation into the world of innkeeping, but larger challenges brew when an innocent flirtation leads to big trouble for the Whitmans' son-in-law, Jesse. Jesse Pennington's friendly, outgoing personality has always served him well, especially in a career that has earned him and his wife Corinne a very comfortable lifestyle. But Corinne and Jesse are both restless--and for similar reasons, if only they could share those with each other. Instead, too many business trips and trumped-up charges of harassment from a disgruntled coworker threaten their marriage and possibly put their three precious daughters at risk. With their life in disarray, God is tugging at their hearts to pursue other dreams. Can Corinne and Jesse pick up the pieces of what was once a wonderful life before it all crumbles beneath them?
Audrey Whitman's dreams are coming true. Now that their five kids are grown, she and her husband, Grant, are turning their beloved family home into a cozy bed and breakfast just a mile outside of Langhorne, Missouri. Opening weekend makes Audrey anxious, with family and friends coming from all over to help celebrate the occasion. But when Audrey's daughter, Landyn, arrives, the U-Haul she's pulling makes it clear she's not just here for a few days. Audrey immediately has questions. What happened in New York that sent Landyn running home? Where was Landyn's husband, Chase? And what else was her daughter not telling her? One thing was for sure, the Chicory Inn was off to a rocky start. Can Audrey still realize her dream and at the same time provide the comfort of home her daughter so desperately needs?
Priscilla Slater shows up at her 20-year reunion as a national celebrity. Her hair salon dynasty has skyrocketed, and to top it off, she has her own line of hair products. She has become a huge success with the "Ms. Prissy Big Hair" line that lets women with the thinnest of locks get the coveted "big hair" look so popular in the South. Her classmates have finally come to terms with adulthood, but they're handling it with the grace of a Southern woman wearing white after Labor Day. It's just downright awkward! Asserting the maturity that her classmates have often lacked, Priscilla holds her head high. But she can't ignore everything. When she catches her mother in the arms of her former high school principal, Priscilla can't get out of town fast enough. Eager to get back to her more comfortable life, Priscilla runs head on into an ultimatum: Tim tells her they're not getting any younger--as if she has to be reminded.
As Priscilla Slater's 15-year class reunion approaches, she decides to attend out of curiosity... and to flaunt her latest achievement--taking her business to a national level with the possibility of a TV show. As if getting ready for the event and putting up with the pranks of her former classmates isn't enough, Priscilla's hometown visit is further complicated by her parents' separation. With the once-solid sanctuary of her home broken at the foundation, there's only one thing Priscilla's parents can agree on: no matter what sort of accolades their daughter receives as a hair stylist, she's not living up to her potential. Eager to escape the painful reality of her childhood home, Priscilla bolts as soon as a call from New York brings good news: her offer to purchase one of the best salons in the country is likely to come through. But returning to New York means returning to Tim, Priscilla's best friend and business pal who has been impatiently suggesting their relationship should be more than a friendship. Despite her recent achievements, will Priscilla learn that success doesn't always result in popularity--or love?
Priscilla Slater goes to her ten-year high school reunion with equal parts dread and eager anticipation. Even though she's a successful owner of a chain of hair salons and no longer has the mousy brown hair, crooked teeth, and discount-store wardrobe, she still feels like the ugly duckling. But when she arrives at the reunion, Priscilla soon realizes that her old classmates aren't exactly as she remembers them. With humor and a just a touch of sassiness, Priscilla finds herself facing her own truth--and she may be surprised at what she discovers.
After years of looking for a place to belong, Paula Andrews finally finds her niche in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Her soap and candle shop flourishes, and her friendship with the Papadopoulos family gives her the love and support she never got from her own family. The only thing missing is a romance-or in the grand hopes of the Papadopoulos family, a proper marriage. Preferably with Nick, their favorite son, currently serving in the Air Force. Paula, however, has doubts. After all, he's been gone a long time and loves flying. Their lives have grown apart. Would he still feel anything for her? When Nick comes home on leave, sparks fly, and not just with Paula. Nick's father wants him home, helping with the family sponge-diving business. His mother wants him back in the family, back in church. Nick just wants Paula . . . and the Air Force. So who's going to give in first? And what will it mean for their love and future?
Emmalyn Ross never thought a person could feel this alone. Sustaining a marriage with a man who's not by her side is no easy task, especially since her husband currently resides behind impenetrable prison walls. His actions stole her heart's desire and gave their relationship a court-mandated five-year time-out. What didn't fall apart that night fell apart in the intervening years. Now, on a self-imposed exile to Madeline Island--one of the Apostle Islands of Lake Superior--Emmalyn starts rehabbing an old hunting cottage they'd purchased when life made sense. Restoring it may put a roof over her head, but a home needs more than a roof and walls, just as a marriage needs more than vows and a license. With only a handful of months before her husband is released, Emmalyn must figure out if and how they can ever be a couple again. And his silence isn't helping.
Jayne Dennagee has spent her life running from the "doctor death" legacy of her father. His Kervorkian-copycat methods of euthanasia ruined her childhood, covering it in shame. She won't let him steal her future, too. After changing her name to Becka, she assumes a new life and new job caring for the ailing mother of a handsome young businessman, Isaac Hughes. Becka struggles to sort out her feelings for her new boss just as her patient passes away under unusual circumstances. Suddenly, her past catches up with her and the unnerving details of her heritage make Becka look like a murder suspect. Worse, all sense of home and all hope for love vanish. Even if she could clear her name, a phone call from prison wraps a suffocating shroud around her heart. Her father is out--and he needs her help. Can Becka open her new life to the man who has prematurely taken so many? Or will her father's legacy make it impossible to open her heart at all?
Becky rocks a baby that rocked her world. Sixty years earlier, with her fiancé Drew in the middle of the Korean Conflict, Ivy throws herself into her work at a nursing home to keep her sanity and provide for the child Drew doesn't know is coming. Ivy cares for Anna, an elderly patient who taxes Ivy's listening ear until the day she suspects Anna's tall tales are not the ramblings of dementia. They're fragments of Anna's disjointed memories of a remarkable life. Finding a faint thread of hope she can't resist tugging, Ivy records Anna's memoir, scribbling furiously after hours to keep up with the woman's emotion-packed, grace-hemmed stories. Is Ivy's answer buried in Anna's past? Becky, Ivy, Anna--three women fight a tangled vine of deception in search of the blossoming simplicity of truth.
Finalist - 2011 Carol Award and 2010 RT Book Reviews Reviewers' Choice Award When Libby's husband Greg fails to return from a two-week canoe trip to the Canadian wilderness, the authorities soon write off his disappearance as an unhappy husband's escape from an empty marriage and unrewarding career. Their marriage might have survived if their daughter Lacey hadn't died . . . and if Greg hadn't been responsible. Libby enlists the aid of her wilderness savvy father-in-law and her faith-walking best friend to help her search for clues to her husband's disappearance . . . if for no other reason than to free her to move on. What the trio discovers in the search upends Libby's presumptions about her husband and rearranges her faith.
Passed over for promotion and dumped by her boyfriend, Nina O'Malley is further frustrated when her editor assigns her one of the "soft" stories she despises--covering a gala benefit supporting the AIDS Memorial Quilt. More determined than ever to prove she deserves a promotion to the NY office, Nina decides to write a series featuring a local quilting group raising money for AIDs research. At the event, she runs into her high school nemesis: Greg is a widower and the adoptive father of Jazarah, an HIV positive girl from Ethiopia. Unlike Nina, Greg has faith in a loving God, and he trusts in God's plan for his life. Greg and Nina grow closer, and as Nina interviews the quilt families, she begins to question the choices she has made and her lack of faith. Nina suddenly finds herself facing two possible dreams, two paths for her life.
Without warning, Elle Butler's 15-year-old secret-named Faith--shows up on her doorstep. Abandoned by her adoptive mother, Faith sets off a chain reaction that threatens to destroy the fragile balance of Elle's life with her husband, Langdon, who is campaigning for State Representative. Already damaged by the stress of his campaign, their marriage is fractured even more when Elle reveals that not only did she give up a baby for adoption, but that the child is Langdon's. Faith is the daughter he never knew he had. As the three battle the gauntlet of challenges brought on by their unplanned reunion, they carefully navigate the watchful eyes of an unforgiving political public. Trying to forge her way back to her husband, Elle runs into the God she thought had abandoned her. And when Faith's adoptive father returns, Elle and Langdon learn true selflessness in helping Faith finally find her way home.
An early morning call shatters Caryn Becker's world. Unable to cope with her brother's news that he is gay, Caryn rejects him and disappears into her own turbulent life as a young widow and single mom. But when David is attacked and nearly killed, Caryn is forced to make hard choices about family, faith, and her own future; choices that take her to the very edge of grace.
Leah Thornton's life, like her Southern Living home, has great curb appeal. But a paralyzing encounter with a can of frozen apple juice in the supermarket shatters the façade, forcing her to admit that all is not as it appears. When her best friend gets in Leah's face about her refusal to deal with her life and her drinking, Leah is forced to make a decision. Can this brand-conscious socialite walk away from the country club into 28 days of rehab? Can she leave what she has now to gain back what she needs? Joy, sadness, pain and a new strength converge, testing her marriage, her friendships and her faith.
Thea James has accepted an assignment as co-chairperson for Larkindale's first quilt show extravaganza. Juggling the new assignment with running her antique business, she's already feeling frayed when things start to unravel. Mary-Alice Wentworth, a much-loved town matriarch, respected quilt judge, and Thea's dear friend, is covertly conked on the head during the kick-off Quilt Show Soiree, throwing suspicion on her guests. It also appears that a valuable diamond brooch has been stolen during the attack. The family is furious. But is it because of their mugged mother or the missing diamonds? When a renowned textile expert goes MIA and the famous Wentworth heritage quilt disappears, Larkindale's reputation as a tourist haven is at risk. Thea attempts to piece the mystery together and save the town's investment in the quilt show before Mary-Alice is attacked again . . . with far worse results.
After a tornado rips through her town, store owner Abigail comes across a piece of fabric from a wedding dress among the devastation. Abigail is moved to start collecting other swatches of fabric she finds - her neighbor's kitchen curtains, a man's necktie, a dog's bed - which she stashes in shopping bags. As she pursues her seemingly absurd quest, horrible realities spark the question, "What kind of a God would allow such tragedy?" As she struggles to reconcile her right to happiness amidst the destruction, Abigail begins piecing together a patchwork quilt from the salvaged fabric in hopes it will bring some peace. But a new relationship with Justin, a contractor, may require too much of her fragile heart. Will her pain and questions of faith give way to the courage to love?
Honour Metcalf's quilting needlework is admired by a wealthy customer of the Boston Mantua-maker for whom she works. In need of increasing her earnings, she agrees to create an elaborate white work bridal quilt for the dowager's niece. A beautiful design emerges as she carefully stitches the intricate patterns and she begins to dream of fashioning a wedding quilt of her own. When Honour is falsely accused of thievery and finds herself in a perilous position, merchant tailor Joshua Sutton comes to her aid. As he risks his relationships, reputation, and livelihood to prove her innocence, the two discover a grander plan--a design for love.
Cordelia Grace watched Bernard Howard, the love of her young life, go off to fight for our country in WWII. And she has spent the last three years creating the Pine Cone quilt that will grace their marriage bed when he comes home. Each row of triangles signifies a layer in her life, sets of memories, hopes, dreams, and prayers for her future, enough spoken words to cover them forever. Her image of their "happy-ever-after" grows proportionally as the quilt expands. But is the man that returns from the war, the same man that she remembered? Are the dark shades of color that she had to use for the outside edges of the beloved quilt prophetic of her life to come? Can love and faith overcome all?
After the wedding of her cousin Naomi, knitter Anna, a widow, finds herself missing love and the closeness of a husband. She feels a special connection with her grandmother as they both struggle to go on with life. Is Anna on the verge of finding happiness when she realizes John Esh is interested in her? Love begins to warm Anna's heart, but will she be so afraid of losing someone that she gives up the second chance that God has provided?
Naomi knows she should be excited about her upcoming wedding but she remains unmoved. Not only are her feelings for her fiance lackluster but she believes he may see her more as a servant than a partner. And he's so controlling. Is it too late to back out of the marriage? While praying for God's guidance, Naomi takes a break from her duties as a quilter and travels with her grandmother to Pinecraft, Florida. Along the way Naomi finds herself becoming attracted to Nick, their Englisch driver and friend, and the two begin to fall in love. The journey soon becomes one in which Naomi explores her most secret dream for love. But can she veer off the "safe" path she'd envisioned for her life to marry Nick?
Mary Katherine is caught between the traditions of her faith and the pull of a different life. When Daniel, an Amish man living in Florida, arrives and shares her restlessness, Mary Katherine feels drawn to him and curious about the life he leads away from Lancaster County. But her longtime friend Jacob has been in love with her for years. He's discouraged that she's never viewed him as anything but a friend and despairs that he is about to lose Mary Katherine to this outsider. Will the conflicted Mary Katherine be lost to the English> world, or to Daniel, who might take her away to Florida? Or will she embrace her Amish faith and recognize Jacob as the man she should marry and build a life with?
Tess has taken some ribbing from her fellow officer, Logan, for her quilting hobby. He finds it hard to align the brisk professional officer he patrols with during the day with the one who quilts in her off-time. Besides, he's been trying to get to know her better and he'd like to be seeing her during those few nights a week she spends with her quilting guild. Then one afternoon Tess and Logan visit her aunt in the nursing home, and the woman acts agitated when Tess covers her with the story quilt. Aunt Susan is attempting to communicate a message to them about Tess's uncle. There's a story behind this quilt, they realize, one that may lead them to a serial killer. Will they have a chance to have a future together, or will the killer choose Tess for his next victim before they find him?
Ever since her step-mom brought her a snow globe of the New York City skyline, Annie has wanted to visit the beautiful, big city. Since it's nearing the time of Annie's rumschpringe--the time when Amish youth experience Englisch life to make a decision whether to live in that world or become baptized into the Amish faith--the family decides a visit is a good idea. They watch the Macy's Christmas parade, admire the decorated store windows, skate at the Rockefeller Center rink and-- Annie's favorite--get a glimpse of a writer's life while visiting the New York Times building. But others aren't as thrilled with Annie's lure to the Big Apple. Aaron has long been attracted to Annie and is sure he's in love. As he watches her engage in big city life, he grows concerned that she won't want to return to their quieter life. Will Annie follow Aaron back home? Or stay and pursue her dreams? Competing for her attention, Aaron sets out to show Annie that Christmas isn't about the glitz and glamour, but about family, love, and the birth of Jesus.
Jenny Bontrager is finally at a place of love and belonging with her husband, Matthew, and his children. Life seems golden with both her family and career as a writer. But everything Jenny now believes in is thrown into question with the discovery of a long-lost letter from her father. Her sense of peace and contentment destroyed by betrayal, Jenny struggles with her renewed faith--and the love of everyone around her.