Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Quilt for Christmas - Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56

A Quilt for Christmas is the story of a woman whose husband enlists in the Union army to fight in the Civil War, leaving her to cope with running the family farm. It's also about friendship, courage, hardship, forgiveness, and family (and quilting, too). This is an engrossing 5-star book that paints a vivid picture of rural Kansas in the 1860s and shows the effects of war on the wives and children back home.
     Seems like I've been reading books lately that have Christmas in their titles. This one was a birthday gift from Sandra Allen, my friend (and I.O.U. Sex co-author). She knows I enjoy quilting and reading a good story, and she sent along some beautiful fabric (for quilting) too. 
Thank you, Sandra!

Book Beginning:
Prologue - November 20, 1864
     It was a fine fall evening. The wind carried the smell of rotting apples and wood smoke and a hint of frost that would likely come after midnight. The setting sun made the stubble in the fields shimmer like flakes of mica and sent rays of light through the clouds as if the Almighty Himself were casting down the fiery shafts. Far off were the night sounds of cattle lowing, and nearer, of chickens clucking. The wind swirled papery dead leaves across the porch.

Friday 56 (from Page 56):
Eliza put her hands over her eyes, then shook her head. Will wasn't dead, she thought. He couldn't be.

Genre: Women's Fiction / Historical Fiction
Length: 242 Pages (hardback)
Amazon Link: A Quilt for Christmas
Author Info: Sandra Dallas Website

Synopsis from the author's website:
The Civil War, 1864: Eliza Spooner’s husband, Will, has joined the Kansas Volunteers to fight for the Union. Confident that he will return home, Eliza helps pass the time by making a special quilt to keep Will warm during his winter months. When the unthinkable happens, she takes in a woman and child who have been left alone and made vulnerable by the war, and she finds solace and camaraderie among the women of her quilting group. And when she is asked to help hide an escaped slave, she must decide for herself what is right and whom she can count on to help her.

                         

Anyone can participate in Book Beginnings on Friday and The Friday 56.
Click HERE to connect to other Book Beginnings posts (sponsored by Rose City Reader)
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39 comments:

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Sandra,

I love books like this, which can tell you so much about the social history of a country, whilst at the same time provide a rattling good read!

Your first lines are so descriptive that they would certainly have me wanting to read on and I also enjoy stories which include some arts and crafts, although quilting is not amongst my accomplishments, much as I wish it were :)

We live about 6 miles down the road from the American Museum in Bath, which apparently has a beautiful early American quilting exhibition. I keep meaning to pay a visit, however none of my family and friends share my interest and it would be so much more fun to have someone to share the experience with.

Thanks for sharing and have a good weekend.

Yvonne.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

If I lived nearby, I'd go to the exhibit with you. I love to quilt and enjoy quilting exhibitions.

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I love quilts...and fall, and the opening lines evoke so many sensory impressions...I love that kind of prose. Thanks for sharing, and for visiting my blog.

nikki @bookpunks said...

Hmm, the beginning didn't grab me, though it didn't push me away either. I find the workings of first paragraphs so fascinating. Yet it is hard to really pinpoint what makes one excellent. Pretty subjective as well, I suppose.

My book beginnings post is here: http://www.bookpunks.com/so-it-begins-flex-by-ferrett-steinmetz/

jacquie said...

How interesting to weave quilting into the a Civil War story! I think the opening creates a great visual!

Topazshell said...

I do love this author, Sandra Dallas. You have a very nice friend. She sent fabric too? Wow, nice.

Catherine @ Book Club Librarian said...

What a great gift. Would love to see pictures of what you create with that fabric.

My Friday post: http://www.bookclublibrarian.com/2015/02/friday-focus-friday-56-book-beginnings_27.html

Katherine P said...

I love the combination of beautiful fabric with a book that quilting is the central theme. What a lovely gift. I like the excerpts. With all the Civil War history that is out there we forget about the women who were left behind in some pretty tough situations.

JC Jones said...

An interesting time with a lot of possibilities for stories. You have a very special friend if she sends books and fabric.

Elizabeth said...

Gorgeous cover and beautiful beginning. Love the imagery.

I like the synopsis from the author too. Sounds like a good read.

Be sure to show us what you make with your material.

ENJOY your weekend and this book.

Elizabeth
Silver's Reviews
My Book Beginnings

Sandra Nachlinger said...

Creating quilts for warmth was a necessity, of course, as well as a social event for those women. The author gives a good picture of the role quilting played in the women's friendships.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I'm sure I'll read more books by Sandra Dallas. She's a terrific storyteller.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I was delighted when I opened my birthday gifts from Sandra! I have a couple of projects going right now so it might be a while before I have something for show-and-tell with that fabric. But I'm looking forward to cutting it up into little squares. My quilts usually debut here on the Saturday Snapshots meme.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I agree. Sandra Dallas did a great job of showing the day-to-day lives of those women, as well as their fears, joys, and challenges. It was a good story with lots of fascinating detail.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

Sandra Allen and I have been friends since 8th grade -- more than 50 years! She's more like a sister than a friend. Gee, I just realized that there are three Sandra in this post: my friend, the book's author, and me!

Lauren Stoolfire said...

Sounds interesting - I really like that cover.

Check out my 56.

Gilion Dumas said...

That set's such a cozy scene! I haven't been leaving comments for awhile, but I appreciate you participating in BBOF. Thanks!

Breana M. said...

The excerpts definitely caught my interest.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

Thank you for hosting Book Beginnings every week and for stopping by my blog today.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I'll definitely share my quilt (probably on Saturday Snapshots), but I don't know when that will be. I already have a couple of creations I'm working on, plus I need to devote more time to writing.

Claudia {Sparrowhawk} said...

The Friday 56 is gripping! I'm left wondering if Will is dead or not! Great post Sandra, and the cover art is lovely too :)

Stormi Johnson said...

That sounds like a really good read. :)

Stormi
Friday Memes

Nicci said...

Unfortunately, I’ve never quilted but I used to love to knit. I enjoy reading descriptive writings that can draw out the emotional response of the senses and present vibrant settings through evocative prose. Thanks for sharing and stopping by my blog for a visit.

LadyD Piano said...

Great #56! So beautiful, I like it all! I love to quilt and have given all of my grand babies many quilted blankies and tied comforters. Have a great weekend, Sandra!

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I wondered the same thing. After all, sometimes people are mis-identified. Of course, now that I've finished the book, I know the answer!

Sandra Nachlinger said...

Yeah! Another quilter! It's a fun hobby, isn't it? But my fabric scraps seem to be taking over a spare bedroom.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I'm glad you enjoyed today's post. I admire people who can knit. I tried it but my fingers just don't work that way. I can handle a crochet hook, but not two knitting needles.

Katiria Rodriguez said...

Great 56 pick it looks and sounds like a really good book. Thanks for stopping by my page.

Alicia AKernelofNonsense said...

What a lovely cover and it sounds like such a wonderful story about the endurance of the human spirit.

Yvonne said...

This sounds wonderful! I've been curious about this author and this book looks so good.

Bea said...

I'd go with you if I could! I have no desire to quilt but I love looking at them.

Bea said...

This sounds poignant and the 56 made me tear up.

Anne Bennett said...

Wow. Sounds wonderful. So what if it has Christmas in the title and it is March? Anne's Friday Quotes

Sandra Nachlinger said...

That's what I thought too!

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I could easily relate to the characters. The plot was believable too.

Sandra Nachlinger said...

I'm looking forward to reading more books by Sandra Dallas.

fredamans said...

Sounds like a good read for any time of the year! I love a good holiday book off-season, it refills you with the spirit of the holiday.
Happy weekend!

LadyD Piano said...

Relating!! :-)

guiltless reader said...

I love the idea of just reading whatever you feel like. It sure still FEELS like Christmas ;)