Sarah’s Patchwork

Published November 20, 2011 by myliteraryleanings

Sarah’s Patchwork by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Overview from www.bn.com: The Triumphant Story of a Woman Who Succeeded Against All Odds

“Sarah’s Patchwork” is the first book in the Keepsake Legacies Series.
Abandoned by her destitute father, Sarah Biddle and her younger brother, Tom, are sent west on an orphan train. But no one wants to adopt a girl with a crippled brother to take care of. Until she’s reach Lincoln, Nebraska — and comes face-to-face with Jesse King and Augusta Hathaway.
“Sarah’s Patchwork” is the absorbing story of quiet, unassuming Sarah Biddle — and the hopes, dreams, tragedies, and romance that she stitches into an heirloom quilt. Each scrap of fabric tells of Sarah’s transformation from a frightened orphan girl into a courageous woman of strength and resourcefulness as she stitches… “the tears of the past into a treasure for tomorrow.” Opportunity and disappointment, hardship and loss teach Sarah how the power of true love can heal the broken heart.

My Review:

This was the first book that I have bought in a while.  As my regular reviewers will know, I usually review either free e-books from www.bn.com or books from the library.  My dad is also sending me a book to read too and I think I will probably end up reviewing that one as well.  The question you might be wondering about as was I is: was it worth the investment?  The answer is most definitely a yes.

The prologue introduces us to the character of Lorna in the year of 1947 who has inherited a great deal from her Aunt Sarah who has just died.  While her mother focus on the bequeathing of their home, Lorna is more interested in a trunk that her aunt has left her since she knows the story behind it.  A letter addressed to her gives her permission to write the stories Sarah has shared with her about her remarkable life in her quest to become a writer.

Sarah started out as a poor girl living in New York who had lost  her mother and had been left at a special society for orphans along with her young brother and baby sister.  She is devastated by the fact that her father left them and through most of her life she seems to be trying to compensate for it.  Her baby sister is adopted against her wishes as she and her brother makes the journey west in hopes of finding a home.

As the train continues west, Sarah’s resolve is further tested.  However, she is determined to keep herself and her brother together no matter what.  This seems to cost her some good placements since people are reluctant to take in her brother who is “crippled” as a result of a carriage accident.  Eventually however they find their place with two ladies who run a boarding house.  They don’t have much, but they are willing to accept the two siblings together without reservations.

The boarding house proves to be a good home but God isn’t content to leave her there.  She and Tom are onto bigger and better things.  She eventually gets a position with a rich family which leads to surprise engagement.  But her hopes are dashed when her fiance and future mother-in-law die on the same day.  Later, when the only living relative comes to take over the estate, the only thing that Sarah and Tom still have to hold on to besides each other is the money that their benefactress leaves for Tom to pursue his studies and a trunk that her deceased fiance leaves behind for her, as though he somehow knew in advance that he would die.

Sarah is later asked by a local doctor to consider becoming his nurse, initially to escape the pain of losing two of the people she loves.  She starts to rebuild her life, discovering to her surprise that she has a nach for nursing.  It is through her job that she eventually learns to know and love God as well as trust Him, through one of her patients.  She dares to hope again that she might have a peaceful life, even as it seems that her brother is moving on without her.

As I said earlier, I liked this one a lot.  I liked how romance was not the focus of the story as it is in many historical fiction books.  This always seemed unrealistic to me and, also uninteresting as I don’t like romances.

Second, I liked how the author integrated the Bible verses at the beginning of each chapter into the story.

Finally I like the way the author compared and contrasted the contradictions in Sarah’s life.  For an example of what I mean see the following quote.  It is also a very accurate description of the time period.

“There was no time for Sarah to contemplate why she prayed to a God she really did not trust for another contraction came quickly, thrusting LisBeth and Sara into the world where birth and the valley of the shadow of death were very often the same place.” p.131

The only downside to this book for me was that I kept wondering why Sarah didn’t go back for her long-lost sister since she seemed so broken up by their separation years ago.  It seemed to be the catalyst for her guilt, for her growing up prematurely, and for her desire to keep Tom with her at all costs.  This book is one in a series however so hopefully the author will explore this question in a future book but I am telling you right now that if Sarah forgets about her sister, I for one will be disappointed.

You may be wondering if this book is worth your investment.  I would be inclined to say yes but everyone is different.  If you are offended by the Bible or Christianity than this story is not for you.  However, fear not, as I didn’t think the author’s treatment of the faith of Sarah’s and others in this story was heavy-handed.  If it was I would not recommend it.  Give it a chance.  It is a great story and it was not expensive.

Contains: Bible verses and unwed pregnancy.  I don’t know how offensive, if at all, that will be in this day and age.

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