10 September 2012

Review: Shadow on the Quilt by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Juliana Sutton has just found out that Sterling, her husband of ten years, has been seeing another woman, and they have a child together. Worse, he manages to get himself killed in a fire in the local brothel before she can confront him. Juliana hides her newfound knowledge in order to protect Sterling’s reputation in the eyes of his two aunts, who share her house.

With her grief at Sterling’s death overtaken by her anger at his betrayal, Juliana defies bereavement customs and maintains her role in local society. Her widowhood brings her into contact with Cass Gregory, the foreman of her husband’s construction company, currently engaged in building her new home. Juliana is initially suspicious of Cass as she recognises as being at the brothel on the night of the fire with one of the ‘ladies. She eventually comes to trust him and finds solace in organising the completion of the building.

The Shadow on the Quilt is an interesting story with several strands to the plot, including the quilt that the aunts are sewing, the new house, the Gregory family, and the mother of Sterling’s child. It is also the story of recovery in a time where there were strict expectations regarding the behaviour of those who were grieving, and the difficulty of conforming to those expectations – especially for someone who is more angry than grieving. The difference between heart and head observance (and attitude) was particularly well illustrated by the respective meetings with the two Christian ministers, one of whom displays a lot more Christian conduct than the other…

This is the second in a series, but each book is a stand-alone Christian historical romance, with the series based on a common theme of quilts. I really enjoyed it – it had likeable characters, a well-thought-out plot, and the Christian aspect was well-integrated without being preachy. And there was a nice romance, with plenty of tension but moving at an appropriate pace. Recommended.

Thanks to Barbour Publishing and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.You can read more about Stephanie Grace Whitson on her website.

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