BOOK REVIEW: The Beloved Christmas Quilt by Wanda E Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter, and Richelle Brunstetter

One Quilt Binds Three Generations of Amish Women

For thou art my rock and my fortress; therefore for thy name's sake lead me, and guide me. Psalm 31:3
The scripture embroidered on the back of a beloved quilt brings hope to three generations of Pennsylvania Amish women at Christmastime.

Luella’s Promise
By Wanda E. Brunstetter
Luella Ebersol has been caregiver for a dying woman and her young son. When Dena Lapp gives Luella her favorite quilt, she makes Luella promise to pass it down to her daughter. But Luella isn’t sure she will ever marry if she can’t find someone with maturity and faith like Dena’s husband Atlee Zook.

Karen’s Gift
By Jean Brunstetter
Karen Allgyer and her husband moved to a slow-paced village to raise their children, but Karen longs for the closeness of family to help her through the challenges of managing three girls with one on the way. When life’s pressures rise, will Karen cave to her fears?

Roseanna’s Groom
By Richelle Lynn Brunstetter
When the unexpected happens on the day of her wedding, Roseanna Allgyer can’t help blaming herself, despite not understanding why. Then an old friend returns to town, and she battles feeling for him—afraid of being hurt again.

I was really excited when I first heard about this book.  I mean, symbolically, what better than three generations of women writing about three generations of women?  Three generations of love and faith.  I think I've reached a situation where anticipation clouded reality.  I liked this book but I didn't fall in love with it.  I fell in love with the story, the characters, and the promise of love for generations.  There were some elements that I felt lacking and missing though, and that kinda breaks my heart.  This review is so hard to write for many different reasons.

Let's break the three stories down.  In the first story I fell in love with Louella and Atlee.  It took me a touch off guard when I realized that the quilt originated with Atlee's first wife, a dear friend of Louella.  I feel, however, that this story missed opportunities to build conflict.  Both internal conflict within the characters but also the resolution of those conflicts through faith.  This book set an amazing stage for the following two stories but it just wasn't a bulls-eye.  Jean's story of Karen and Seth was rich with conflict that was handled really well.  So much of the conflict set the stage for the following story but also showed the reality of working through the process when a child has a handicap.  However, there was so much 'filler' that didn't do much to progress the story along but felt more to fill space.  The story also jumped through time awkwardly without filling in enough of the gaps.  I feel like the biggest missed opportunity for this story was the passing of the quilt. The quilt was it's own role, it's own character really, but there was opportunity for the quilt to find it's home that was missed.   Richelle's story embraced the theme of this book in ways the other two weren't in a position to do so.  First, before I even go there, I LOVED the story of the runaway groom!  You don't see that portrayed in books or movies much, it's always the stereotypical runaway bride.  Richelle built and developed characters with depth and flaws and pulled in the reliance of faith that is very reminiscent of her grandmother's earlier work.  This story flowed so easily with developed story-line and even depth of conflict and resolution that is hard to pull off in a novella length story.  This story held the promise of the quilt.  This story held the promise of faith and love and family and future and God.  There was one little thing I noticed that I was shocked when Kristin and I were comparing notes that she didn't catch.  When John went to talk with Roseanna about why he ran there was the big set up that despite the cold and snow he chose to walk.  After their conversation he walked back to his buggy?!?  Sometimes it's the little things and I usually miss those.  That little story edit glitch did not however affect my rating of this book.

This collection of intertwined stories of generations of love is one that I will gladly re-read and am happy that I own as part of my collection.  It's a great book for anyone who cherishes family, love, and a life built in faith through the easy and the difficult.  It is not just a holiday read and while centered on Christmas is a book that can bring heartwarming and joy at any time of year.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by Barbour Books and NetGalley.  I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.

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The Beloved Christmas Quilt: Three Stories of Family, Romance, and Amish Faith

About Wanda, Jean and Richelle Brunstetter
 Meet Wanda E. Brunstetter
 New York Times bestselling author, Wanda E. Brunstetter became
fascinated  with the Amish way of life when she first visited her husband's
Mennonite  relatives living in Pennsylvania. Wanda and her husband, Richard,
live in  Washington State but take every opportunity to visit Amish settlements
throughout the States, where they have many Amish friends.

Meet Jean Brunstetter
Jean Brunstetter became fascinated with the Amish when she first went to Pennsylvania to visit her father-in-law’s family. Since that time, Jean has become friends with several Amish families and enjoys writing about their way of life. She also likes to put some of the simple practices followed by the Amish into her daily routine. Jean lives in Washington State with her husband, Richard Jr. and their three children, but takes every opportunity to visit Amish communities in several states.  In addition to writing, Jean enjoys boating, gardening, and spending time on the beach.   

Meet Richelle Brunstetter
Richelle Brunstetter lives in the Pacific Northwest and developed a desire to write when she took creative writing in high school. After enrolling in college classes, her overall experience enticed her to become a writer, and she wants to implement what she’s learned into her stories. Just starting her writing career, her first published story appears in The Beloved Christmas Quilt beside her grandmother, Wanda E. Brunstetter, and her mother, Jean. Richelle enjoys traveling to different places, her favorite being Kauai, Hawaii.

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