Review of:  A Patchwork Past

Leslie Gould

Bethany House Publishers, $15.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-7642-3523-8

In the second of her Plain Patterns series featuring quiltmaker Jane Berger, Gould brings readers an illustrative work about the plight of refugees and the value of caring for others as ourselves.  Jane, an elderly spinster, runs a quilt shop in the Amish community of Nappannee, Indiana in addition to writing historical research articles for the local newspaper.  She becomes intrigued with the life of her ancestor, Mary, who aided Irish immigrants during the Chicago Fire of 1871 and recovers an old journal with more information that she recounts to Sophie Deiner, a young woman newly back in town to recover from lupus flare.  As Sophie learns about Mary, she reflects on the likeness between their personalities, as Sophie also cares deeply about the welfare of refugees after befriending an immigrant family through her work at a co-op.  When one of the family members is wrongfully detained and threatened with deportation, Sophie joins attorney Jasper Benjamin in fighting for justice.  The matter is complicated by Sophie’s past relationship with Levi, a farm manager who supports deportation and has a tendency towards violence.  Through her commitment to serving those less fortunate, Sophie finds forgiveness for Levi as well as her parents who believed lies about her character when she’d left town after becoming pregnant.  When Levi and Sophie’s family learn the truth that she’d miscarried, they realize the error of their ways and experience spiritual growth.  A particularly timely work with themes of systemic discrimination, faith, and family.  [March 2021]

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