By: Wanda E. Brunstetter
Publisher: Shiloh Run Press
Publication Date: September 2017
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: September 13, 2017
Wanda, Jean and Richelle Brunstetter deliver three heart-warming short stories in The Beloved Christmas Quilt.
In the first short story, Luella’s Promise, Luella Ebersol doesn’t shy away from hard work. Her job is to provide comfort to Atlee Zook’s dying wife at the same time she nurtures their young son, Daryl. When Dena’s health began to decline, Luella was offered the job of caregiver while Atlee worked in his shop. Often, Atlee would take time to attend biweekly church services on Sundays while Luella sat with Dena. Dena’s health was failing and there would come a time when Atlee and Daryl would have to say goodbye. Little did Luella realize the time would be soon. As she sat in quiet conversation with Dena one afternoon, she couldn’t help but comment on the beautiful quilt. ‘...It is a lovely quilt. Your mamm was a talented quilter. Dena got a faraway look in her eyes. Jah, she certainly was. I miss my mamm and wish she was still alive to take care of Daryl when I’m gone...’ In her next breath, Dena extracted a promise from Luella. Little did Luella realize how that promise would change her life forever.
The next story, Karen’s Gift, opens with young mother Karen Allgyer. She is the grown daughter of Atlee and Luella Zook. She is blessed with a loving husband, Seth and three beautiful daughters. The newest addition to their family was precious Nancy Anne. Karen worried about Nancy Anne’s health. Karen was barely four months pregnant when she was infected with the German measles. Her parents hadn’t considered vaccinations for Karen when she was a child because she went to a private Amish school. So far, all signs pointed to Nancy Anne thriving. Seth was a good provider and had a good job in Lykens, Pennsylvania. Both of their families still lived in their childhood hometown, Bird-in-Hand. Karen often lamented to Seth how wonderful it would be to move closer, but Seth would hear nothing of it. Their life was in Lykens and there was plenty of opportunity for family visits. As time goes on, Karen and Seth face challenges to their marriage that would put their faith to the test.
In the last of The Beloved Christmas Quilt stories, the reader is treated to Rosanna’s Groom. Rosanna Allgyer is the oldest daughter of Karen and Seth. She is about to be married to the man of her dreams, John. She is a talented young lady and enjoys sewing lovely dresses for many of the town’s women. John is a stand-up young man and the Allgyer’s couldn’t hope for a finer person to take care of their daughter. On the eve of her wedding, Rosanna has the pre-wedding jitters and best friend Katie convinces her it is nothing more than nerves getting the better of her. However, on the day of her wedding, the last thing Rosanna expected was the turn of events that unfolded.
Wanda Brunstetter has teamed up with her daughter-in-law Jean and granddaughter Richelle and among the three women, they have delivered three warm and spirited tales. The overarching connection between the three stories steps from generation to generation and the beloved Christmas Quilt is at the center of each story. While each author has a unique tone and style to their writing, the beauty in all three stories is that they flow well together. The dialogue is light and believable. All three women have done an admirable job in delivering warm and insightful tales. Well done ladies. I look forward to your next collaboration.
Quill says: The Beloved Christmas Quilt is a series of three short stories with a bond of the overarching theme of hope and new beginnings.