Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A Quilt for Jenna by Patrick E. Craig, ©2013

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)

***Special thanks to Ginger Chen for sending me a review copy.***


Patrick E. Craig is a lifelong writer and musician who left a successful songwriting and performance career in the music industry to follow Christ in 1984. He spent the next 26 years as a worship leader, seminar speaker, and pastor in churches, and at retreats, seminars and conferences all across the western United States. After ministering for a number of years in music and worship to a circuit of small churches, he is now concentrating on writing and publishing both fiction and non-fiction books. Patrick and his wife Judy make their home in northern California and are the parents of two adult children and have five grandchildren.

Visit the author's website.


Amish + Quilts = readers delight! And in this first book in Patrick Craig’s Apple Creek Dreams series, readers will follow master quilter Jerusha Springer’s journey out of tragic circumstances to a new life of hope. A beautiful story of loss…and redemption.

Product Details:
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers (February 1, 2013)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736951059
ISBN-13: 978-0736951050


I was drawn to this book by the word QUILT. As a quilter, two-thirds of one quilt is put together, and two other quilts in the planning. I have the kitchen table full with my sewing machine and fabric pieces, finishing up a January block. Friends and I are making a monthly memory block/s of our 2013 activities together, we will then each make into a quilt.

A second reason for wanting to read A Quilt for Jenna, is my husband and I went to Dalton, Wisconsin, one evening at dusk, after a rain, and heard the clip clop of hooves on the pavement, in this far rural community. This story is set near Dalton, Ohio, but it brings back memories of our travel to the other Dalton.

I, too, have lost a child. My firstborn and only son. He died a year and a half ago of a heart attack in the night. Being an adult, perhaps with memories of his life, it would differ from Jerusha losing her young child. The Lord has covered me. As I read, I want Jerusha to allow Him to do that for her too.
  A man's heart plans his way: but the LORD directs his steps.
    --Proverbs 16:9
 Jerusha Springer has finished her Rose of Sharon quilt in her daughter's memory, and is now on the way to take it to Dalton to enter it in the Quilt Fair. The neighbor boy is going to his Grandma's for Thanksgiving dinner and Jerusha rides with him. She desires to place first and leave everything behind with her prize money. But everything cannot be left behind; not memories, not desires, not cares. We live in this world. We so desperately need the Lord to guide us.

Come and read Jerusha's story from a young girl to her present. So much transpires to make us who we are. Others depend on us. Do we allow love to live?


Jerusha Springer reached behind the quilting frame with her left hand and pushed the needle back to the surface of the quilt to complete her final stitch. Wearily she pulled the needle through, quickly knotted the quilting thread, and broke it off.
    Finished at last. She leaned back and let out a sigh of satisfaction. It had taken months to complete, but here it was—the finest quilt she had ever made.
    Thousands of stitches had gone into the work, seventy every ten inches, and now the work was finished. It had been worth it. The quilt was a masterpiece. Her masterpiece...and Jenna’s.
    She grabbed a tissue and quickly wiped away an unexpected tear.
    If only Jenna were here with me, I could bear this somehow.
    But Jenna wasn’t there. Jenna was gone forever.
    Jerusha glanced out the window as the November sun shone weakly through a gray overcast of clouds. The pale light made the fabric in the quilt shimmer and glow. A fitful wind shook the bare branches of the maple trees, and the few remaining leaves whirled away into the light snow that drifted down from the gunmetal sky.
    Winter had come unannounced to Apple Creek, and Jerusha hadn’t noticed. Her life had been bound up in this quilt for so many months—since Jenna’s death, really—that everything else in her life seemed like a shadow. She stared at the finished quilt on the frame, but there was no joy in her heart, only a dull ache and the knowledge that soon she would be free.
    She had searched without success for several months to find just the right fabric to make this quilt, and then she stumbled upon it quite by accident. A neighbor told her of an estate sale at an antique store in Wooster, and she asked Henry, the neighbor boy, to drive her over to see what she could find. The Englisch had access to many things from the outside world, and she had often looked in their stores and catalogs to find just the right materials for her quilting.
    On that day in Wooster she had been poking through the piles of clothing and knickknacks scattered around the store when she came upon an old cedar chest. The lid was carved with ornate filigree, and several shipping tags were still attached. The trunk was locked, so she called the proprietor over, and when he opened it, she drew in her breath with a little gasp. There, folded neatly, were two large pieces of fabric. One was blue—the kind of blue that kings might wear—and as she lifted it to the light, she could see that it seemed to change from blue to purple, depending on how she held it. The other piece was deep the blood of Christ or perhaps a rose.
    The fabric was light but strong, smooth to the touch and tightly woven.
    “I believe that’s genuine silk, ma’am,” the owner said. “I’m afraid it’s going to be expensive.”
    Jerusha didn’t argue the price. It was exactly what she was looking for, and she didn’t dare let it slip through her fingers. Normally, the quilts that she and the other women in her community made were from plainer fabric, cotton or sometimes synthetics, but lately she didn’t really care about what the ordnung said.
    So, pushing down her fear of the critical comments she knew she would hear from the other women about pride and worldliness, she purchased it and left the store. As she rode home, the design for the quilt began to take form in her mind, and for the first time since Jenna’s death, she felt her spirits lift.
    When she arrived home, she searched through her fabric box for the cream-colored cotton backing piece she had reserved for this quilt. She then sketched out a rough design and in the following days cut the hundreds of pieces to make the pattern for the top layer. She sorted and ironed them and then pinned and stitched all the parts into a rectangle measuring approximately eight and a half feet by nine feet. After that she laid the finished top layer out on the floor and traced the entire quilting design on the fabric with tailor’s chalk. The design had unfolded before her eyes as if someone else were directing her hand. This quilt was the easiest she had ever pieced together.
    The royal blue pieces made a dark, iridescent backdrop to a beautiful deep red rose-shaped piece in the center. The rose had hundreds of parts, all cut into the flowing shapes of petals instead of the traditional square or diamond-shaped patterns of Amish quilts. Though the pattern was the most complicated she had ever done, she found herself grateful that it served as a way to keep thoughts of Jenna’s absence from overwhelming her.
    Next she laid out the cream-colored backing, placed a double layer of batting over it, and added the ironed patchwork piece she had developed over the past month.
    On her hands and knees she carefully basted the layers together, starting from the center and working out to the edges. Once she was finished, she called Henry for help. He held the material while she carefully attached one end to the quilting frame, and then they slowly turned the pole until she could attach the other end. After drawing the quilt tight until it was stable enough to stitch on, she started to quilt. Delicate tracks of quilting stitches began to make their trails through the surface of the quilt as Jerusha labored day after day at her work. The quilt was consuming her, and her despair and grief and the anger she felt toward God for taking Jenna were all poured into the fabric spread before her.
    Often as she worked she stopped and lifted her face to the sky.
    “I hate You,” she would say quietly, “and I’m placing all my hatred into this quilt so I will never forget that when I needed You most, You failed me.” Then she would go back to her work with a fierce determination and a deep and abiding anger in her heart.
    And now at last the quilt was finished—her ticket out of her awful life.
    “I will take this quilt to the Dalton Fair, and I will win the prize,” she said aloud. “Then I will leave Apple Creek, and I will leave this religion, and I will leave this God who has turned His back on me. I will make a new life among the Englisch, and I will never return to Apple Creek.”
    She stared at the quilt. I will call this quilt the Rose of Sharon. Not for You, but for her, my precious girl, my Jenna. The quilt shone in the soft light from the window, and Jerusha felt a great surge of triumph.
    I don’t need You—not now, not ever again.
    And Jerusha turned off the lamp and went alone to her cold bed.


  1. I had a very hard time with this book. In fact, I put it down about 2/3 of the way through. I just couldn't understand the level of anger being felt by Jerusha and you know I have recently lost a child too.

    Kathleen, your review is wonderful. I appreciate the wording. I'm glad it has a positive spin to it :)

  2. Thanks for the review. In a short visit to Amish country, my Beloved and I also heard the sound of horses and buggies one rainy spring evening. Such delicious memories...

    Kathleen, I didn't know about your son. I'm so sorry to hear you and your husband lost him. i can't imagine how that shadows a parent's life. I can see you're holding onto God for peace and comfort.

    Blessings and hugs to you. xx

  3. You two precious ladies ~ so good to hear from you both

    In reading Jerusha's story, the disintegration of her family aided to her heart-felt despair. Only the Lord can heal her heart and soul given to Him.

    As their journey begins with the background into their lives, their pain is so vivid and truthful. Book 2, coming in September, continues the story of one of the characters.

    In reading about another's pain, it brings to the forefront our own feelings. Like holding a lantern up on a dark night ~ go this way, go this way. Standing at the end of a T-road and the wind is blowing and whipping your cloak. Which way will they turn? To despair, or to the only One Who Is there to provide for us on our journey.