“She was one of the lucky ones among the war widows, as the women whose men were away fighting for the Union called themselves. Her harvest was in, and there was enough to last through the winter if they were frugal. The potatoes were dug, the corn in the crib, the applies dried or pressed into cider. The costly woodpile was high, and the house snug. She was blessed, too, because there were no small children underfoot. Her two – Davy, fourteen, and Luzena, twelve – were old enough to be a help to her after their lessons at the table were done.” – Sandra Dallas
Eliza is tending home and keeping up spirits while her husband is away serving his country as a Union soldier during the Civil War. Living in Kansas means that winters are hard, bitter and cold, a fact that allows Eliza to perfect her quilts which are known throughout the region as beautiful works of art. Although Eliza feels lonely and isolated at times, she is proud of her husband and eagerly awaits his return.
Eliza works to make the best of her situation, raising her two children, Davy and Luzena, with love, morality, and patience. When Missouri Anne, a neighbor, loses her husband to the war, though, Eliza warmly welcomes her and her daughter into her home, offering shelter, comfort, and safety from her late husband’s family. Before too long, though, an unexpected event changes everything, and all involved must rely on friends, family and faith in order to cope.
This book is a refreshing and comforting read during the holiday season. The characters are beautiful and the story resonates as both a novel rich in messages of faith and as a work of historical fiction. Sandra Dallas has crafted a delightful story here, one that is well worth reading not only to get in the holiday spirit, but also to reinforce the importance of friends and family.