Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Quilted by Christmas by Jodie Bailey - REVIEWED

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Quilted by Christmas
Abingdon Press (October 21, 2014)
Jodie Bailey


A note from the Author: Well, I’m a regular ol’ person. Who just happens to write. A lot. Probably more than I should. I firmly believe that God created me to be a writer. From the time I learned how to string letters together into words I’ve been making up stories. Believe me… I have a very rich imagination. I used to think I was weird; now I know God just put me together that way. I can’t even watch commercials without expanding them into stories in my head. I am humbled and honored all at the same time that God looked down from heaven on me and said, “Jodie, do what you love.” Wow… how awesome is that?

I have always loved to write. I have stories that I wrote when I was in first grade. I used to sit at my grandmother’s yellow electric typewriter for hours, banging out my own little stories. When I was eleven, she bought me a typewriter of my own (It was 1984, okay?) and I would write and write on it. I wrote stories out by hand, and they ran to hundreds of pages. I got my first computer when I was eighteen, and the first thing I did was write a story on it. I wrote for school. I wrote for fun. I wrote for my friends. I’d get them on the phone and make up stories for them. (I earned the nickname “Dreamweaver” for that one. Nobody calls me that anymore, but it still stands as the coolest nickname I ever had.)


Taryn McKenna believes she’s easy to forget. Abandoned by her parents and left behind when her high school sweetheart joined the army, she vows to never love again and throws herself into her love for the outdoors and the pursuit of a college degree—something no one else in her family has ever accomplished. Her goal, as a young teacher in the hills of North Carolina, is to leave a legacy in the lives of the middle-schoolers she teaches. When Taryn’s grandmother Jemma, the only other person who ever held her close, has a heart attack that reveals a fatal medical condition, Taryn is corralled into helping Grandma work on a final project—an Irish chain quilt that tells the story of her history and the love Jemma knows is out there for Taryn. As the pieces of the quilt come together, Taryn begins to see her value. Can she learn to believe that God will never leave her behind even though others have?

My Thoughts:
Somebody needs to hear this tonight….Love cam down at Christmas….Not because we asked for it.  Not because we deserved it.  But because it’s how God is. Unconditional. No matter what we do.”  
(p 199)

Okay, I have a confession to make.  Before I read these sentences, I was ready reign a bunch of negativity on this book.  For someone to basically refuse to live their life, their dreams because of a fight with a teenage boyfriend….really?  There is only one person in the world for you – really?  You are all mopey because your best friend married her childhood sweetheart and yours walked away….really?  I was having some serious angst with this book – the story.  I spent most of the book wanting to tell Miss Taryn to grow up and get a life.  Mr. Justin can live his life independent of you and there are more fish in the sea.

Vent over.  I don’t have a very healthy view of romance right now.  I admit it.  I was probably not the right audience for this book.  But God thought differently.  He pulled me up short on page 199.  And then I said…really?  Did you really forget how much you’ve been forgiven?  Did you really forget God’s greatest gift  - His Son? 

So, when I discovered some of the reasons behind Taryn and Justin parting ways, I rethought it.  Grace and forgiveness…still the most important things in our lives regardless of our choices.  Christ has poured out His life for us….grace and forgiveness in unmerited measure.  What mercy! 

So, even if I find this story a bit over-the-top-mushy in general, and even though I know life’s circumstances aren’t tied off with a neat bow at the end of story, I DO KNOW that God’s forgiveness and grace are very real.  And His love for us is boundless.  Taryn and Justin learn this. And God put His truth right before my eyes in the most unlikely place – and I am very, very thankful for that!

The Quilts of Love have never failed to surprise and uplift me in the most unlikely ways, so I am happy to recommend Quilted By Christmas to readers!

If you would like to read the first chapter of Quilted by Christmas, go

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