A Union soldier’s wife wonders what happened to the quilt she sent him for Christmas, even as she adjusts to widowhood and creates a new life with other women touched by war.
Kansas settlers Eliza and Will share a deep love and a strong marriage, and she's convinced he'll come back from serving in the Union Army. Sending him a quilt patterned after the Union flag, Eliza is pleased to be able to give him a Christmas gift that will keep him warm through the winter. She's stunned when she learns of his death a month later. She wonders fleetingly what happened to the quilt but finds she must focus on surviving the grief of losing him, while keeping their farm running and their teenage children healthy. Having taken in Missouri Ann, a more vulnerable widow, and her young daughter, Eliza is at first worried as to how she will keep everyone fed, but she finds Missouri Ann to be a great comfort and friend, and they both grow closer to the women in their quilting bee, all of whom have husbands fighting in the war or lost to it. As the fighting grinds to a close, Eliza’s friendships and moral compass are tested when she must decide whether to help an escaped slave Missouri Ann’s in-laws are coming after. When Missouri Ann leaves Kansas soon after to seek gold and a new life, Eliza is left alone to deal with wandering veterans and the surprising answer to the mystery of the lost quilt, plus her own possible second chance at happiness. Dallas takes an interesting look at the lives of women left behind during the Civil War, especially in ambivalent Kansas, and grounds her characters in authentic struggles of love and hate, right and wrong, trespasses and forgiveness.
Elegant, thought-provoking and quietly powerful.