Title: Threads of Grace: A Patch of Heaven Novel
Author: Kelly Long
Published by Thomas Nelson, 2013
Grace Raber, 18, is forced into a marriage to Silas Beiler, an embittered, evil old man and the family’s landlord. In exchange for the hand of his youthful bride, Beiler pays the family’s debts and sees to Frau Raber’s medical care; he then isolates Grace from her family, though they live on the next farm.
Following the accidental death of her husband, Grace emerges from her nine-year marriage mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually drained of all the color in life. But God has granted to her one blessing: her son Abel, diagnosed with autism but possessed of an unusual ability to sense the hearts and deepest aches of others.
Released from her marriage but not from her past, Grace takes Abel and what possessions she can take with them and runs from Middle Hollow, OH. She sets up housekeeping and her quilting frame, enrolls Abel in the small Amish school under the tutelage of Lilly Wyse, and lives quietly for six months; quietly, but not without notice by neighbors, including one Seth Wyse, Lilly’s brother-in-law.
In those six months Grace tells no one about her life with Beiler—how he told her repeatedly that her very beauty, including her hair and her violet eyes, was a sin and a temptation to him (for which he punished her); and that Abel’s disability was a result of her sin. He even cut off her hair, adding to her shame. After her one pregnancy, Beiler vowed never to touch her in such a way, again—a vow which he mercifully kept. All of this Grace has kept to herself, focusing on caring for Abel, on maintaining her small house, and on her quilting. But after six months of quiet living in her new community, her life takes a drastic turn.
A broken ankle means she cannot manage at home, so she agrees to accept the hospitality of the neighboring Wyse family for one night. Events of the next 48 hours make the broken ankle seem a mere blip: Her sister Violet, whom she has not seen since marrying Silas Beiler, shows up on the Wyse farm, looking for Grace. She brings with her the news that her and Grace’s parents have both died in an accident. Grace then insists that, with Violet’s help, she can manage in her own home.
Once there, Violet tells Grace how she had found her sister, assuring her that Tobias Beiler, Silas’s brother, cannot be far behind—and on cue, they hear a pounding on the door. He has arrived, with a sheaf of legal papers in hand. Grace knows immediately what they are, as Silas had insisted that she sign her agreement to their contents; having learned the price of non-compliance, Grace had signed. Tobias is on hand to enforce their terms at noon the following day, if Grace is still unmarried. The terms: Silas’s fortune, property, and Grace’s hand in marriage will all transfer to Tobias. Silas’s purpose had been to “protect” Grace from temptation and sin, should she remain a widow for too long, and Tobias means to have Grace; however, to get Grace, he will first have to take Abel.
Most of the story tells of love unfolding, release from the prisons of the past, and redemption of a hardened heart: grace upon grace that binds us together as threads bind pieces of a quilt. I also enjoyed the insertion of Grace’s friend Alice, from Middle Hollow, though I tired a bit of the Pink Lady theme (an obvious allusion to a well-known cosmetics company). As for the title of this review, it describes both the title character's awakening from her dark past to recognize the grace God is showing her in the present, Grace's decision to extend grace to a young woman, and an awakening to grace for other characters.
I love a good series and look forward to the next installment in this one. I see hope for redemption of another wounded soul, as an evolving Grace feels led to befriend a hardened young woman. And of course, another love story may find its fulfillment.
Threads is Book 3 in the Patch of Heaven series by Kelly Long. I thoroughly enjoyed the first two books, probably a bit more than this one. I give Threads of Grace four stars.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.