Thursday, November 14, 2013

Launch Day For Rebekah's Quilt by Author Sara Barnard

Available from 5 Prince Publishing
Genre: Fiction, Romance
Release Date: November 14, 2013
Digital ISBN 13: 978-1-939217-83-7   ISBN 10: 1-939217-83-0
Print ISBN 13: 978-1-939217-84-4     ISBN 10: 1-939217-84-9

Who can Rebekah trust when the line between English and Amish becomes blurred?

An Amish Settlement. An English stranger. The Blizzard of 1888.

Rebekah's mother, Elnora Stoll, is the finest quilter in all of Gasthof Village but it seems Rebekah has inherited none of her skill. It's not until the arrival of a mysterious English stranger that a lifetime of questions are answered and Rebekah, her special friend Joseph Graber, and the entire settlement of Gasthof Village learn the true meaning of what it truly means to be Amish.

Sara Barnard, who was most likely born into the wrong century, is mother to four awesome children. In addition to Rebekah’s Quilt, she has authored the historical romance Everlasting Heart series, consisting of bestselling A Heart on Hold, which was also a 2012 RONE award finalist, A Heart Broken, A Heart at Home, and A Heart Forever Wild – all from 5 Prince Publishing. She also writes for the younger among us. Chunky Sugars is a picture book from 5 Prince Kids and her independently published children’s nonfiction titles, The ABC’s of Oklahoma Plants and The Big Bad Wolf Really Isn’t so Big and Bad, have hit bestseller lists several times. She and her family make their home in the far reaches of the west Texas desert with the Javalina, mesquite trees, and of course, lots and lots of oil.

Where to find Sara:
Twitter: @TheSaraBarnard

Excerpt of Rebekah’s Quilt:
The Pike, IndianTerritory, 1868
            “Look Elnora!” Samuel’s German accent thickened the English words, giving them a musical feel. He pointed to the vast expanse that spread out before them. “That’s what the English call The Pike. Many are traveling west on this very road.”
            Elnora peeked out from the wagon, her eyes searching the desolate vastness. “So this is Indiana Territory.” She giggled. “I see, Samuel. Many are traveling this road.” The lack of fellow wagons was sadly apparent.
            Grinning, Samuel swiveled on the driver’s seat to look at his wife. “Perhaps they have already passed for the day.”
            “I already miss Canada,” Heloise Graber whispered when Elnora turned back toward her. “But not as much as I miss Germany.” Heloise patted the back of her boy, Joseph, who was snuggled down in the cornflower blue quilt Elnora had stitched just for him.
            Heloise looked lovingly at her son. “At only two years of age he has already crossed an ocean and three countries.”
            Elnora’s face fell as her hand fluttered to her still-flat stomach.
            Heloise, the older of the two friends, smiled. “Your time to become a mother is coming. God has a special plan for you and Samuel, I can feel it.”
            Elnora’s lips pulled back in a genuine smile. “I must say, the weather is more agreeable in Indiana Territory than Canada. I may pack the extra quilts when we stop to rest.” She swiped at a trickle of sweat as it slid down her nose.
            “You’ll do no such thing!” Heloise placed one long, thin hand on an especially fluffy blue quilt. “It may be a trifle warm, but pass those blankets over here. I’ll sit on them, they ease the rickety ride.” The women dissolved into a sea of girlish giggles. “Yours are the softest quilts of anyone else’s in the village.”
            “Take them with you when we swap wagons,” Elnora offered her fiery-tressed friend.
            Heloise shook her head, the straps on her black head covering flailing about her shoulders. “It’s not the same,” she insisted. “Part of what makes Elnora Stoll’s quilts so soft is the wonderful company that comes along with them.”
            Samuel’s quick yank on the horse reins interrupted Heloise’s compliment.
            “Lucas, is that what I think it is?” he called to Heloise’s husband in the next wagon.
            The two women stared at each other, eyes wide.
            “Ja!” Lucas called.  “Ja, it is!”
            Before Elnora could pull herself up to see the cause of the commotion, Samuel was off the driver’s seat. She peeked out to see the menfolk piling out of all the wagons. Lucas was even with Samuel, holding his hat on with one hand, and pumping the air with the other. Simon Wagler stumbled as he ran, fumbling with the black braces that looped over his shoulders and held up his britches. His wife, Sarah, nuzzled their infant Elijah, who’d let out a shriek with the sudden stop. Isaac Raber pulled on his broad-brimmed hat as Jeremiah Knepp, Simeon Odon, and Abraham Yoder pulled their wagons to a halt in a haphazard line. In an instant, all of the men of families who’d come so far together were running toward the remnants of an English wagon.
            Pieces of the torn canvas fluttered in a passing breeze and the box itself lay on its side, looking as though it had rolled off The Pike. Blood spatters dotted the ground around the silvery dust that refused to settle around the scene. Splintered wheels hung broken and unmoving from the axels. Beyond Samuel, she could make out the remains of a horse just over a small rise. Automatically, Elnora searched for any sign of the tell-tale arrows she’d heard so much talk of during their journey to Indian Territory. Trembling, she drew a fist to her mouth as a prayer of forgiveness for judging those she didn’t even know filled her mind.
            Heloise’s voice was solemn, as if in prayer. “God be with them.”
            The men’s chatter, broken by the shifting breezes, allowed her only fragments of their hurried conversation. Lucas’s voice was the loudest. “No survivors.” Slowly, the large German-born man trudged back to his wagon without so much as a glance toward Elnora and Heloise. Without expression, Lucas rummaged only a moment before pulling the hand-hewn spade from the wagon bed and started back toward Samuel.
            Careful not to snag her handmade purple dress on the rough wood, Elnora climbed down and made her way to the crash. She didn’t speak until she reached her husband, who took the spade from Lucas as he passed. Not a word passed between the two men, but it was as though they were of a single mind. Without hesitation, Samuel dug the sharp end of the spade into the earth, oblivious to his wife’s presence. Spadeful by spadeful, the grave dirt he turned became a small mound at his feet.
            Samuel swiped at the trails of sweat that leaked from under his broad-brimmed hat, down his neck. Beneath his arms, circles of moisture had long-stained his favorite blue shirt. Elnora’s lips tilted into a smile at the memory of their first anniversary, when she’d given him the shirt she’d made for him that matched his eyes. He had pretended not to notice that one sleeve was just a bit shorter than the other. Two years have passed since that day, and we’re still without child...
            Finally, Elnora spoke, her voice but a meek whisper. “May I tidy them before their burials?”
            Samuel turned, revealing more fully the scene of death they’d encountered.
            Elnora’s stomach wound up in knots at the sight of the mangled, crimson-streaked arm that reached lifelessly from behind the overturned wagon, the blackness of death already visible on the fingers. A crumpled bag, obviously store bought, lay near the bloodied arm which eerily pointed at a rainbow of quilting squares that trailed the barren earth. Dipping, Elnora retrieved a bright blue square that would never become a quilt to warm a babe.
            Samuel rested Lucas’ spade against his leg and offered a downcast smile to his wife.
            Before he could speak, a shrill cry broke the solemn silence.
            As out of place as the cry was among the sea of death, Elnora recognized the sound in an instant. An infant’s cry. Eyes searching the terrain, her gaze fixed on a lone, scrubby bush. A wail pierced the air again. Tucking the English square deep into her dress pocket, Elnora reached the bush in a moment, her hands clawing and searching through the summer leaf litter. Finally, something warm brushed her fingertips.
            Cradling the English baby in her arms, Elnora rose to face the throng of women who had gathered to witness the unfolding miracle. “It’s a girl,” she proclaimed.
            Sarah Wagler’s mouth hung agape as she bounced Elijah absently on her hip, and  the other Amish wives and mothers from the wagon train allowed tiny smiles to creep onto their solemn lips. Even the men folk paused.
            Elnora’s awestruck voice was uncharacteristically robust. “Not a scratch on her! Not a bruise, not a drop of blood!”
            Heloise, toting wide-eyed Joseph in her arms, stepped forward to get a better look.
            Elnora’s voice took on the soft shushing of a new mother as she rocked the squirming infant. “Hush now, sweet one. You’re safe now.”
            “You’re a natural,” Heloise observed, a twinkle in her eyes. “Look how she’s already calming. She feels safe.”
            She is safe, Elnora thought, unable to tear her gaze from the tiny girl. Safe with me. Safe with us.        “Come,” Heloise whispered. “Get her to the wagon and out of this sun.”
            Sarah fell in step beside her friend, her blue eyes also transfixed on the English baby. “It’s a miracle she wasn’t injured ... or worse.”
            “I have extra goat’s milk that I boiled for Katie and Annie,” Katherine Knepp cooed as she and the other women joined them. “This little one must eat.”
            Esther Odon nodded. “I have some girl clothes she can have.” Dinah Yoder placed her arm around Esther’s shoulders. The memory of Esther’s hard labor on the trail that had resulted in a stillborn baby girl was a raw one in all the women’s minds.
            Tears pricked Elnora’s eyes. “Thank you. Thank you all.”
            Day turned quickly to night as the Amish women fawned over the tiny infant that seemed to have come straight from heaven, leaving the men to finish the burials by moonlight.

No comments:

Post a Comment