Genres: Christian Fiction, Christian Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction, Romance
Published by Barbour Books
A Cryptic Quilt Holds an Astounding Truth
Peek into Nebraska State Penitentiary history where three women seek God’s plan for their lives. The latest from Christy Award finalist, Stephanie Grace Whitson, The Key on the Quilt is set for publication in March 2012 from Barbour Publishing.
Three women face trial, betrayal, and redemption in historic Nebraska. Convicted of murder, Jane Prescott begins serving her ten-year sentence. Will the prison doctor be a balm to her broken spirit? Mamie Dawson believes God has called her to be a matron of the women’s prison dormitory. Are the attentions of a homely guard another part of God’s plan for Mamie? Ellen Sullivan, the warden’s wife, is teaching literacy to the female convicts. Can this endeavor change her preconceptions of these incarcerated women? What will a cryptic quilt connecting these ladies reveal about one woman’s past and mean for all their futures?
The Key on the Quilt by Stephanie Grace Whitson
March 2012 / $12.99 / 320 Pages / Paperback
Praise for the Book:
“Whitson’s The Key on the Quilt is much deeper and richer than the usual historical romance. I devoured it in one gulp and couldn’t put it down. No one immerses me in a story world like Whitson. Highly recommended!”
—Colleen Coble, author of the Lonestar series and the Rock Harbor series
“In a richly textured novel about the sting of betrayal and the power of truth, three women discover what it means to love. Equally tender and stirring, The Key on the Quilt is not to be missed!”
—Tamera Alexander, bestselling author of A Lasting Impression and The Inheritance
“From the opening line, The Key on the Quilt held me captive. Three women, their lives connecting in a hard place, must each learn lessons about the power of love and truth. As their faith grows, so will yours. Don’t miss this excellent novel!”
—Robin Lee Hatcher, bestselling author of Belonging and Heart of Gold
Meet The Author:
Stephanie Grace Whitson, bestselling author and two-time Christy finalist, pursues a full-time writing and speaking career from her home in southeast Nebraska. Her husband and blended family, her church, quilting, and Kitty—her motorcycle—all rank high on her list of “favorite things.”
Author Q & A
Q: The Key on the Quilt is set in the Nebraska State Penitentiary in the late 1800s. How do you think this unique setting enhanced the story?
A: In the case of The Key on the Quilt, the setting is almost a character in the story since so much of the plot development depends on the constraints placed on “my ladies” by their environment. Every relationship, from casual acquaintance to friendship to romantic love, had to develop in a unique way because of the “confines” of the setting.
Q: Did you take steps to ensure the story remained historically accurate or did you let your imagination run wild?
A: In my opinion, historical accuracy makes the colors brighter, the tension more real, and the resulting reading experience much more fulfilling. Real history has inspired each of my novels. I truly believe that “what really happened” is far more compelling than anything I could make up on my own. All three women in The Key on the Quilt were inspired by my research on real women from the pages of historical documents and academic monographs. Or perhaps that’s just a fancy way to say my imagination is lacking. . .but I really do love the research part of writing historical fiction best.
Q: This novel is the beginning of your Quilt Chronicles series. Where did the idea for this series come from?
A: My passionate interest in antique quilts has always been fueled by the unanswered questions I always have about the quilt maker. Who was she? What was she thinking or experiencing when she was making this? And why. . .the “why questions” are always abundant. Of course most pioneer quilt makers didn’t document any of the answers to those questions, so that’s where imagination comes in and suggests stories. Each of the “quilt chronicles” was inspired by a real quilt that I’ve either seen in a museum or in a private collection. Since no one could answer my questions, and since I’m a storyteller at heart, I’ve had a delightful time writing stories about what might have been.
Q: Each book in the series will highlight a different quilt pattern and the story behind its creation. Are you a quilter yourself?
A: Yes. Right now I’m working on a red and white applique for one of my children. I’ve made baby quilts for grand-kids, and in recent years made several quilts that were featured in my non-fiction tribute to “sod house homemakers” and their quilts. I don’t care much for sitting at a sewing machine, but I find hand applique and hand quilting extremely satisfying. The rhythm of hand-stitching is soothing and the result very satisfying, although I’ve yet to manage the fourteen-stitches-to-an-inch that master hand quilters are known for.
Q: The Key on the Quilt introduces three very different women, Jane Prescott, Ellen McKenna, the warden’s wife, and Mamie Dawson, the prison matron. Which woman do you identify with most?
A: All of them, for different reasons. Like Jane, I tend to fear the unknown and wonder if God is angry with me when terrible things happen. Sometimes it’s difficult for me to hang on to hope. Like Ellen, I’ve been blessed to know wonderful men who made me feel cherished. Like Mamie, I work hard and take personal satisfaction from a job well done.
Q: What do you hope your readers will take away from The Key on the Quilt?
A: Encouragement to believe that, just as God was at work in Jane, Ellen, and Mamie’s lives. . .so is He at work in theirs, redeeming circumstances that may seem wretched and impossible, never abandoning His children to fate. Even when we try to let go of Him. . .He doesn’t let go of us.