Book Review: The Moses Quilt by Kathi Macias

The Moses Quilt by Kathi Macias is an oldie, but a goodie! An antique quilt prompts the story of Harriet Tubman for a young woman struggling with life decisions. A dual time line brings the historical tale into the present. I highly recommend this book!

About The Book

693586_w185The Moses Quilt is a contemporary novel that bridges racial and generational divides. With a realistic and compassionate look into a twenty-first-century dilemma, multiple award-winning author Kathi Macias introduces readers to a confused and apprehensive young woman, Mazie Hartford. Facing major decisions about the love of her life and her future, she must also wrestle with a nagging question about her family’s past. She finds the answer to her questions in a most unexpected way—her great-grandmother’s Moses quilt. As her great-grandmother begins to explain how each patch represents a story of courage and freedom, Mazie must decide if she has the courage and freedom to overcome her own personal fears and prejudices.

About The Author

kathi-macias-photo-200x300Kathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 40 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences. She won the 2008 Member of the Year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) and was the 2011 Author of the Year from BooksandAuthors.net. Her novel set in China, Red Ink, was named Golden Scrolls 2011 Novel of the Year and was also a Carol Award Finalist; her October 2012 release, Unexpected Christmas Hero, was named 2012 Book of the Year by BookandAuthors.net. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband.

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My Thoughts

I love that Kathi Macias’ novels are written with a passion for the subject matter. Whether it is the persecuted church, abused and enslaved women, or the homeless, Kathi brings an authenticity and a clarity to the subject that allows her readers to feel the importance of her stories as well as put themselves into the action. In The Moses Quilt, book 1 of the Quilt Series, Kathi explores the heroic figure of Harriet Tubman, but with a bit of a twist. Harriet’s story is shared by a 93 year old, white, Southern woman seeking to impart meaning and relevance into her great-grandaughter’s life. It is this contemporary slant to the story that brings modern circumstances and historical significance to light.

Maizie is a young woman who has a decision to make. Her boyfriend Edward has asked her to marry him repeatedly. But Maizie is reluctant to commit, leading her family, Edward and Edward’s family wondering if their different races is the problem. Maizie doesn’t even know herself. But her great-grandmother, Mimi, is determined, with God’s help, to expose Maizie’s fears and help her to decide where her heart truly lies. Mimi begins to tell Harriet Tubman’s story using a quilt she purchased years before. In her last days, Mimi wants to help Maizie understand not only the past, but the present.

The Moses Quilt is a two part novel, telling both Harriet and Maizie’s stories. The two are intertwined and the story takes on an air of mystery. The full extent of Harriet Tubman’s story was new to me, and I appreciate the research Kathi did and the clever way she told it. Edward and Maizie’s story is also one that many, even in the Christian community, still have trouble with. Old prejudices are hard to overcome. Kathi has handled that subject with grace and love.

This book is a recommended read and the perfect choice for a book club — lots to discuss!

(I received a complimentary copy of The Moses Quilt from Pump Up Your Book. The opinions expressed are mine alone.)

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Book Review: We Hope for Better Things

We Hope for Better Things by Erin Bartels started the new reading year out right — it is a 5-star time-slip novel with not two, but three story lines. It not only was a beautifully written novel, but an eye-opening book that shows the effects of racism on every aspect of our lives. I highly recommend this book!

About The Book

51JLHN44hoL._SX322_BO1204203200_When Detroit Free Press reporter Elizabeth Balsam meets James Rich, his strange request–that she look up a relative she didn’t know she had in order to deliver an old camera and a box of photos — seems like it isn’t worth her time. But when she loses her job after a botched investigation, she suddenly finds herself with nothing but time.

At her great-aunt’s 150-year-old farmhouse north of Detroit, Elizabeth uncovers a series of mysterious items, locked doors, and hidden graves. As she searches for answers to the riddles around her, the remarkable stories of two women who lived in this very house emerge as testaments to love, resilience, and courage in the face of war, racism, and misunderstanding. And as Elizabeth soon discovers, the past is never as past as we might like to think.

Debut novelist Erin Bartels takes readers on an emotional journey through time — from the volatile streets of 1960s Detroit to the Michigan’s Underground Railroad during the Civil War — to uncover the past, confront the seeds of hatred, and discover where love goes to hide.

My Thoughts

We Hope for Better Things begins in present day Detroit with main character Elizabeth, a young journalist hungry for the big story, the juicier the better. But she soon finds herself out of a job and in rural Lapeer, Michigan. A family homestead harbors a reclusive great-aunt and stories that may have a greater impact than Elizabeth could ever dream.

Although We Hope for Better Things has not just one, or two, but three story lines, they are so skillfully interwoven that the reader feels just how integral they are to each other. Three very strong female characters dominate — Mary Balsam, a young woman left to run a farm when her husband enlists to fight for the Union during the Civil War, Nora Balsam Rich, who falls in love with the right man at the wrong time, and Elizabeth, who finds her family legacy more important than her own ambition. The novel moves from one story to the other — the 1860/1870s, the 1960s, and present day — with never a misstep or loss of continuity. The breaks between stories just kept me turning page after page as fast as I could. There’s a lot of history involved (the Underground Railroad and the Detroit riots), but it is really the individual reactions of the characters that steer their destiny. I really liked that. It is easy to see historical movements or circumstances as the product of a society as a whole, but in We Hope for Better Things individual choices are important to the development of those movements and to future generations. There are a lot of parallels between the women, showing that one time doesn’t have any greater or lesser moral authority than another. Racism is the overarching theme in the novel with the author again showing it in very personal ways. Its insidiousness reaches into all aspects of life, including the life of the church. Bartels subtle hand doesn’t take away from the big truths shining through. In the end, the reader knows more than the characters, but there are still some mysteries left unsolved or hinted at. I liked that too, because it is those questions that will fuel great reader discussions. And this novel is perfect for book clubs — you will definitely want to talk about this book.

I could go on and on about the merits of We Hope for Better Things, but I will leave you with just one final thing — Read. This. Book. You will love it.

Very Highly Recommended.

Audience: adults.

(Thanks to Revell for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

About The Author

A10zq7b5JZL._US230_Erin Bartels is a copywriter and freelance editor by day, a novelist by night, and a painter, seamstress, poet, and photographer in between. Her debut novel, We Hope for Better Things, released in January 2019 from Revell Books. I Hold The Wind, which was a finalist for the 2015 Rising Star Award from the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, will be released in November 2019. Her short story “This Elegant Ruin” was a finalist in The Saturday Evening Post 2014 Great American Fiction Contest. Her poems have been published by The Lyric and The East Lansing Poetry Attack. A member of the Capital City Writers Association and the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, she is former features editor of WFWA’s Write On! magazine.

Erin lives in the beautiful, water-defined state of Michigan where she is never more than a ninety minute drive from one of the Great Lakes or six miles from an inland lake, river, or stream. She grew up in the Bay City area waiting for freighters and sailboats at drawbridges and watching the best 4th of July fireworks displays in the nation. She spent her college and young married years in Grand Rapids feeling decidedly not-Dutch. She currently lives with her husband and son in Lansing, nestled somewhere between angry protesters on the Capitol lawn and couch-burning frat boys at Michigan State University. And yet, she claims it is really quite peaceful.

Find Erin on Facebook @ErinBartelsAuthor, on Twitter @ErinLBartels, or on Instagram @erinbartelswrites. She blogs semi-regularly at http://www.erinbartels.com.

Book Review: Red Ink

Happy Friday everyone! It’s good to be here on Diversity Between The Pages. This is my first post on this wonderful site, and I am excited to share great fiction with you. For my inaugural post I chose Red Ink by Kathi Macias. While this book has been out for a while, it is a very relevant read. Set in China and in the US, this book highlights the plight of believers in hostile nations and the role of Christians in the West as prayer support. Hope you enjoy it!

ABOUT THE BOOK

img240014b28699d1c4f7A young Chinese woman, Zhen-Li raised to observe the party line, including its one-child-per-family doctrine falls in love with and marries a Christian, and adopts his faith. Though the couple downplays their Christianity in an effort to survive, Zhen-Li’s family is appalled, and she and her husband are ostracized. When she becomes pregnant for the second time and refuses to have an abortion, the persecution begins in earnest. Zhen-Li’s parents, under pressure from the government, pay to have Zhen-Li kidnapped and the baby aborted. It is then Zhen-Li decides she must live up to her name Truth and take a firm stand for her faith, regardless of the consequences, and so she begins to regularly teach children about Zhu Yesu Lord Jesus and to distribute Christian literature every chance she gets. Based loosely on the life of Christian magazine editor Li Ying, currently serving a ten-year prison sentence in China, the story of Yang Zhen-Li tells the desperate tale of her incarceration and separation from her family, as she continues to minister to other prisoners, and even to her guards.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kathi-MaciasKathi Macias is a multi-award winning writer who has authored nearly 30 books and ghostwritten several others. A former newspaper columnist and string reporter, Kathi has taught creative and business writing in various venues and has been a guest on many radio and television programs. Kathi is a popular speaker at churches, women’s clubs and retreats, and writers’ conferences, and recently won the prestigious 2008 member of the year award from AWSA (Advanced Writers and Speakers Association) at the annual Golden Scrolls award banquet. Kathi “Easy Writer” Macias lives in Homeland, CA, with her husband, Al, where the two of them spend their free time riding their Harley.

MY THOUGHTS

Red Ink is another great book in the Extreme Devotion series by Kathi Macias. The novel follows the life of Zhen-Li, imprisoned for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ in the oppressive environment of China. While the book focuses on the hardships, persecution, and oppression of Chinese Christians, it also takes a look at the ongoing call for prayer by all Christians.

Julia and Laura are elderly residents in an assisted care home.  But their days of ministry are not over – far from it.  These two prayer warriors continue to pray for their fellow residents and families.  When they feel the call of God to pray for someone in China, they are obedient to the call. They heed God’s leading to pray specifically for a woman at risk in China – you decide who that might be. Ever open to opportunities to pray, they also begin fervent prayer for a fellow resident and her granddaughter.

Zhen-Li lives a life of extreme devotion, continuing to share her faith even within the walls that imprison her. Laura and Julia are also extreme in their devotion, continuing to be in prayer and in tune with their Lord.

Red Ink is an eye-opener into the trials of Christians in China. It is also a heart-opener for those who heed its message of fervent prayer and bold living for Christ. If you want to learn how to live a dynamic life in Christ, pick up Kathi Macias’s Red Ink to get a glimpse of just what it might take.

Highly Recommended.

(I received a complimentary copy of Red Ink from New Hope Publishers. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)