Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Book Review: Jodie Bailey's Quilted by Christmas

Failing to recognize our own worth impacts us far more than we realize.  For Taryn McKenna, it meant keeping people at a distance, harboring a secret for more than a decade, and failing to trust in God's love.

In her October release for Abingdon's Quilts of Love series, Jodie Bailey weaves a tale of forgiveness, redemption, and relentless love.  When an 18-year-old Taryn finds herself on the receiving end of accusations that she's needy and manipulative, she vows to keep to herself and no longer bother those she loves.  She slowly builds a wall around her heart, and aside from her grandmother Jemma and cousin Rachel, refuses to let people in.  It's safer that way.  Her secret is safe, she's safe, and most importantly, other people are safe-- from her.

But when her high school love, Justin, comes back to town and Jemma lands in the hospital, Taryn has a hard time keeping up her strong front.  Suddenly she finds herself in need of security, and the only person around to offer it is the last one she wants to find it in.  By surrendering herself to Justin's renewed desire for friendship, Taryn learns that she really is worth loving after all.  And by opening herself to the love of those around her, she also learns to accept the One who loved her first and loves her best.

Jodie Bailey consistently creates characters who are multi-faceted and believable, and Taryn, Justin, and Jemma are no exception.  Even if we don't carry a secret as big as Taryn's, all of us feel as if we don't measure up in some way.  God's unconditional love is big enough to reach all of us, no matter what our past may hold.  Justin is the friend (and boyfriend!) we'd all like to have.  He's always there, but never pushy; always lightening the mood, but loving with sincerity.  And Jemma?  Oh, Jemma... Modeled after Jodie's own grandmothers, Jemma is bold and feisty, always telling it how it is.  These characters will warm your heart, and their story will keep you reading late into the night. Quilted by Christmas* is a delightful book that will get you in the holiday spirit quicker than Jemma can whip up her famous caramel cake!

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