Quilts tell stories of love and loss, hope
and faith, tradition and new beginnings.
The Quilts of Love series focuses
on the women who quilted all of these
things into their family history.

Coming from a long line of quilters
and storytellers herself, Abingdon
Press’ Ramona Richards knew that
a line of books combining beautiful
quilts and compelling stories would
appeal to crafters and readers alike.
“When my mother passed to me 20 of
our family quilts, she stopped to tell
me the story behind each one. Where
the fabrics came from, why each pattern
was chosen. Who made them and
how they were kin to me.

“We have one quilt that was made
in 1840 and brought over the
Appalachian Mountains with newlyweds
seeking a new life. It survived
the Civil War by being buried in a barn.
Another was pieced by a great-aunt
for my birth, but quilted by my grandmother
after my great-aunt died. It
made me realize that such family
stories can be found everywhere, in
thousands of quilts, and that readers
would be as engaged as I was.”

The Quilts of Love line features contemporary
and historical romances as
well as women’s fiction and the occasional
light mystery, each featuring a
beautiful quilt at its heart. Experienced
and debut authors have penned stories
to entertain and uplift, but also with a
higher purpose.

“I hope the books also remind us of
how important families are and how
often quilts reflect the loving bonds
that keep all of us together,” Ramona
explains. “In their own way, quilts are
our family histories that we pass to
the next generation. They can reveal
our past while presenting hope for
the future.”

Christa Allan
Threads of Hope

Christa Allan would love it if quilting was one of her
accomplishments—but craft is not a gift in her repertoire.
“I’m certain weeding my garden wouldn’t
qualify as a craft, so if baking isn’t in the craft zip
code, then I’m done! I enjoy baking cheesecakes,
breads, cookies. I also enjoy eating them—also not
a craft.”

In Threads of Hope, Christa features the Aids
Memorial Quilt as journalist Nina O’Malley
reluctantly attends a gala benefit supporting
the quilt at the request of her editor. She
meets widower Greg, and his adopted daughter
Jazarah, an HIV-positive Ethiopian girl.

Christa shares about her research: “I read far
too many stories about children whose lives
are memorialized on the quilt. UNICEF, in 2011,
noted that 180,000 children, ages 14 and under,
live with HIV. In Nigeria alone, about 2.5 million
children are left orphans because of losing one or
both parents to the disease.”

Christa discovered that there is hope for these children
and her character Jazarah gives them a face. “As
people move past the stigma and unfounded fears of
the disease, more children are not only finding their
way into homes through adoptions, but are living
‘normal’ lives with drug therapy.”

Being a part of the Quilts of Love series has been
meaningful to Christa. “It’s been fascinating to see
the quilts that grace the covers of these novels, and
to read the stories—both historical and contemporary—
that unfold.”

Angela Breidenbach
A Healing Heart

Honored that her debut novel is part of the Quilts of
Love series, Angela Breidenbach has loved reading
her “sister authors’” stories, sharing their love of romance
and beautiful quilts. While scrapbooking is her
craft of choice, she enjoys choosing photos and putting
them on quilt blocks for photo memory quilts.
In A Healing Heart, widowed mother of three Mara
Keegan dives into a photo memory quilt for her
graduating daughter in an effort to be the perfect

Ang confesses that Mara reflects some of
her own personality. “Mara absolutely shares
a few traits with me. First, she’s a workaholic.
I wanted to show the battle we workaholics
fight. She’s also a very loving mom. I hope
she gets that from me. Something I hold dear
is supporting my community and charities. I
gave that trait to Mara, as well.”

The author believes a family project can bring
about healing and she reflects that with the Keegan
family. “I think the transfer of art from mother to
daughter brings their hearts together. Mara finally
has the time to spend teaching Cadence how to do
the ancient craft of beading as her ancestors have
done for centuries. Drawing on the sense of belonging,
Cadence opens up to her mom again.”

Bonnie Calhoun
Pieces of the Heart

Given that she’s a seamstress and dress designer by
trade, it’s surprising that Bonnie Calhoun says quilting
is not for her. “I don’t have the patience or tenacity
to work on something so small in context as the
individual pieces.”

Bonnie has a great appreciation for the art of quilting,
and was thrilled to showcase a Pine Cone Quilt
in her WW2 novel Pieces of the Heart. “The
Pine Cone—also known as a Pine Burr—quilt
is a traditional African-American quilting pattern
that dates back hundreds of years. The
state of Alabama adopted it as their state quilt
on March 11, 1997.”

Bonnie’s family had such a quilt in her family,
but it was destroyed in the Hurricane Agnes
flooding in June of 1972.

In the novel, Cordelia Grace spends three
years creating a quilt while her beloved Bernard is
overseas fighting, yet he returns a different man.
“Bernard comes home from the war suffering from
what we today would call PTSD. Back in WW2 it was
called battle fatigue and was not a recognized affliction
that had any treatment.”

Carolyn Zane
Beyond the Storm

There is nothing more intoxicating than love, according
to Carolyn Zane, though craft comes a close second.
“I love to craft! Any kind of craft!” she shares.
“If it involves gluing or cutting or sprinkling glitter,
count me in! My husband built me a special room,
just so I could store all of my sewing, crocheting,
painting and scrapbooking stuff. My daughters—all
teens now—also love to craft and we all love
to quilt.”

In Beyond the Storm, Abigail finds healing
as she pieces together a quilt from scraps of
material she finds after a tornado has ripped
through her home town—her neighbor’s
kitchen curtains, a man’s necktie, a dog’s bed.
“The quilt in my story represents to Abigail, the
rebuilding of a community torn apart by an F5
tornado. I could feel Abigail puzzling out her
confusion by working through the stories of hope
represented by each swatch of salvaged fabric. As
the quilt was pieced together from scraps torn asunder
by the storm, so was the fabric their lives.”
And as her healing begins, Abigail finds herself
opening up her heart to love.

Loree Lough
For Love of Eli

While Loree Lough prefers creating pen and ink
sketches of houses she can lay claim to making one
“legitimate” quilt and half a dozen or so makeshift
quilts for my daughters, using their favorite old blankets
as the top and soft old sheets as the underside.
The creation of the quilt in For Love of Eli brings
healing and understanding to Loree’s heroine, who
suddenly becomes mother to her orphaned
nephew, even as she battles his bitter uncle.
“Taylor spent quite a few years doing hiding
from sadness in her own past,” explains Loree.
“When Eli is orphaned and she begins assembling
mementos to help him remember his parents,
she begins piecing together all that she’d
lost, too.”

Woven into the story are the themes of forgiveness—
of self and others—and acceptance
as Taylor and Reece come to terms with the tragedy
befell them and their attraction to each other. Loree
loved being a part of this series, alongside so many
talented, Christian authors. “Crafting a story that
mends broken hearts and binds two lonely people,
one to the other, was icing on the cake!”

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