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A Stitch in Time: No Man's Land Blossoms with Love in Four Novellas    by Tracey Bateman, Carol Cox & Cathy Marie Hake order for
Stitch in Time
by Tracey Bateman
Order:  USA  Can
Barbour, 2004 (2004)
* * *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

The four Stafford siblings and their grandmother have done what's necessary to survive in the wilds of 'No Man's Land' in 1886. Strong believers in God, each is surprised when love catches them off guard in these four novellas.

Cathy Marie Hake's Basket Stitch introduces Deborah, who has just arrived in the small town of Petunia to meet Dustin Travis, the man her father arranged for her to marry. But Dustin has been killed, and one of the Testament brothers (who believe wives should be kidnapped rather than courted) sets his sights on her. Louisa Stafford rescues Deborah and takes her home to meet the rest of the family. Lou's brother, Micah, is smitten, but he knows the harsh country is no place for the genteel Deborah. When Deborah digs her heels in to stay, Micah must decide if love is worth the risk. In Tracey Bateman's Double Cross, Grandma Stafford decides that it's time for Louisa to drop her tomboy ways and learn to be a lady. Though traveling pastor Trent Chamberlain is instantly attracted, he doesn't know how Lou will be accepted by others as a minister's wife. She likes to get in the thick of work and isn't afraid to get dirty. Trent prays for God's direction for his heart and life. Is Lou the one for him, or should he choose the more refined Cynthia?

Vickie McDonough's Spider Web Rose brings Rachel Donovan and Josh Stafford together. They first meet after Rachel and her grandfather Ian have escaped from Kansas and the men who want to kill them. Ian's leg is badly broken and they've lost everything. Rachel is dressed as a boy to avoid detection, so that when Josh comes to their rescue, he has no idea that she's not a young man. Will he be able to forgive her deception? Will Rachel decide to settle in Petunia or continue on with her grandfather? Carol Cox's Double Running concludes the series. Sam Stafford has absolutely no interest in getting married. He's tired of his family shoving women at him right and left. Hope Masterson, the clumsy daughter of a Petunia family, has been back East for three years while her aunt attempted to find her a husband without success. Now she's returned home, determined to be happy alone. When Sam and Hope are thrown together to plan the town's Fourth of July festival, will love blossom?

These four stories carry the theme of love stitched together by God's hand. Although written by different authors, the tales build upon each other and seamlessly flow from one to the next. The romance is especially heartwarming, and tense moments add to the quick pace. The particularly suspenseful ending of Spider Web Rose makes it my favorite of the four. Sewing is part of each story, the descriptions of specific stitches helping to tell about the relationships. A steady faith message is not overly preachy but reminds readers of relying on God's lead in our lives. A Stitch in Time is a delightful anthology, sure to uplift and encourage.

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