I’m excited today to give you a peek inside A Quilt for Christmas by Melody Carlson – and a chance for two of you to win a copy of your own!
A QUILT FOR CHRISTMAS by Melody Carlson
GENRE: Inspirational Christmas Romance
RELEASE DATE: September 6, 2022
Christmas should be celebrated with family. But for Vera Swanson, that’s not an option this year. Widowed and recently relocated, she is lonely in her condo-for-one–until little Fiona Albright knocks on her door needing help. With her mother seriously ill and her father out of town, Fiona enlists Vera’s help, and when she finds out her new neighbor is a quilter, she has a special request–a Christmas quilt for Mama.
Vera will have to get a ragtag group of women together in order to fulfill the request. Between free-spirited artist Tasha, chatty empty nester Beverly, retired therapist Eleanor, and herself, Vera has hopes that Christmas for the Albright family will be merry, after all–and she may find herself a new family of friends along the way.
Bestselling and award-winning author Melody Carlson invites you to cuddle up this holiday season with this cozy story of giving, forgiving, and a little bit of romance.
Vera Swanson used to love Christmas. Back in her roomy Victorian house in Western Oregon, she’d decorate to the nines, then welcome the season as family, friends, and neighbors popped in to admire the holiday décor and partake in homemade goodies. For more than forty years, Vera had played host to homemade storybook Christmases. Oh, they weren’t perfect, but what in life was?
Vera’s holiday to-do list had always been long and carefully crafted. By Halloween her spare room closet would be neatly stacked with gifts—mostly handmade. And every year on the Friday following Thanksgiving, which she never called Black Friday and never ventured out to a store, Vera would put on her favorite Christmas music and begin decorating her house.
She’d start with the grand oak staircase, artfully wrapping the handrail with evergreen garlands, trimmed with mini pine cones, plaid bows, and white fairy lights. In earlier days she never settled for anything less than aromatic cedar garlands for the stairs project, but as age crept up, along with a weariness of sweeping needle debris from the stairway runner, she switched over to a realistic fake. She’d regularly spritz it with a woodsy pine spray, and no one was the wiser. Her Christmas tree, which had to be real, was put in place exactly two weeks before Christmas. And the next day would find Vera carefully arranging those artfully wrapped gifts beneath it. Picture perfect.
But Thanksgiving was five days behind her now, and Vera hadn’t lifted a finger in holiday preparations. Nor did she intend to. That life was over . . . and there was no turning back the clock. As her father would say, she’d made her bed and now she had to lie in it.
Vera sadly shook her head as she gazed out the window of her condo unit. The view here, even on a clear day, was a bit dreary. Oh, the common grounds had looked promising enough last summer, back when she’d relocated to Eastern Oregon. The leafy trees and grassy areas around the parking lot had seemed almost parklike. But today the browned grass and bare tree branches, draped in freezing fog, seemed to reflect her soul. Bleak and gray and cold.
As Vera turned around to stare blankly at her neatly arranged condo, she knew she had no one to blame but herself. Her son, Bennett, had questioned her abrupt decision to give up the beloved family home and move to Fairview. But after Vera’s husband, Larry, passed on, the old Victorian had grown bigger, emptier, and lonelier with each day. A downsize seemed the only answer, and when a condo unit became available in her daughter, Ginny’s, town, Vera had snatched it up. She’d looked forward to being close enough to spend more time with her two grandkids. She imagined attending school functions and keeping them overnight with her. Making cookies and craft projects—playing full-time grandma.
As much as Ginny had wanted her mother nearby, she, too, had questioned the sensibility of giving up the spacious family home that she and Bennett had grown up in. “What will we do for Christmas now?” Ginny asked Vera last summer while helping to sort and pack. “You know how the kids love your house for the holidays. It just won’t be the same.”
Vera had assured Ginny she was simply passing the torch on to her. “Your lovely home is perfect for family gatherings,” she’d said as she insisted Ginny take possession of Vera’s plastic bins of treasured Christmas decorations. “I’ll even come over to help you decorate.”
As it turned out, decorating Ginny’s house, or even spending Christmas together, became an impossibility. Ginny’s husband’s job was transferred to Southern California not long after Vera unpacked her last box. He left immediately, and less than a month later, Ginny and the grandkids followed. Vera vaguely wondered about her Christmas decorations. Had they gone to California too? Or had they wound up in Ginny’s cast-off pile to be picked up by the Salvation Army?
Then last month, Bennett had called Vera to inform her that he and his new bride would spend the holidays with Lola’s family in Montana. He hoped she didn’t mind. So Vera would be alone for Christmas—not that she planned to acknowledge the holiday. Who was there to celebrate with anyway? After five months in Fairview, she hadn’t made a single friend. She’d heard that as one got older it grew more difficult to make new friends. Perhaps her loneliness was proof of that.
A loud knocking at her door brought Vera’s little pity party to a halt. Hurrying to see who was pounding so urgently—since no one ever called on her here—she suddenly remembered she was still in her pajamas and robe. She cracked open the door with a cautious hello? but could see no one.
“Please, please, can you help me?” a small voice pleaded from down below.
Vera blinked at the small child who stood on her doorstep. With two messy blond pigtails, bare feet, and widened blue eyes, the little girl looked somewhat lost and confused. And like Vera, the child was dressed in sleepwear, except hers was a thin, summery nightgown that looked none too warm.
“Wh-what?” Vera fumbled to unlatch the chain and fully open the door. “Who are you?”
“I’m Fiona,” the girl reached for Vera’s hand and, grasping it tightly, tugged. “We live right there.” She pointed to the opened door across the hallway. “Mama is sick. Please help me!”
“Oh, my!” Leaving her own door wide open, Vera let the child lead her across the hall and into the condo.
“Mama’s in there.” The girl pointed to the master bedroom. “She can’t get up, and she keeps crying and crying.”
“Oh, dear.” Vera bit her lip. Should she call 911? Find out what was wrong? Or run the opposite direction? “Hello?” she said timidly as she stepped through the door. The only answer was a low groan. “Are you okay?” Vera ventured farther into the dimly lit room. “Your little girl came to—”
“Oh, no, no.” A thin woman with dark, matted hair tried to sit up in bed. She waved a hand dismissively. “Fiona should not have—” Her words were cut short as she grabbed her midsection and collapsed backward, gasping in pain.
Vera hurried to the bedside. “Clearly something is wrong. What can I do to help? Should I call someone?”
“No, there’s no one . . . nothing. I will be . . . all right.” The woman’s eyes closed. “A tummy ache. I must’ve eaten—” She bent over in pain.
Vera leaned over to look more closely at the woman. Her skin was pallid with droplets of perspiration on her forehead. Was she suffering from some kind of flu? What if she was contagious? Or perhaps she had a hangover or drug-related problem. Those things happened. If this was substance abuse, the woman might just need to sleep it off.
Rocking her head from side to side as if to shake off the pain, the woman’s knuckles turned white as she gripped the edge of a tattered bedspread. Vera bit her lip. She didn’t care if the woman was contagious or suffering from addiction. Something had to be done. “I think you need medical attention,” Vera said. “Should I call 911 and request an ambulance?”
“No, please! Don’t do that.” The woman grabbed her hand, holding tightly. “We lost insurance when we moved here. Don’t call 911. Please!”
Vera glanced back to the doorway where Fiona watched with frightened eyes. The light from the room behind her filtered through the thin nightie making her look slightly ethereal and very small and helpless. “I really believe you should see a doctor,” Vera insisted, laying a gentle hand on the woman’s shoulder. “Is there someone I can call for you?”
The woman’s pale lips drew into a tight line as she opened her eyes. “No, no. We’re new here. We have no—” Her words were severed by a gasp.
Vera tried to think. She was new here too, and suddenly more alone than ever. “You need help,” she declared. “I’m going to throw on some clothes and then I will drive you to Fairview Hospital.”
The woman’s only response was more moaning. Vera turned to the little girl. “Fiona, can you get yourself dressed and maybe find your mother’s coat and some shoes or slippers for her?”
Fiona nodded. “I can do that.”
“I’ll be right back.” Vera hurried back to her condo. Her hands trembled as she awkwardly tugged on her clothes. What was she getting herself into? The woman clearly wanted no medical help. What if she had religious reasons and sued Vera for intruding? But hadn’t she mentioned medical insurance—or the lack of it? As Vera shoved her feet into shoes, she wondered what she’d do if the woman refused to go. She couldn’t force her. Well, whatever the case, Vera wasn’t going to let the poor woman die with her young daughter looking on.
Melody Carlson, A Quilt for Christmas
Revell Books, a division of Baker Publishing Group, © 2022. Used by permission.
Melody Carlson is the award-winning author of more than 250 books with sales of more than 7.5 million, including many bestselling Christmas novellas, young adult titles, and contemporary romances. She received a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award in the inspirational market for her many books, including Finding Alice, and her novel All Summer Long was made into a Hallmark movie. She and her husband live in central Oregon. Learn more at www.melodycarlson.com.
Revell is offering a print copy of A Quilt for Christmas by Melody Carlson to TWO of my readers! (US only. Void where prohibited by law or logistics.) This giveaway is subject to Reading Is My SuperPower’s giveaway policies which can be found here. Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.
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