A Quilt for Christmas by Sandra Dallas
The Civil War is raging, and Eliza is left to run her Kansas farm and care for her two children on her own while her husband Will is off fighting with the Union forces. Eliza loves to quilt, and is a very skilled quilter, and she makes Will a special quilt in the image of the Union flag as a Christmas gift. She sends it off with a trusted messenger, hoping it will reach him and keep him warm and safe. As the war drags on, she and the other women in the community lean on each other and manage to survive and keep their farms running, Eliza saving one of them from her deceased husband's abusive family who are threatening to make her marry her deceased's brother. One day, the priest of the local church asks Eliza to shelter an escaped slave who is being hunted as she is journeying north to freedom. Eliza reluctantly agrees, and a harrowing adventure ensues as she protects the woman and helps her proceed on her journey north. Then, the horrible news comes that Eliza's husband, Will, has been killed in the line of duty, and Eliza doesn't know how she will go on. The war comes to an end, but Eliza continues to feel like she is living in a nightmare. As she drags herself through the days, a man appears wrapped in Will's Union Jack quilt. He turns out to be an Confederate soldier who found the quilt on the battlefield. Though distant at first, Eliza eventually warms to him as she nurses him back to health, and then as he helps on the farm, and even saves her son's life at one point. As Christmas approaches, Eliza learns to love again and that no one's past defines who they will be in the future. A deeply moving novel for the historical fiction lover that reminds you of the true miracles that Christmas can bring.