The Wandering Quilt

Dawn Bennett-Alexander&Renée Patterson

Publisher: iUniverse Pages: 200 Price: (paperback) $13.99 ISBN: 9781663243966 Reviewed: March, 2023 Author Website: Visit »

The Wandering Quilt is a mystery without a crime—but with an important message about racism.

As a collector and quilter, Camille has an eye for quality needlework and colorful patterns. On a family vacation, she discovers a particularly impressive quilt. While she’s purchasing it, the thrift store owner reveals that the quilt came from the Mississippi Delta and had several previous owners who all returned it, causing him to name it the “wandering quilt.” He said they claimed “it acted peculiar…” or “just didn’t feel … quilt-y…” She goes through with the purchase, nonetheless.

Soon, Camille (and later her mother), finds a small, unstitched section. Despite repairs, it repeatedly comes undone. This and other events spur Camille to invite psychics to her home, one of whom find initials sewn inside the opening — leading Camille on a quest to learn about the quilt’s origins.

Camille contacts several previous owners, but no one can explain the hidden initials, resulting in a family trip to Mississippi. While on the road, Camille and her husband give their children a civil rights lesson regarding the unfair treatment of blacks as part of their history. This is further developed when the couple discusses Emmett Till with an elderly quilter they meet by coincidence.

The authors, an aunt and niece duo, inject several other subplots, including the close-knit relationships Camille has with her two sisters and husband. These give substance to the protagonist, an intelligent, caring and determined woman.

The narrative’s downside, however, is that the writing is repetitive. (For example: “…Naomi was able to sleep under the quilt without it creeping down, and the stitches stayed where they belonged…”; then, two paragraphs later: “…the stiches stayed put and Naomi slept under the quilt with no problem at all.”) Stilted dialogue and Camille’s too-good-to-be-true marriage are also distractions.

Nonetheless, the quilt’s history is interesting, and readers will benefit from the message that racism persists, even now.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

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