A Patchwork Past

Elizabeth Book Reviews, Contemporary Fiction, Religious Fiction Leave a Comment

Title: A Patchwork Past

Author: Leslie Gould

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Copyright: March 30, 2021

ISBN: 978-0764235238


Format: E-Book, 334 Pages

Genres: Religious Fiction, Christian Fiction, Amish Fiction, Contemporary Fiction


When wild child Sophie Deiner–the daughter of an Amish bishop–is forced to return to Nappanee, Indiana, quilt-shop owner Jane Berger is one of only a few who welcome her back. It’s the last place she wants to be, but Sophie’s recent illness requires that she recover for a while.

As Sophie heals, she befriends a group of migrant workers and is appalled to learn of the wretched living conditions they’re forced to endure. Sophie begins advocating on their behalf, but soon finds herself opposed by an ex-boyfriend who is the farm foreman.

Jane begins relating the story of an Amish couple who rescued survivors of the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, many of whom were Irish immigrants. And Sophie is more convinced than ever that she needs to fight for the powerless. But when digging deeper makes conditions even worse, has she chosen a fight she can’t win?


Sophie Deiner, an ex-Amish woman and daughter of a prominent bishop, returns to Nappanee, Indiana, when she is ill. She isn’t particularly enthused to be back in her old neighborhood, and many Amish seem to ignore her, including her mother. Her parents request that she wear her old Amish dresses while staying there, even if it is a temporary arrangement. One of the only people who eagerly talks to her is Jane Berger, the owner of a local quilt shop. As Sophie starts visiting the shop, Jane tells her about some research she has done on an ancestor, Mary Landis. Apparently, Mary assisted survivors during the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.

In Leslie Gould’s A Patchwork Past (I love the name!), we have a clever juxtaposition of Sophie’s story of recuperation and Mary’s tale of heroism. This book is about two women in very different circumstances. It took me some time to get into the story. When Sophie returned to the Amish community she once left, I was intrigued. While an interesting protagonist, I didn’t fully connect with her (but I did have sympathy for her being shunned). My favorite character was Jane. She was thoroughly fascinating and I love the story she wove about Mary, the woman she was researching. The characters were colorful and fun to read about. The pace of the story was steady but it did have its slow lulls. Overall, I enjoyed this book and I will check out Ms. Gould’s other works in the future.

I graciously received this complimentary copy of A Patchwork Past by Bethany House Publishing and Netgalley. All ideas and thoughts expressed herein are my own.


Leave a Reply