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Meet Helen, the expert quilt maker and family curmudgeon, who pieced a wedding ring quilt top for her hope chest, only to put it away without quilting it after her marriage ended abruptly.
Meet steel magnolia Nancy, Helen’s daughter, who found the top and quilted it in the early, unhappy days of her own marriage as she struggled to uphold and strengthen the vows she had made.
Meet Tessa, Nancy’s daughter, whose happy marriage, like the wedding ring quilt, is now in tatters. Can Tessa restore the quilt and her marriage, or are both efforts futile?
Three women, three generations, forced together during one brutally hot summer in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Which will break first, the heat wave that has sucked the life from the rich valley soil or the bonds tentatively uniting one small family?
Or will the lessons the women learn from each other save them all?
“. ..a novel rich in its understanding of the Shenandoah Valley and complicated personal attachments.”
—St. Petersburg Times
“Richards tells profound truths with truly gifted writing.”
“Richards pieces together each woman's story as artfully as a quilter creates a quilt, with equally satisfying results, and her characterizations are transcendent, endowed with warmth and compassion.”
"Richards writes with rare honesty and compassion and has a keen eye for detail. This is a beautiful, heartwarming story that will find its way onto many shelves."
—Romantic Times BookClub
“The Shenandoah Album trilogy is off to a great start with this novel, filled with richly drawn characters and stories that will warm the heart. WEDDING RING comes highly recommended.”
“I would choose her books over any other novelist writing with a quilting theme.”
—Sharon Darling’s Quilter’s Review
“I closed the final page feeling that if writing was an art form, then Ms. Richards had created a masterpiece.”
Several years ago I looked at a vintage wedding ring quilt and realized that the stages of a quilt are like the stages of a marriage. The idea persisted, expanding and changing until the story of three generations of women and the wedding ring quilt they create and cherish, was fully formed. I knew then, that the time had come to write Wedding Ring.
Halfway through Wedding Ring a second idea beguiled me. There were other stories, other quilts, in Toms Brook, Virginia. And the characters in Wedding Ring still had lives to lead. If you find you don’t want to let go of them, as I didn’t, you’ll be pleased to know that they also make guest appearances in Endless Chain (July 2005) and Lover’s Knot (July 2006). The three books became one series entitled Shenandoah Album, and were joined in the following years by Touching Stars and Sister’s Choice. Each book stands alone, but characters walk through each other’s stories. The series does not yet feel complete to me, and hopefully in the years ahead, there will be more Shenandoah Album novels.
I should add that I am a quilter, too. Not a particularly expert one, and not one with much time to spare. But I have made a number of quilts, some now gracing the cribs and beds of beloved friends and children I’ll never know, some waiting to be finished for my own bed. What a joy to combine two of the things I love best in the world into one project.
As an added bonus after the publication of Wedding Ring, Leisure Arts, one of the leading craft publishers, asked if they could publish companion volumes to go with each novel, featuring patterns for quilts mentioned in the stories, excerpts and lovely photography. Now there is a Quilt Along With Emilie Richards volume to go with each story, and I find them delightfully accurate and inspiring. I hope you will, too.