In the last few years there has been talk about “The Greatest Generation” and the contributions that this World War II cohort made to the USA. In my part of the country, there have been news stories about WWII veterans being able to make a trip to Washington DC to visit the war memorial. I have recently read several works of fiction with a setting during WWII. Consequently, I have had a new interest in this important period of our country’s history. Joyce Magnin’s book Maybelle in Stitches is a story that took place during WWII, part of the Quilts of Love series. It is a book that laid out the seriousness of the war. Not every man who went to fight came home and those who did come home were changed forever.
The easy-going prose and the lighthearted book title belie the seriousness of the situation. The book is set in 1943 in a suburb of Philadelphia, centered on women who worked at Sun Ship and Dry Dock, a shipyard that built ships during World War II. Maybelle Kazinski was the main character along with her friends, co-workers and housemates. The story centered on wives employed at the shipyard whose husbands were serving overseas. In spite of the uncertainty of life these women did their job and did it well.
I enjoyed the camaraderie between the women and how well they assisted and sustained each other through all kinds of life situations. Coping with rationing, blackouts and shortages were a common problem. Maybelle and her friends began working on a quilt that Maybelle’s mother had started. The work helped to draw these women together and they stood by each other through difficult times of death and a husband who was MIA.
Maybelle in Stitches is a book that is entertaining along with showcasing what life was like during the period of the Second World War. Magnin also paid tribute to the valuable contribution made by women working in what was once considered “men’s work,” and doing an excellent job. I recommend this book.
I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are my own.
About the Book:
Maybelle Kazinzki can’t sew. She was after all, the only girl in the seventh grade Home Economics class to sew the zipper in the neck hole of the A-Line dress they were supposed to make. But when she finds an unfinished quilt in the attic of her mother’s house she gets the crazy idea to finish it—somehow, come heck or high water. She thinks it will help fill the lonely nights while her husband, Holden, is serving overseas during World War II.
Her recently departed mother’s quilt is made from scraps of material Maybelle traces back to her mother’s childhood, her grandmother’s childhood and her own childhood. She tries to add one of Holden’s stripes to it but the sewing is not going well and neither is her life. After receiving some harsh news, Maybelle’s faith falters and she puts the quilt away and stops trusting God. But God is faithful- no matter what. And it’ll take a group of neighborhood women armed with quilting needles to help Maybelle believe that.
About the Author:
Joyce Magnin is the author of the Bright’s Pond novels, including the award-winning The Prayers of Agnes Sparrow. A member of the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers Fellowship, Joyce is a frequent workshop leader and the organizer of the StoryCrafters fiction group. She lives near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.