If you’re looking for inspiring books to read, The Moses Quilt shares both a contemporary, interracial romance of two young people, Mazi Hartford and Edward Clayton, and the story of Harriet Tubman, a former slave. Through the pages of history, author Kathi Macias skillfully weaves a courageous tale told piece by piece through the quilt owned by Mazi’s great grandmother. She does a good job of bringing contemporary and history together in a unique way.
Mazi’s reluctance to marry Edward is a puzzle both to him and other family members. Even Mazi herself doesn’t understand her hesitancy. But the quilt–and the journey she follows through Harriet Tubman’s life–may help her find the thread she needs.
The plot is simple, and so are the characters. You won’t find an in-depth page turner here, but you will discover a story that crosses racial and generational boundaries–and one in which one woman’s courage made a lasting difference to those around her–and to succeeding generations.
For those of you who’d like to know about other books to read by Kathi Macias, as well as more information about The Moses Quilt, here’s an interview offered by the author:
The Quilt Series sounds interesting, but what makes it unique or sets it apart from the many other quilt books that are so popular right now?
First, I must confess to NOT being a quilter. I’ve never even considered taking it up! Second, I love quilts and have always been fascinated by the stories behind them. I combined that fascination with my passion for writing issues-related fiction, and I ended up with a three-book series that is, for the most part, contemporary but told against historical backdrops.
Sounds interesting! Can you tell us a bit about each of the three books in the series? Sure! Book one, The Moses Quilt, involves an interracial romance, where the couple works through their concerns and apprehensions as they learn the story of Harriet Tubman’s faith and courage as told through the patches of the Moses quilt that represents her life. Book two, The Doctor’s Christmas Quilt, deals with the topic of abortion told against the backdrop of the life of America’s first woman doctor, Elizabeth Blackwell, who was strongly pro-life. Book three, The Singing Quilt, deals with a young woman overcoming a physical disability; the background for that story is based on the “Queen of Gospel,” Fannie Crosby.
Was it difficult to do the research on these women, particularly Harriet Tubman? What did you learn about her in the process? I knew more about Harriet Tubman than I did about Elizabeth Blackwell or Fannie Crosby, but I expanded my knowledge of each as I did the research. Harriet Tubman’s amazing faith and courage is what stood out most to me about her life. Here was a woman born a slave, penniless for the majority of her life, and illiterate except for the scripture verses she had memorized (even if she couldn’t read them). Her prayer life was powerful, even as a child. After she escaped to the North and began making forays back into the South to help bring others out of slavery, friends would caution her against it. “Harriet, there’s a reward on your head—dead or alive. Aren’t you afraid?” She brushed off their fear and explained that she believed God had called her to help rescue her people; therefore, He would protect her. When her job was done, He would take her home to heaven, so what was there to fear? Wow, what a dynamic woman of God! I also learned that her achievements went far beyond rescuing slaves, though that’s what she’s best known for. She also served as a spy for the Union Army, worked as a nurse, and opened a home for indigent elderly former slaves. She died there herself in her mid-nineties, and the entire town flew their flags at half-mast in her honor.
Tell us a little more about the contemporary story in The Moses Quilt. The majority of the contemporary story is set just outside San Francisco. Mazie is white and deeply in love with Edward, an African-American lawyer who adores her and wants to marry her but tries to be respectful of her hesitation to make a commitment. What he doesn’t know is that Mazie is disturbed by what she considers secrets in her family’s past, secrets that begin to be unraveled as her great-grandmother, Mimi, tells her and Edward the story behind her Moses quilt, which she bought years earlier in Gee’s Bend, Alabama, a little town famous for its quilts. Edward thought he knew everything there was to know about Harriet Tubman, who had always been somewhat of a hero to him, but Mimi’s story opens up new avenues of discovery for both the young people in this relationship—and takes them straight back to the quilt’s origin in Gee’s Bend.
This sounds like more than just a “feel-good” story. Can it be used as a study book in some way? Absolutely! The Moses Quilt can be read as a study book for individuals or used as a discussion/study book for groups.
Video trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p7Ku5tygrMs
* New Hope Publishers sent me this book through the Book Club Network, who asked me to review it.