New Series of Dual Timeline Novels Draws on the Time-Honored Skill of Quilting to Bridge Eras and Connect Generations
Author Cherie Dargan is celebrating the unveiling of her debut novel, The Gift, which released this month from WordCrafts Press. The first volume in the dual timeline Grandmother’s Treasures series is already creating excitment among fans and critics alike, as it claimed the Number 63 spot on Amazon.com’s Hot New Releases in World War II Historical Fiction chart and Number 80 on the online retailer’s Hot New Releases in Action and Adventure Romance chart.
The year is 2012. Gracie works at the county museum in Jubilee Junction, Iowa, where she is hard at work putting together an exhibit of historic quilts. She stuggles with an overbearing boyfriend who is pressuring her to leave her hometown and get a job near him in the big city, juggling three jobs to make ends meet, and trying to serve as peacemaker between her two elderly aunts who can’t seem to stay in the same room together without fireworks going off between them.
This dual timeline timeline adventure begins during a family reunion of sorts, when Gracie inherits a box of cassette tapes, a quilt, and the key to a family secret from from her Grandmother Grace. Gracie and her Aunt Violet listen to the tapes together and are transported back to the early 1940s, to the onset of World War 2, as the elder Grace narrates the tale of how she and her twin sisters, Violet and Vera, traveled from their ancestral home in Iowa to California to help with the war effort.
When Vera hears that Gracie has inherited the “California Quilt,” she will not rest until that relic from the past is destroyed.
“Cherie Dargan’s debut novel, The Gift, is just that—a gift,” declared Shelly Beach, award-winning author of Hallie’s Heart and co-founder of the Cedar Falls Christian Writers Workshop. “The book weaves themes of love, family secrets, broken hearts, as well as gifts of family, friendship, sacrifice, and community that bind us. The Gift offers a panoramic view of life during and after World War II and how it shaped the lives of those who fought and those who supported our troops at home. Dargan’s breakout novel is an excellent choice for those who love to read true-to-life stories about history, romance, redemption, and resilience—or who simply love a good book drawn from the pages of real life.”
“Quilt lovers will flock to this novel which offers mystery, love, betrayal, and family reconciliation played out in two connecting eras,” added Barbara Lounsberry, University of Northern Iowa Emerita Professor of English.
“Sometimes we need to be taken back in time. Life’s stresses may seem insurmountable, so it’s good to be reminded that those living in other eras endured extreme pressures also,” Amazon.com bestselling novelist Gail Kittleson said. “Cherie Dargan’s debut novel, The Gift, reminds us that “simpler times” may not have been so simple after all, and have much to offer our contemporary society.”
From the Novel:
It was late Monday evening when my cell phone rang with a number I didn’t recognize. I instantly regretted picking up as a familiar, unpleasant voice assaulted my ears.
“Gracie? This is your Great-Aunt Vera. My sister Violet moved into some fancy retirement place in town and cleaned out the farm house a few weeks back. I figure she gave you the big wicker basket and quilt.”
I exhaled. “Hello, Aunt Vera. It’s so nice of you to call.”
I heard her shrill bark of laughter and then her voice, harsh and insulting. “Yes, I’m sure you’re delighted. Now, look here. All the stuff in the basket belongs in the trash or better yet, the burn barrel—especially the California quilt. I don’t know what nonsense Violet is telling you, but I’d be happy to send you some money to ship the basket and quilt to me at my daughter’s house. Your grandma Grace had no sense at all giving the basket to you—it should have been mine!” she shouted.
I hung up the phone and waited a few minutes for my heart to stop pounding before making myself a cup of chamomile tea and calling Mom.
“Aunt Vera has such a nasty voice. I didn’t like the way she talked about her sisters. She told me that the things in Grandma Grace’s basket should all be burned, and we shouldn’t stir up the past. What is in that old wicker basket that could create such anger? And what exactly is the Calfornia Quilt?”
“The Gift has been in my heart/imagination for over a decade,” author Cherie Dargan muses. “My mother’s family tree goes back to the pioneer days of Iowa of the 1850s. She was the family historian and keeper of the family quilts. She once told me that, Every quilt has a story. The Gift tells a number of intertwining stories based on the experiences of my mother, Charlotte, and Aunt Jeanne during World War II. Charlotte taught in a one room schoolhouse for two years when she got an invitation to move to California to help her pregnant sister, Jeanne. She took the train to San Diego, worked at the Rohr Aircraft factory, where her brother-in-law, Wendell, worked, and helped with the new baby, Jimmy. Both my mother and aunt worked as riveters, building B-24 bombers. Along the way, she also met my father, but that’s another story!”
About the Author
Cherie Dargan is a retired Community College teacher who reinvented herself in retirement as an active volunteer, a writer, blogger, and family historian. She’s also a geek, who loves to play with and write about technology. She earned a B. A. from Buena Vista University, an M. A. from Iowa State University, and another M. A. from the University of Northern Iowa. She’s a member of the Cedar Falls Supper Club, and serves as a member and webmaster for the Ruth Suckow Memorial Association, as well as the Cedar Falls Authors Festival.