Author: Marie Bostwick

Publisher: Kensington Books

ISBN: 978-0-7582-6929-4

Fans of an established series will rush to learn the back story when a popular author releases a prequel to an existing story line. Alternatively, new readers can be enticed into reading an entire series by being introduced through the prequel. Either way, Marie Bostwick’s Between Heaven and Texas, the first glimpse into one of the recurring characters in her Cobbled Court Quilt Series, is sure to draw readers both old and new.

This inaugural story about the residents of Too Much, Texas, puts into context the indomitable Mary Dell Templeton, whose life interweaves with the women of the series from New Bern, Connecticut. It is here that the reader learns about the birth of Mary Dell’s son, Howard, and how she and her sister, Lydia Dale, start their quilt shop. Although useful to readers of the series who have admired Mary Dell, the book is perfect on its own, as Bostwick has indicated that she intends with all her titles.

It is Bostwick’s character development that makes her writing most appealing. There’s so much to like about the main character, Mary Dell. She’s spunky, tough as leather, with a big heart and a sense of humor. Other family members leap off the page as well, with their problems and quirks that make each of them seem like neighbors we know. Although there are flaws associated with these people, they are also blessed with redeeming features that are brought to bear on the action.

The Templetons are Texas ranchers. Bostwick has used quite reliably her own experience living in Texas to bring out the richness of the state’s landscape and some of the troubles that plague ranchers and farmers, no matter where they live. Through colorful descriptions, it is easy to envision the family’s landholdings, the stark conditions of the livestock and crops when the weather doesn’t cooperate, and the rugged work that’s involved in managing a large operation.

Another aspect of this book that was impressive was the author’s deft handling of the subject of children with Down’s syndrome. Without standing on a soapbox or becoming preachy, she addresses attitudes and beliefs about the condition that are instructive and insightful. The reader gains some clarity through the actions and feelings of Mary Dell and how she handles hurtful ignorance, even when it comes from her own family members.

Lucky the reader who is hooked on this series, as there are five titles already published, with the promise of more on the way.


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