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Book Beat – Pieces of the Heart by Bonnie Calhoun

One of the reasons I enjoy writing about World War II is the vast range of stories to be told. In Pieces of the Heart, Bonnie Calhoun takes a look at the African-American experience at home and abroad.

Cordelia Grace has a comfortable life in Pennsylvania and enjoys a close relationship with her grandmother, who is stitching a Pinecone Quilt for Cordelia, folding a prayer into each quilt piece. Cordelia falls in love with handsome Bernard Howard, whose home life is a lot less idyllic than Cordelia’s. However, their young marriage is disrupted by World War II. Bernard is sent to New Caledonia, where he faces discrimination he is unaccustomed to as a Northerner. Meanwhile, Cordelia’s world at home is turned upside-down. But when Bernard returns, Cordelia finds him changed by war and haunted by what he’s seen. Will Bernard and Cordelia find strength in the faith of her grandmother, stitched into the Pinecone Quilt?

A fresh look at the World War II era, Pieces of the Heart by Bonnie Calhoun reveals a slice of the African-American experience, from the appalling segregation of the US armed forces to the surprising discrimination within the black community. Cordelia and Bernard’s love story is stitched on this historical background with colorful characters and fine craftsmanship. A story to treasure.