Review: A Bride Sews with Love in Needles, CA by Erica Vetsch

When her brother is injured fighting in France, Meghan enlists her fellow Harvey Girl waitresses to sew a Red Cross signature quilt to raise money for wounded doughboys. Local horse breeder Caleb McBride longs to join the battle, but the army won’t take him. Because he has kept his shameful infirmity a secret, the townsfolk have labeled him a coward and war profiteer. When Meghan uncovers his malady, her poor opinion of Caleb unravels. Can this beautiful seamstress find a way to mend his heart?

The day before writing this review, I went to the mailbox and pulled out an ad booklet from a local Christian bookstore and a bunch of envelopes. The first couple were credit card offers [yeah, haven’t used one of those in about 10 years…] followed by EOBs from our insurance company. I thought “Man, I wish I could get something nice in the mail – books are nice, but a letter would be really cool, too.”

I flipped to the next envelope and, lo and behold, it was from Erica. Her first ever newsletter, complete with bookmarks for both this book and her four-in-one collection of novellas, Sagebrush Knights, due out early next month.

/big happy sigh/

Totally made my day.

I’d finished this book the day before the newsletter arrived and thoroughly enjoyed it [yes, that’s a phrase I use often when reviewing books – but I only offer to review books I expect to like].

Meghan is wonderfully stubborn and feisty and impetuous. This can get her into trouble more often than not [don’t those kind of traits get to all of us sometimes?] and she’s set to raise $1000 for the Red Cross to use to buy an ambulance.

She’s a Harvey Girl – and I loved learning about them. I’d heard of them before but didn’t know near as much about them as I do now. Meghan’s boss is a hard-nosed woman who gives little room for error and seems to have it in for Meghan from the very beginning.

Caleb [and his sidekick, Joshua – loved that!] trains horses for the cavalry. He’s branded as a coward for failing to enlist in the military but still profiting off it with the horses. He has his reasons – great ones – for not enlisting and none have anything to do with being a coward*.

Erica does a wonderful job of pulling us into the world of Needles and the Harvey restaurants along the route. When the Spanish influenza hits Needles, they all pull together and begin to put aside their differences. Will they continue to do so as she tries to raise the money for the Red Cross? Or will long-held prejudices derail her efforts?

This is Erica’s second full length novel [the rest of her works are either Heartsong Presents or novellas] and I hope we get many more from her in the future.

Overall rating: 8 out of 10 stars

Thanks to the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for this review.
*Ironically, in both this book and last week’s Sleigh Belles, the hero wants to enlist for WWI but can’t due to health issues.