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A Sky Without Stars: Quilts of Love Series…
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A Sky Without Stars: Quilts of Love Series

by Linda S. Clare

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I think I should have read the synopsis a bit better before I started reading this book. LOL!

It took me about three chapters to really get into it but confusion was a big part of that. I will tell you I was intrigued by the time I read through the second paragraph.

Not having been alive during that time myself, I can’t say with absolute certainty that the writing is accurate but it certainly rings true.

It was a bit of a difficult read for me actually – I am part Cherokee but that was never a problem for me. My problem was being poor.

My mother was determined to live in the best part of town that we could possibly afford and so we went to school with children who were firmly seated in upper middle class or lower upper class at the very most. And you can guess there were plenty of young girls who were happy to torment a big-boned girl who cared nothing for makeup or fashion and would rather bury her nose in a book while sitting high in a tree – than just about anything else.

And that is why I can say that the parts of this book that talk about bullying are very true to life. I sincerely hope that Linda S. Clare does not write from experience but you wouldn’t be able to tell if she didn’t. It’s very realistic.

Disclaimer: I received this book free in exchange for an honest review. ( )
  JCMorrows | Aug 25, 2015 |
I, too, was raised to believe that anything made by hand is a gift of love. Making a quilt is a long-term project that requires patience, artistry and determination to see it through to completion. Frankie Chasing Bear, a Lakota, who has been widowed, picks up stakes and moves to Arizona with her son. She is running from memories of a bad marriage. She brings with her the quilt she is making for boy. His behavior is not the best and he is accused of stealing at his new school among other petty crimes. Frankie finds the way to reach her son with the help of a new love. This book paints a portrait of the early 1950's in the southwest and the problems facing Native Americans. My thanks to the author and Goodreads for a complimentary copy. ( )
  musichick52 | Jul 2, 2014 |
Where I got the book: ARC provided by publisher. This review first appeared on the Historical Novel Society website and in the February 2014 issue of the Historical Novels Review.

I felt that a much bigger novel was struggling to get out of the pages of this inspirational romance from the Quilts of Love series. It’s 1951, and Frankie Chasing Bear is a Lakota widow with a young son, Harold, trying to forge a new life near Phoenix, Arizona. The odds are stacked against them: poverty, prejudice, an Indian School system designed to stamp out tradition, and the heavy hand of the Bureau of Indian Affairs. When chance brings a meeting with Nick Parker, Frankie is wary; he is a half-breed, a BIA agent, and a Christian, all reasons for Frankie and Harold not to trust him.

With all these threads and elements in the novel, there is much to interest the reader beside the romance and the quilting theme, which centers around the Lakota Star quilt Frankie is making for her son. The main subplot wraps up a little too quickly, and the spiritual thread is perhaps insufficiently explored, but overall this is an interesting and unusual variation on the themes of love and spiritual growth. ( )
  JaneSteen | May 23, 2014 |
A Sky Without Stars by Linda S. Clare
Love this series and learning all the patterns and what they really stand for. This one is exceptional as it's about the Indians and God and how they came to trust the stars. Love the saying : a bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars, and so the book begins.
This book follows Frankie and her son Harold. They have left SD and landed in Arizona that was as far as the truck would get them. They had plans to head to LA and the government was gonna relocate them, get them a place to stay and jobs.
The story also follows Nick who works for the bureau of Indian affairs and is a Lakota himself-same as Frankie and Harold. Harold wants to get back to Pine Ridge because that's where his father's spirit is. Nick had to intervene when Harold showed up at his place trying to hotwire his truck, all beat up.
He dreams of Frankie sewing his grandmother's Lakota quilt that his ex wife gave to him during the divorce.
Their paths cross often, Harold is always in trouble with fighting, and Nick is around to help sort things out, get them through it.
The Navajo fair sounds very much like the one we attended in Ohio several years ago. They each see things that make them realize change is upon them.
Different decisions for each one as they try to stay true to God and their Indian heritage... excerpt from Maybelle in Stitches, the next in the series is included at the end.
I received this book from Abingdon Press in exchange for my honest review. ( )
  jbarr5 | May 5, 2014 |
"Sew love into every stitch and remember: a bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars."

Frankie Chasing Bear is Lakota and raising her son, Harold, alone. Frankie lived with drunken men her entire life, her father and then her husband Hank, so she was very leery of men in general. She had a determination rarely seen. She wanted her son and herself to get an education and would do whatever it took to make it happen. She was a proud woman that embraced her heritage and wanted her son to embrace their heritage just as much. She wanted to do things on her own without help and she was very brave. She listened for her grandmother's wisdom in every situation and she had a habit of covering her mouth when she laughed or smiled because the Lakota women were taught that from early on. I admired Frankie. She was determined to finish the Lakota star quilt for her son because she knew in her heart it was an important aspect in her son's future. I loved Frankie's character and I would love to meet the real Frankie Chasing Bear.

Nick Parker is part Lakota and part white. In both worlds he is referred to as a "half breed". He works for the Bureau of Indian Affairs trying to convince the Navajo to become farmers and give up their sheep herds. Nick has ten years of sobriety but the urge to drink continues to hit him hard when tensions run high and he's frustrated over the beautiful Frankie Chasing Bear. I could feel Nick's battle raging inside of him when the urge to drink came and I smiled each time he won the battle. I loved Nick and the way he wanted to take care of Frankie and Harold. He had a protective nature and a great love of God where Frankie had a very hard time believing in the white man's God.

There were several aspects of this story I loved. First, God and Christianity were woven throughout the story in such a way as to get you thinking but it doesn't overtake the story. Second, the characters. Frankie and her son Harold, Nick and his friends, Monny and Reverend Honest Abe, Netty and Lucie. Third, I loved the storyline. The entire story was intriguing and engaging and I couldn't stop reading until I found out what would happen with Frankie, Harold and Nick. Finally, I loved the way quilting was such a big part of the story. For centuries quilting has been a huge part of some families and cultures. Quilting represents traditions, family and love and I think all three are very important. Frankie really struggled with trusting men because of her past but she struggled with trusting God even more. It was so great when she finally realized she needed to trust God for her son to come home safely but she also had to accept the fact that she needed help. Help from others because she couldn't do everything on her own. He character really blossomed by the end of the book. I really enjoyed this book. I have read a few other books in the Quilts of Love series and I enjoyed each of them immensely. If you love stories of faith and love, you'll love A Sky Without Stars. If you love quilting, you'll love this book. If you just love an entertaining story that keeps you turning the page, you'll love it also. I highly recommend this book!

Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review. The opinions expressed are mine alone. I received no monetary compensation for this review. ( )
  Wanda_Barefoot | Mar 30, 2014 |
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After her husband is killed, Frankie Chasing Bear wants a fresh start, a new way of life. But in 1951, that's not easy, especially for a Lakota woman. Frankie quickly learns that raising her son, Harold, to revere his Lakota heritage will be a challenge in the white man's world. Searching for a way for her son to respect his ancestors but also embrace a future of opportunity, she begins a Lakota Star-pattern quilt. As she tells him, "A bed without a quilt is like a sky without stars." But Frankie's determination is not without trouble. Federal Agent Nick Parker, for instance, is the last man Frankie wants to trust. He's not a true Lakota, and he's Christian. Will Frankie learn that love is the most important ingredient for her son's quilt, and life itself?… (more)

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