Patchwork

Ila Yount, Author
Ila Yount, Author Rutledge Hill Press $14.95 (216p) ISBN 978-0-934395-45-8
Reviewed on: 06/26/1987
Release date: 07/01/1987
This first novel is the quietly appealing story of Ellen and Will Johnston, settlers who migrated to the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina in the early 19th century, tamed the wilderness and raised seven children. The meticulously detailed family saga is recalled by their eldest daughter Nola, who, as the book opens, is celebrating her 100th birthday with scores of Johnston descendants. Will and Ellen assume almost mythic proportions and seem to be the embodiment of every virtue as they survive and prosper in a hostile environment. Will builds their cabin, tills the land, tends to the medical needs of his neighbor, is an exemplary husband and father, and becomes the only teacher at a school that he founds. Ellen, deeply religious and fiercely proud of her family, passes on her history and traditions not only orally, but through the quilts she stitches with her neighbors, quilts whose carefully selected patches represent the vital stages of their lives. The book's many episodes of pioneer life are narrated in the local dialect. Unfortunately, the predictable nature of most events imparts a final tone of overwhelming blandness. (July)
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