The Key on the Quilt / by Stephanie Grace Whitson. 6/13/2013

The Key on the Quilt / by Stephanie Grace Whitson

Adult, rating: 5. Paperback.

The Key on the Quilt by Stephanie Grace Whitson is one of the books in the series The Quilt Chronicles. This book weaves a story of three women brought together in the Nebraska State Penitentiary in 1876. Jane Prescott is hiding a terrible secret while serving a ten-year prison sentence. Mamie Dawson feels it is God’s plan for her to perform the job as a prison matron. Ellen McKenna doesn’t know how to interact with the women even though she is the warden’s wife. These women develop an unlikely friendship.

With the help of an old friend, Dr. Max Zimmer, the truth about Jane’s case comes out. When everyone learns the real story, Mamie, Ellen, and even the warden, Ian McKenna, fight very hard for Jane’s release. Jane is thankful to have so many people support her and to receive a second chance. Mamie presents  ideas to the warden in hopes of creating activities for the women. These ideas include planting gardens, quilting, and even learning to read. The warden has a tough job of overseeing the prison, but he makes time to listen to all of Mamie’s suggestions and encourages Ellen to participate in the new programs. With the help of Ellen, these women embrace their new opportunities. There are people that present obstacles in Mamie’s plans for her girls. But these three headstrong women continue to pray and maintain their faith in God.

This work of fiction illustrates everyday life in the women’s prison in 1876. The book is very well-written and shows a clear connection between the three women and their choices.  Each of the women finds love, even when they lease expect it.

Trina Chase

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