Infamous murderess Grace Marks has been imprisoned for many years in 19th-century Canada. Now she sits over her sewing — mainly quilts — and tells her story to a doctor who tries to discover once and for all if she is innocent or guilty. So does the reader, for Grace is as slippery a narrator as they come.
Happenstance has the unusual distinction of being two short novels published at different times and later sandwiched together. It tells the story of a husband and wife during a five-day period when she goes to a quilting convention, leaving him at home with their teenage children. Part 1 is from his point of view; part 2, hers.
The story of a 19th-century African American woman and her daughters coping with slavery and its aftermath, and the terrible things that have to be done to secure freedom, Beloved is at times almost too painful to read. But a patchwork quilt made of black, blue, brown and gray wool brings comfort of a sort to the characters and the reader.