Desert Isle Keeper
Patterns of Love
I’m warning you, Patterns of Love is the worst kind of Romance. What, you say? Why, you ask? To begin with, there’s not one arrogant rogue, no heaving bosoms, no dysfunctional lust-crazed step-cousins lurking in the shadows bent on ravaging our feisty heroine, no forced seductions (ok, my favorite kind), nor any characters named Quirt or Gwyylthe. Instead, Patterns introduces us to people so credible, portrays a love story so sweet, you’ll believe it could really have happened. You’ll wish it had happened to you.
A simple story, simply told, Patterns makes you yearn for a simpler time, at the side of one of the most wonderful heroes you’ve ever met. Reminiscent in many ways of Willa Cather’s My Antonia, the folks in 1897 Uppsala, Iowa will sneak right into your heart, and you won’t want to let them go.
Inga Linberg is hired by Dirk Bridger, an unmarried man in desperate need of a housekeeper. For all her twenty-two years, Inga has assumed she will never marry, but will instead be her father’s helper in his ministerial works. She believes this is God’s destiny for her and to ask for more (a man, love, marriage, babies) would be a sin. Stepping completely out of character, sensible Inga makes a snap decision to leave her family and go to work for Mr. Bridger. But, when she falls in love with her handsome employer and begins to spin “what if” dreams, she feels a tremendous amount of guilt over what she considers “wanting too much.”
At twenty-seven, Dirk Bridger’s own dreams were shattered when his brother and sister-in-law were drowned, leaving Dirk a dairy farm to run and two young nieces to raise. Now, two years later, he is also responsible for the care of his ailing mother.
Dirk had been one to dream big dreams about traveling the world, never getting tied down to one place, never marrying. But he leaves all that behind the day he returns to Iowa to take up where his brother had left off. Never one to shirk responsibilities, nonetheless, in his heart Dirk is bitter and angry at having been forced to put off his own desires to keep his brother’s legacy going. But he is not one to take out his bitterness on his nieces or mother. Dirk directs his anger inward. He views his life as one grand failure after another, and it tears him apart. He is a kind and decent man with whom Inga and I (gasp, did I say that?) could not help but fall in love.
Circumstances that move through real lives touch Inga and Dirk’s: If there’s one thing you can say about life, it’s that “things” happen . . . good things, bad things, things that shape our relationships and impact our families. Kindnesses and hurts, joys and sorrows, issues we bring with us and challenges thrust upon us. Patterns of Love is basically the story of how two very hurt, very lonely people find each other amidst all the layers, and how hearts can be healed through the power of genuine love.
Patterns of Love is not the kind of romance I usually read, so it is a testament to Ms. Hatcher’s skill that I picked up this book and did not put it down until I had finished it. And, when I finally did, that I regretted I could not look out my kitchen window and wave to Inga and Dirk, Martha and Suzanne, the Linbergs, the Dolks, Dr. Swenson, Karl and Thea, or the rest of the wonderful population of Uppsala, Iowa. Go meet these folks for yourself. And if you end up with a little smile on your lips, a gentle tugging in your heart, or a few sentimental tears in your eyes, ja, don’t say I didn’t warn you.