printed copy

Ties That Bind: A Cobbled Court Quilts Novel #5

Marie Bostwick

ISBN 9780758269287
Publish Date 4/24/2012
Format Trade Paperback
Categories Women's Fiction, Kensington, Series, General
List Price: $15.00

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In her compelling, beautifully crafted novel, New York Times bestselling author Marie Bostwick celebrates friendships old and new—and the unlikely threads that sometimes lead us exactly where we need to be…

Christmas is fast approaching, and New Bern, Connecticut, is about to receive the gift of a new pastor, hired sight unseen to fill in while Reverend Tucker is on sabbatical. Meanwhile, Margot Matthews’ friend, Abigail, is trying to match-make even though Margot has all but given up on romance. She loves her job at the Cobbled Court Quilt Shop and the life and friendships she’s made in New Bern; she just never thought she’d still be single on her fortieth birthday.

It’s a shock to the entire town when Phillip A. Clarkson turns out to be Philippa. Truth be told, not everyone is happy about having a female pastor. Yet despite a rocky start, Philippa begins to settle in—finding ways to ease the townspeople’s burdens, joining the quilting circle, and forging a fast friendship with Margot. When tragedy threatens to tear Margot’s family apart, that bond—and the help of her quilting sisterhood—will prove a saving grace. And as she untangles her feelings for another new arrival in town, Margot begins to realize that it is the surprising detours woven into life’s fabric that provide its richest hues and deepest meaning…

“This is one very talented writer…watch her star rise!” --Debbie Macomber

Discussion Questions

1. The story opens on Margot’s fortieth birthday—an occasion she’d just as soon ignore. What about you? Do you like celebrating birthdays, or do you prefer to let them slip by unnoticed? What do you enjoy about getting older? What aspects of aging do you dislike or perhaps even fear?

2. We all know that there’s no such thing as a perfect family, and Margot’s is no exception. To the extent that you feel comfortable doing so, share some insights about your family. What did your parents do right? What do you wish they’d done differently? If you’re a parent, how did your childhood experiences shape the way you raised or are raising your children?

3. Margot and her sister, Mari, were close as children, but when they got older, they became estranged. What changed their relationship? Was there anything they could or should have done to help heal it? If you have siblings, do you have a close relationship with them? Why or why not? If you’re an only child, have you ever wished you had siblings? What do you imagine the benefits or strains of having brothers or sisters might be?

4. After Reverend Tucker becomes ill, the church board hires Reverend Clarkson to fill in for him while he recovers, not realizing that “he” is actually a “she” until Philippa arrives in New Bern. Some of the characters seem bothered that their new minister is a woman, while others feel her sex is immaterial to her ability to serve as their minister. What do you think accounts for the difference in their attitudes? If you attend a church, does your denomination allow women to serve as clergy? Do you think that this is a good idea or not? If you belong to a denomination that doesn’t ordain female ministers, do you think they should?

5. Philippa had a number of careers before finally responding to the call to ministry. Why do you think it took her so long to do so? Have you ever changed career paths? Tell the group about your experiences. What was difficult about it? What was easier than you thought it would be? If you could do it over again, would you? And if you’ve never changed careers, do you wish you could?

6. People deal with grief and loss in very different ways. Margot, her parents, her niece, and Philippa have each undergone a terrible loss at some point in their lives. How did their responses to grief differ? How were they similar? What does the manner in which they respond to loss say about their personalities? If you have ever grieved the loss of someone close to you, how did you get through it? Or are you dealing with it still? What are some of the things that people did or said that were helpful or harmful as you were grieving?

7. Margot has had many male friends in her lifetime, yet those friendships never seem to blossom into romance. Why do you suppose that is? Do you think that all those men were truly uninterested in Margot romantically? Could she have been sending out unconscious signals that she wasn’t interested in them?

8. Margot often says that she’s given up looking for “Mr. Right” and would happily settle for “Mr. Good Enough,” but do you think that’s true? How might Margot’s views about sex outside of marriage have affected her relationships with men? In our modern culture, is it realistic for a woman to wait until marriage before she experiences sexual intimacy?

9. Philippa and Margot both want children but, for different reasons, face obstacles to realizing that dream. Have you, or has someone you know, been faced with issues of infertility? What about life as a single parent? Do you think it is important for children to be raised in a two-parent home? What are the particular challenges of raising a child alone? Can you think of strategies that would make the job of being a single parent easier?

10. In talking about the attitude of the church congregation in New Bern, the book makes mention of “the 10–90 rule,” meaning that 10 percent of the people do 90 percent of the work. If you belong to a church or volunteer organization in your community, have you found this rule to be true? If you volunteer in your church or community, what are some of the benefits you’ve gained from that experience? What do you enjoy most about volunteer work? What do you like the least?

11. Geoff Bench’s intentions toward Margot are less than honorable. Margot feels uncomfortable around him from the first, but dismisses her own feelings and ignores her instincts. Why is that? Do you think this is a common reaction among women? Have you ever been in a similar situation? How did you respond? Did you trust your instincts, or try to ignore them? What do you think is the best way to confront someone you believe may be trying to harass you or make unwanted advances, especially if the harassment isn’t blatant?

12. When Margot first meets Paul, she could not find him less appealing. However, as the story progresses, her feelings toward him move from disinterest to friendship to true love. Do you think this is the usual way for romantic attachments to develop? Or do you believe in love at first sight? What about your story? If you’re married or in a meaningful romantic relationship, how did you come to know that this was the one for you? Did love hit you like a thunderbolt? Or was it a slow burn? Do you think one is better than the other?

About Marie Bostwick:

Marie Bostwick was born and raised in the northwest. In the three decades since her marriage, Marie and her family have moved frequently, living in eight different states at eighteen different addresses. These experiences have given Marie a unique perspective that enables her to write about people from all walks of life and corners of the country with insight and authenticity. Marie currently resides in Portland, where she enjoys writing, spending time with family, gardening, collecting fabric, and stitching quilts. Visit her at

Photo Credit: Lisa Sundell

Book Club Party Kit for The Promise Girls:

Celebrate Sisterhood by hosting a Promise Girls get together! Click below for your downloadable Book Club Party Guide, which includes activities, a menu and a suggested soundtrack – plus recipe cards for six of Marie Bostwick’s favorite drinks and dishes.

Download your Party Kit here:

Book Club Party Kit

Healthier Banana Bread

Joanie's Famous Lasagna

Seattle Style Mini Hot Dogs

Smoked Salmon Spread

The Tipsy Mermaid Mocktail

Seattle Sidecar


Average Customer Review

Based on 2 reviews

Customer Review

Ties That Bind - A Delightful Read! (Thursday, August 16, 2012)
Reviewer: Judy Burgi

I loved this book. I picked it up every chance that I could. This is the first book that I have read by Marie Bostwick; I know it won’t be the last. I loved how her characters made this book come to life. Her portrayal of each one fit perfect with her story line.

Margot Matthews was turning 40 and had hoped to let her birthday pass unnoticed. Her friends had other intentions. Life in New Bern, Connecticut fit her perfectly. She never regretted leaving the corporate world for a slower pace working for Evelyn the owner of Cobbled Court Quilts. Margot had made some wonderful friends since moving to New Bern. However, she thought she would be married with a family of her own by now. She figured that wasn’t in God’s plan for her and so she tried to accept life living single. Margot’s life starts to change drastically with the death of her sister.

Philippa Clarkson didn’t start out wanting to walk in her Father’s foot steps as a pastor. It wasn’t until after the death of her husband she accepted God’s calling and relocated to New Bern to temporary fill in as an intern pastor while the current pastor recovered from a heart attack. This would be Philippa’s first church. The pulpit committee was expecting a Philip A Clarkson the son of the well known pastor Philip R Clarkson. Needless to say it was a bit of a surprise to the pulpit committee when they found out that Philip was really Philippa.

This book is filled with love, acceptance, and forgiveness. I can’t forget to mention Grace, God’s Grace. While reading this book I went through many emotions. I was happy, sad, and angry. I had moments of laughing out loud and moments of crying. There are some tough issues and some tender moments. They were handled perfectly.

I highly recommend this book to everyone. My thanks to the author for writing a book that not only is a great read but one that sticks with you for awhile.

I wish to thank Kensington Publishers for sending me this book to read and review. The opinions expressed are mine alone.

“A Wonderful, Heartwarming, “Quilt-alicious” Tale (Saturday, April 21, 2012)
Reviewer: Nancy Narma

Ms. Bostwick has done it again! She has enticed me to New Bern, Connecticut to spend time with all of the beloved personalities of the Cobbled Court Quilt Shop. We are re-introduced to “The Lovebirds”; Evelyn and Charlie, the “Queen of Quilting”; Virginia, Madelyn, Tessa, Ivy, Wendy, and Dana just to name a few. It takes a little while to get reacquainted with Margot, but once you do, you will follow her as she attempts to mend family discord by inviting her estranged Sister; Mari (Mariposa) and Niece; Olivia, to join in Christmas Dinner with their Parents and some of Margot’s friends from the quilt shop. Sadly, this meets with heart-wrenching disaster and the start of a journey of self discovery that Margot had never anticipated. Many paths appear, including those of heartache and sorrow, frustrations with family, love found in the most unexpected places and a new sense of courage and self-esteem Margot never thought possible in this, her fortieth year. Along the way, she is reunited with ex-beau, commitment-shy; Arnie Kinsella , and is introduced to the “New guy in town”, the handsome and down-to-earth, divorced attorney; Paul Collier, who is also the father of introverted 11 yr. old son, James. Where does suave and too charming Geoff Bench figure into all of this? Or does Margot really want him to?? When Rev. Tucker suffers from a heart attack and has to be on sabbatical during his recovery, The New Bern Community Church Board chooses a temporary replacement for Rev.Tucker with the well-known and respected Pastor Philip Clarkson’s offspring, counting on awe-inspiring sermons when little do they know this will be the newbie’s first pulpit and, as the parishioners find out, is a person full of surprises! You will meet the wise Elder of the Church and Patriarch of his Family of Daughters; Waldo Smitherton, who dispenses love and advice as a physician would medicine—with kindness and caring. I was brought to tears several times throughout this tale as well as experiencing the frustration and hurt Margot endures. Oh, you’ll want to grab her by the shoulders and shake some sense into her as well as her stubborn, caustic Father and quiet-as-a-mouse Mother but many life lessons are learned along the rocky way. Try as I might, I could not postpone the inevitable—reaching the conclusion of this terrific story. I tried to make my journey to New Bern last as long as possible. As sad as I am as I close the cover on another unforgettable “quilt-alicious” experience, I am anxiously awaiting Marie’s next volume. Make room on your bookshelf for this is one you do not want to miss! Kensington ARC Nancy Narma

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