Patchwork Love Delivers Empowering Message

November 30, 2017, Arkadelphia, Arkansas – Linda Lou Burton’s novel, Patchwork Love, a powerful story of courage, and community, newly released by McNutt Street Books, is now available at

Burton wastes no time moving the reader into the traumas of a death, a kidnapping, a rape. Who are these wounded people she presents, and why should we care about them? “It all started with the abandoned kitten I found under a bush,” the author explains. “Her trauma was so severe I began thinking about the people we hear about every day that have been abused, abandoned, or hurt in some way. Emma Donoghue’s book Room is a good example of the horror, and yet the power of love to overcome such tragedy.”

Burton’s research came up with some astounding numbers – strong evidence suggests that 63,000 children a year are the victims of sexual abuse, 34% of those under the age of 12. Statistics indicate that 1 in 6 females and 1 in 33 males have reported sexual assault. That adds up to over 30 million people in the United States, not counting those who continue to hold on to their secret. How do people move forward from that, she wondered, and how can I tell their story? Characters began to show up in her mind – little Jonathan and Trish, children wounded and abandoned. Merit, the solitary writer hiding with his own grief in the back woods. Susie, a collie dog with a blunty eye covered by a leather patch. And they connected.

The resulting Patchwork Love is a tale that radiates with warmth, hope, and what it means to find your brave. “I tried to tell their story simply,” Burton says, “the way Kent Haruf does in Plainsong. Flawed we may be, but we don’t need to be perfect. To paraphrase what the Wizard explained to Dorothy and her friends, all of us possess courage, and wisdom, and a loving heart, we need only to believe in ourselves. We can choose, as my little white kitten finally did, to fully participate in life.”

“What Is Your Story?” is a feature in the non-fiction section of the book (p 331). Burton recounts the examples of abuse that were part of the storyline of Patchwork Love, and follows that with resources for those who need help, or know someone who does.

Also included are 20 Questions for Discussion (p 346), a Reading Group Guide.

Patchwork Love is published in the United States by McNutt Street Books.

ISBN 978-0999192801 / LOC 2017911090 / 350 pages

Cataloging General Fiction / Family Life / Mystery

Paperback $15.95 / Ebook $7.99 / Available @




Linda Lou Burton is always on the lookout for new adventures, new friends, and new stories. Burton has cast her net wide, traveling from the Arctic Circle to Antarctica, and living in all 50 states in a two-year Journey Across America. “I’m interested in how people feel about ‘home,’ wherever that may be,” she says, “and I’ve spent a lifetime listening, observing, exploring, and then sharing what I’ve learned.”

Born in Jasper, Alabama and newly settled in Arkansas, this University of Tennessee graduate and grandmother of eleven has been writing more than fifty years. Patchwork Love is her first novel, inspired by the tiny white kitten she found under a bush, and based on her observations of the aftermath of its abandonment. “It got me thinking about what happens to people who are mistreated. How do they move forward from that? We can’t choose what happens in the world around us, but we can choose how we respond. I believe that courage is the most important thing.”

Design Team

Andrew Shumate, a Seattle resident, is currently an honors student at the University of Washington, majoring in computer science. As a young child he had no use for coloring books, preferring instead to create his own scenarios and designs. His keenly perceptive mind visualized the two lost children against the scary unknowns for the cover of Patchwork Love. “It has a magical quality,” he says. Andrew also contributed to the interior formatting design of the book.

Jeffrey Shumate, a Tampa resident, is currently a research analyst with the Hillsborough County School District, where he has launched multiple public websites for community use. Jeffrey holds an MS in Management Information Systems from the University of South Florida, and used his technical skills to make the Patchwork Love cover happen. Always drawn to art and design, as a high school student one of his creations was displayed in the Tampa Museum of Art.


I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. Robert Frost, The Path Not Taken

Linda Lou Burton is a fearless explorer, always on the lookout for new adventures, new friends, and new stories. In her travels from the Arctic Circle to Antarctica, she photographed the Midnight Sun on the first day of summer at each end of the Earth – in the same year! She also crossed the Andes in a taxi, conversed eye-to-eye with penguins on their rocky turf, tracked polar bears (in a Hummer with a guide, of course), and had a quick breakfast at the northernmost McDonalds in the world.

In her two-year Journey Across America (2012-2013) with her traveling cats Alex the Crabby Tabby, and big black Jack, aka El Grande Lovebug, she lived in the capital cities in all 50 states, connecting with thousands as she gained an insider’s perspective on how people feel about “home,” wherever that might be.

Born in Jasper, Alabama and newly settled in Arkansas with blue-eyed Katy cat, Burton claims two more places as home.

“During twenty years of living alongside the Tennessee River in Chattanooga I raised three sons, earned a BS in Psychology from the University of Tennessee and taught writing there, owned a publications business, wrote a weekly column for The Chattanooga Times, and authored Chattanooga Great Places and other guidebooks.

I lived in Seattle, with snow-capped Mt Rainier in view just to the south, for almost a quarter century, where I studied both Communications and History at the University of Washington and worked on staff there, operated the Golden Apple B & B, and welcomed eleven amazing grandchildren into my life.

I came to Arkansas because my brother found a journal kept by our third great-grandfather William Irwin, who led a party on an ill-fated attempt to emigrate from Alabama to Texas in 1849. Their journey sadly ended here in wooded graves, but my new Arkansas home – a historic house smack dab between two universities – feels to me like a good place to dig more deeply into history, to reflect and spin the stories out.”

Burton now chairs Capital Cities USA, a nonprofit dedicated to humanities education, and invites students, teachers, researchers, and everyone interested in learning about the United States to visit the Capital Cities website.

Burton’s next travel adventure involves visiting world capitals – beginning with the northernmost capital in the world, Reykjavik, Iceland, and the southernmost, Wellington, New Zealand. Her next writing project is a social studies book for children titled Bobby’s Absolutely Amazing Adventures in the Capital Cities.

Patchwork Love is her first novel, available now at in both paperback and ebook format, to be followed by a fictionalized account of the Irwin journey that ended so tragically in Arkansas in 1849 with ten deaths, based on journals and letters kept through the ages. The focus will be on the survivors – two pregnant women, a four-year-old girl, and a slave named Penny.