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1937/1953/1975/1999/2017 – Canada
When his father dies during the Great Depression, Ray Matthews is forced to drop out of art school to support his mother and sister as a jigsaw puzzle artist. Ray has only one painting he vows never to sell: the portrait of his beloved sweetheart. When pressured to break his oath, Ray sends the painting off with a promise and a prophecy. Through eight decades, the puzzle of the beautiful girl at the wishing well passes through four households, deeply affecting each without ever being fully completed.
When Leesha Pennington’s weekly treasure hunt at her local thrift shop produces an old jigsaw puzzle that might be worth something, she adds it to her shopping cart despite the old man’s mysterious warning: “Be careful with that one. Some puzzles don’t like to be solved.” Her decision sets in motion a chain of events that causes all five stories to converge.
With powerful themes of family relationships and self-sacrifice, this story is part allegory/part metaphor, rooted in real life.
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1941 – Canada/China
Forgiveness is the deadliest force on earth.
War might be raging overseas, but Rose Onishi is on track to fulfill her lifelong goal of becoming a concert pianist. When forced by her government to leave her beloved home in Vancouver and move to the Canadian prairie to work on the Thornes’ sugar beet farm, her dream fades to match the black dirt staining her callused hands. Though the Thorne family is kind, life is unbearably lonely. In hopes that it might win her the chance to play their piano, Rose agrees to write letters to their soldier son.
When Rusty Thorne joins the Canadian Army, he never imagines becoming a Japanese prisoner of war. Inside the camp, the faith his parents instilled is tested like never before. Though he begs God to help him not hate his brutal captors, Rusty can no longer even hear the Japanese language without revulsion. Only his rare letters from home sustain him—especially the brilliant notes from his mother’s charming helper, which the girl signs simply as “Rose.”
Will Rusty survive the war only to encounter the Japanese on his own doorstep? Can Rose overcome betrayal and open her heart? Or will the truth destroy the fragile bond their letters created?
1934 – Canada
In the dead-end Canadian town of Bleak Landing, twelve-year-old Irish immigrant Bridget O’Sullivan lives in a ramshackle house and dreams of another life, even as the Great Depression rages. Routinely beaten by her father and bullied by schoolmate Victor Harrison, the waifish yet fiery redhead vows to run away and never return. Just a few short years later, run she does—fleeing the unspeakable repercussions of her father’s gambling. In Winnipeg, Bridget lands a job at a garment factory, the first step on her journey to shed her past and begin anew.
When her father dies, Bridget—now a striking and accomplished woman—returns home to claim her inheritance. But she has no identification to prove her stake, and no one in town recognizes her—except Victor, who has become a pastor and a candidate for town mayor. Though war has wounded him, his secret affection for Bridget remains, and now he’s the only one who can help her prove her integrity. But can he also prove he’s a changed man worthy of her forgiveness?
As Victor preaches of freedom in faith, will his words spark Bridget’s once-hopeless heart and lead her to the life she’s been seeking?