A Quilt of Dreams


Set in Grahamstown, South Africa, during 1990, at the height of political unrest and in the waning days of apartheid, A Quilt of Dreams is the bittersweet story of two people, strangers to each other whose lives are deeply intertwined – one a heavy-drinking white man and the other the young daughter of a black activist.

Reuben Cohen van Tonder battles with unresolved grief and his search for inner peace. Vita Mbuli innocently resolves to banish the bad luck that has plagued her family for generations. Unexpectedly for both, their private ambitions will culminate in a wondrous resolution of personal and national triumph. With the magic lyricism and deep insight that marked A Time of Angels, this novel captures the harsh and brutal realities and injustices of South Africa’s past, interlacing them with enchantment, tenderness, forgiveness and hope.

  • Listed in Exclusive Books HomeBru 2006
  • Longlisted for Sunday Times Fiction Award 2007




ISBN 978-0-06-056244-1
Published by African Sun Press
315 pages


Paperback: (UK and Commonwealth):

ISBN 978-0-552-77322-5 Published by Black Swan 368 pages


Hardcover: (UK & Commonwealth)

ISBN 0-5930-5531-4
Published by Bantam Press
315 pages


Hardcover: (USA & Canada)

ISBN-13: 978-0-06-056244-1 ISBM-10: 0-06-056244-7
Published by William Morrow
315 pages


“A compelling tale, providing a rich context for an extensive web of characters.”
~ Publishers’ Weekly
“An enthralling story, consummately told.”
~ Jacqui L’Ange. The Cape Times
“Patricia Schonstein has done it again: A Quilt of Dreams is characteristically opulent, textured and full of magic.”
~ Oprah Magazine
“Poignant and sensitive.”
~ The Good Book Guide
“Schonstein engages all the emotions in this raw and touching novel.”
~ Choice May 2006 (UK)
“A beautiful blend of narrative threads … told luminously … with Schonstein’s trademark touch of fantasy and lyricism.”
~ Wordsworth Books: Wordsworth Choice Volume 16
“Exquisitely written.”
~ Top Billing Magazine
“An opulent dark compulsive read.” (Four stars)
~ Jenny Crys Williams. Chic Lit for June 2006
“Exquisitely crafted … a small masterpiece … long may she continue to write.”
~ James Mitchell, The Star
“Beginnings seldom come better than the intriguingly detailed and masterfully spaced first paragraph of A Quilt of Dreams.”
~ James Mitchell, The Star
“A rich and complex piece of writing.”
~ Margaret von Klemperer, The Witness
~ Drum Magazine
“Patricia Schonstein has once more unleashed her magic.”
~ Anna Christensen, The Weekender 17 June 2006
“Brilliant and bittersweet.”
~ Julia Paterson, The Citizen 1 June 2006
“She writes so superbly about hope and redemption, you’ll wish there were more pages.” (Five stars)
~ Nikki Temkin, Heat 9 September 2006