Sunday, March 21

The Cross-Country Quilters – Jennifer Chiaverini

When five women meet for the first time at Elm Creek Manor they anticipate a week of quilting - consolidation for some of them, a new learning experience for others. What they don't expect is that over the next twelve months they'll make lasting friendships, co-create a work of art, and all change their lives.
Julia is an aging actor in a world where age spells the end of her career. Used to the backstabbing and gossip of Hollywood, Julia cannot let anyone know her agent misled the producers of her only forthcoming project - a last ditch role in the promising project of a new writer means she has to learn how to quilt, and look as though she's been doing it all her life.
Megan has long loved quilting, though not as much as she loved her husband. His abandonment of her has been less painful that its affects on their son, and she's sworn off love for good.
Donna first met Megan through an online quilting group - now close confidants, she's both excited and anxious to meet her friend for the first time. But her anticipation of this week at Elm Creek Manor has been tempered by her fears for the daughter she raised to be independent and self-sufficient - nineteen year old Lindsay has gone from being one of the promising students of her freshman class to deciding to drop out in favour of marrying her boyfriend. Donna doesn't know him very well, but judging by his affect of her daughter, combined with her age and willingness to abandon a future of her own, she had grave concerns.
Grace is a noted quilter, interested in the history of the craft and renown for her own work. But she hasn't created anything new in over a year and a half - she says that her muse has fled, but the truth is far more sinister and, to Grace, too shameful to share even with her friends.
Vinnie has attended Elm Creek Manor every year, for a week around her birthday. The grand matriarch of a large family, she enjoys the time away from her beloved family, but is too used to meddling in the lives of her kin to abandon the habit on holiday.
The third in the Elm Creek Quilts series, The Cross-Country Quilters takes us a little away from the women running the Manor. The new characters and the interlaced plot are just as rewarding, however, and though a couple of the twists were unsurprising the journey itself is no less enjoyable for that.
I really like this series, and have to confess that I've already read the fourth in the series, which will be reviewed about a week from this entry - the domestic setting encompasses big themes and strong women, with meticulously crafted characters. The year is early but Chiaverini's already looking promising for my favourite newly encountered author of the year - Alex

The Elm Creek Quilt series:
1. The Quilter's Apprentice
2. Round Robin
3. The Cross-Country Quilters
The Runaway Quilt
5. The Quilter's Legacy
The Master Quilter
7. The Sugar Camp Quilt
8. The Christmas Quilt
9. Circle of Quilters
10. The Quilter's Homecoming
11. The New Year's Quilt
12. The Winding Ways Quilt
13. The Quilter's Kitchen

14. The Lost Quilter
15. A Quilter's Holiday
16. The Aloha Quilt

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