Tuesday, March 16

Round Robin - Jennifer Chiaverini

Elm Creek Manor has become known as a great retreat for quilters new and experienced - women come from all around the US to spend a week focusing on technique, reinvigorating their creativity, and making friends with like minded new friends. And the enterprise has spelled success for the Elm Creek Quilters, who pitch in as teachers for various sessions.
the women decide to make a Round Robin quilt - each woman contributes to the boarder of a central piece. And as each member of the group works on her piece her life significantly changes. From infidelity to a change in relationship with a son, from illness to conflict between mothers and daughters, the quilt reflects the women's lives.
The Quilter's Apprentice, the first book in this series, had its share of conflict, but most of that centred around Sylvia Compton, who fell out first with her town and then with her sister and sister-in-law, in the years of the Second World War. In Round Robin the other women's rocky relationships are exposed, revealing long hidden truths, assumptions and hurts.
Chiaverini portrays these layered emotions and events beautifully, no better than in the relationship between Sarah and her mother - the past is very present, not only for Sarah who, like many adult children, is holding on to slights from her adolescence and childhood, but also for Carol. We see how, in her determination not to be her mother, Carol becomes a different kind of unsatisfactory mother and how, in her eagerness to spare her child the pain she endured, she has driven her daughter away by imposing over her son-in-law a picture of her husband.
This is a very fine, readable, accessible but complex novel that manages to satisfy and warm. Not everything is resolved, not everything ends harmoniously, but I came away from Round Robin not only at peace but also filled with resolution to approach my own familial relationships with more honesty. - 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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