Saturday, December 18

The New Year's Quilt - Jennifer Chiaverini

In keeping with the first holiday-themed novel, and really with the series as a whole, The New Year's Quilt uses events from the past to direct activity int he present. In this case, newly-wed Sylvia tackles the distance of her new daughter-in-law, Amy. Amy has opposed the re-marriage of her elderly, widowed father since the idea was first mentioned, and the couple's impetuous Christmas wedding did little to allay her misgivings. With the memory of how her estrangement from her sister Claudia only ended with her death, Sylvia works harder than she's inclined to in order to get to the bottom of Amy's opposition and help her see that together she and Andrew are happier and safer than they are apart.
The writing's good, the characters are well crafted and three dimensional, and the plot is strong, but I'm losing a little interest in the series. I had two main issues with The New Year's Quilt: the first is that I'm starting to get heartily sick of the Sylvia/Claudia thing. I understand that the relationship itself, as well as the rift, was hugely significant and tells us a lot about Sylvia as a character, but it was a long time ago and she has other relationships, so make peace already.
The other, bigger, issue is Amy - I don't buy that her opposition to the marriage is because she's concerned Andrew will get hurt again, or will be lumbered with a dependent wife to nurse should Sylvia fall ill (with, the implication is, a degenerative age-related condition like Alzheimer's). I appreciate that one's first reaction may be a knee jerk of concern, sadness over one's mother being replaced in one's father's affection, or something similar. But to think your surviving parent would be better off alone than with someone he clearly loves, who gives every indication of loving him, and who's fit, well, emotionally stable and financially secure seems bizarre.
this, fairly sizable, quibble aside, The New Year's Quilt does what it ought to. Were I not caught between a need for completeism and a dawning ban on library borrowings I think I'd space this series out more widely, and no doubt increase my enjoyment similarly. - 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

No comments: