Monday, December 13

A Quilter's Holiday - Jennifer Chiaverini

Elm Creek Quilts has new faces, and as Thanksgiving approaches the final touches to the Manor are being made, in anticipation of the unofficial beginning of quilting season, which starts the day after Thanksgiving.
When Sylvia and her sister Claudia were children, Claudia's less meticulous basketwork became the focal point of a Bergstrom Thanksgiving ceremony - each family member would put something in the wicker cornucopia and, over dinner, as each item was withdrawn its owner would tell the story of how their object represented what they were grateful for that year.
While clearing out cupboards on the century-plus old kitchen, new chef Anna discovers an openwork basket, and another Elm creek tradition is reborn. The quilters have much for which to be thankful, and in A Quilter's Holiday they share their stories.
In this third holiday-themed Quilt novel, Chiaverini's technique is as adept as always, and her palette of well-rounded, flawed but good-hearted women is as rich as usual. However, most likely because I've been rushing before year's end to make my way through the series before our self-imposed ban/drastic reduction of library books takes place, I'm feeling a little tired of the characters and the stories. Some of the elements - like Sylvia and Claudia's childhood antagonism - feel like they should be resolved already. And, to be wholly contrary, I also felt faintly irritated by the neat wrapping up of other aspects, like Diane's relationship with her sons, and Gretchen's charity work.
There are certainly some lovely moments, including the resolution for Sylvia of some of her curiosity about her favourite cousin Elizabeth's life after leaving Pennsylvania (revealed in the novel before this, The Quilter's Homecoming). And, as I say, I suspect much of the dissatisfaction comes from the reader rather than a fault with the author. I have only one more Quilt novel to go, and I think a break will be the best thing for my connection witht he series. - 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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