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Saturday, December 29, 2007

The Master Quilter...Review

About the book:
The Master Quilter opens with the sound of wedding bells ringing in the ears of the Elm Creek Quilters. The close-knit group can hardly believe that their own Sylvia Compson planned her holiday wedding to sweetheart Andrew in complete secrecy, without the help of even one of her friends. Eager to honor the newlyweds, the Elm Creek Quilters hasten to stitch a bridal quilt for their favorite Master Quilter. Until the time comes to unveil the surprise gift, they reason, Sylvia will be the one in the dark.

Such little white lies seem harmless enough, especially in the service of future happiness. Yet Elm Creek Manor, and the quilting retreat established there by the Elm Creek Quilters, thrives on the strength of women sharing their creativity, their challenges, and their dreams. Somehow, in the race to commemorate in Sylvia's bridal quilt all that they hold dear about her wisdom, skill, and devotion, they forget to give honesty its pride of place.

As the quilt blocks accumulate, the Elm Creek Quilters celebrate the joy of new beginnings and the ongoing success of their business until forces conspire to threaten their happiness and prosperity. Two among them falter in their personal relationships, yet they are too proud to share their pain. The financial problems of another leave the quilt project vulnerable to a malicious act that may prevent its completion. And as two others weigh the comfort of the present against dreams of a future far from Elm Creek Manor, closely guarded secrets strain the bonds of friendship with those who may be left behind.

Like the other Elm Quilt books, this one is heartwarming and easy to read. The same characters entertain you in this book, just as they do in the previous ones. At the end of the book, two quilters will go their separate ways, but their leaving is a natural progression to the ongoing saga and the personalities of the women.

The story is the same throughout the book, but each chapter is the same basic story told from the viewpoint of different people. At the end, it all comes together well, as you'd expect. Jennifer Chiaverini has a fantastic ability to capture the true essence of relationships, especially those of mother/daughter and friends. Predictable, but heartwarming all the same.

Read 12/07


  1. I found your blog by googling Chiaverini's name. I just read what was probably my 5th book of hers and was curious if anyone else has had the same reaction to the retelling (over and over) of the conflict of the two sisters. We are told that Claudia was the popular and pretty sister with the sunny disposition. But she seems snide, sulky and self-centered in every story in which she appears. Am I the only one who sees it this way? And why is Sylvia always being made to apologize for every disagreement? and even worse, why does she feel guilty about leaving after the horrible way she was treated. I really would like to know what you or any of your readers think. Thanks. Bernie Bear

  2. Thanks for commenting! I don't know that I have any other readers to comment on this thread, but you pose an interesting question. I just finished Sugar Camp Quilt which is the 7th book in the series. I had noticed the issue with Claudia but, honestly, I really hadn't thought much of it. I think that Chiaverini has shown a bit of reality in that time sometimes dims our perceptions. In The Quilter's Legacy, we see the story of Sylvia's mother and we see the preferential treatment that Claudia received because of her mother's guilt at her serious childhood illness. Perhaps Sylvia always remembered that her sister seemed privileged and special and that is why she remembers her sister as pretty and popular even though she really wasn't.

    I also think that when Sylvia realizes how difficult things were for those at Elm Creek after she left, she naturally feels guilty, especially when she realizes how poorly her sister and brother-in-law managed everything. In the Quilter's Legacy, this is more apparent than ever when she searches for her mother's heirloom quilts that her sister sold.

    As the books go along and she learns about forgiveness (i.e., reconciling with Agnes), I think her regrets are a natural form of guilt. I never felt that she was being made to feel guilty.