THE MASTER QUILTER by Jennifer Chiaverini


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In this sixth of a series (a project that has spawned a quilting book and a line of Elm Creek fabrics), fans will find a pastiche of melodrama, female empowerment, and, of course, a quilting project.

Elm Creek Manor, the ancestral home of Sylvia Compson, has become a thriving school and meeting place for quilters. Sylvia is the guiding spirit of the operation, though she has the help of her eight co-owners, friends and confidants who run the school. This time, the story is centered on these friends, allowing each a chapter, though each quilter’s narrative covers the same time-frame and events. Sarah begins, secretly arranging a wedding quilt for Sylvia and her dapper new husband Andrew. The old couple eloped, and Sarah is asking former Elm Creek students each to send in a block for the quilt. Summer, the youngest member, then takes up the storyline, struggling with how to tell her mother Gwen (also an Elm Creek Quilter and a university professor) that she has moved in with her boyfriend. Given that Summer is almost thirty, it seems an odd dilemma, but when Gwen does find out, she’s livid that her daughter is sacrificing her independence to a man. We soon learn Gwen has problems of her own. Expecting to be named chair in her department, she’s passed over because of the seriousness of her academic research (or perceived lack thereof) in, you guessed it, quilting. The most charged chapter belongs to Bonnie. Her husband has changed the locks on their home, drained their bank account, and is trying to sell their condo to an unscrupulous developer. If that’s not enough, Bonnie’s beloved fabric store is robbed and vandalized, with the thief (who may be someone she knows) stealing all of the blocks sent in for Sylvia’s wedding quilt. Never fear, all turns out well in Elm Creek country.

Fans will love the further development of the Elm Creek characters, though others may find the plotting a bit staid.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2004
ISBN: 0-7432-3615-7
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2004


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