This latest installment of the Elm Creek Quilts novels is a stale companion piece to 2005’s The Christmas Quilt.
It’s just days after the Christmas Eve marriage of Sylvia and Andrew, and the two are driving from their home at Elm Creek Manor (Sylvia’s family home now turned into a prestigious retreat for quilters) to visit Andrew’s daughter Amy. The wedding was a surprise to the Elm Creek community, but the two have yet to tell Amy, who is adamant that Andrew and Sylvia are too old to marry. While driving from Pennsylvania to Hartford (with a couple of days in Manhattan in between), Sylvia works on a New Year’s Resolution quilt as a gift for Amy, and considers past resolutions she’s made and broken, and the lessons learned. Sylvia recalls the warmth of the holiday season of her childhood, with the women of the family sewing, cooking and laughing, and also remembers the contentious relationship with her older sister Claudia (the pair’s strained relationship grew to its breaking point over a perceived betrayal, which kept Sylvia stubbornly away from Elm Creek for 50 years). The first holiday after her mother died, the deprivations of the Depression, the tragedy of her husband’s death during World War II, the genuine sisterhood of quilting—all these episodes were touched on in The Christmas Quilt and are expanded on here, though little new insight is added. When Andrew and Sylvia arrive in Hartford they are given the icy reception they expect, though after a few heartfelt talks, all is right in Elm Creek country.
Many of the Elm Creek novels provide appealing and original characters set within enjoyable plots, but this feels recycled and written on autopilot.