THE QUILTER'S APPRENTICE by Jennifer Chiaverini


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A debut tale of two women, one young, one old, who learn to craft new lives and mend old ones as they sew a quilt. Sarah McClure gives up her accounting job when her husband Matt, long laid off, is offered a landscape design position in Waterford, Pennsylvania. Once moved in, Sarah begins her job search, but with little success. Since time lies heavy on her hands, she accompanies Matt when he calls on his client, Mrs. Compson, an elderly widow who lives at Elm Creek Manor, a run-down estate. Mrs. Compson wants to restore the estate she has recently inherited from her estranged sister, Claudia, so that she can sell it. Curtly, she offers Sarah a job sweeping and clearing the house. Though a bit insulted, Sarah decides to accept the offer when she learns that a prizewinning quilt hanging in the window of a local shop was made by Mrs. Compson. She—ll work—if Mrs. Compson will also teach her how to quilt. And so it goes. While she labors over various quilt blocks, from Log Cabin to the Sawtooth Star, the two women become friends, reminiscing about the past. Elm Creek, as Sarah learns, was once a famous horse- breeding establishment, but after Mrs. Compson’s husband James and brother Richard were killed in WWI, it went downhill. Her father died, she gave birth to a premature baby, and when she discovered that her sister’s Claudia’s husband could have saved Richard and James (they were in the same unit), she quarreled with Claudia and left Elm Creek. Now, with the estate restored, Sarah cooks up a plan that will preserve it from developers, give Mrs. Compson a new life, and herself—at last—a real job. Nicely stitched together (and fun for quilters), but more slick trick than vibrant novel.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-684-84972-0
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 1999


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