Monday, January 18, 2016

The Quilter's Apprentice (Elm Creek Quilts #1) by Jennifer Chiaverini (audio)

"Sometimes the most ordinary things are the ones we learn to miss the most."

When Sarah McClure moves to the small college town of Waterford, Pennsylvania for her husband Matt's job, she struggles to find a job and a life of her own.  While looking to find work, she agrees to temporarily help seventy-five-year old Sylvia Compson get her estate, Elm Creek Manor, ready to sell.  Sylvia is a bit offsetting at first, but the two become friends and Sylvia teachers Sarah to quilt and slowly tells her the story of her family's troubled past that left the manor in disgrace during World War II.  Sarah also meets some other local quilters and attends their weekly quilting meetings. When Sarah learns the truth about the manor's sale, she is determined to find a way to keep Sylvia and the manor in Waterford.

The Elm Creek Quilt novels is one of those series that I kept hearing about but never got the chance to read.  There are a lot of books in the series - 20 in all - and that's a big commitment.  I read Chiaverini's The Spymistress a few months ago and didn't really like it.  My usual rule before I give up on an author is three books, so I was still determined to give this book a try.  I checked it out on playaway from my library and had every intention of just listening to the first one and calling it a day.  I ended up getting completely sucked in and am currently on the sixth book after a little over a month - and counting.

This book (and series) is exactly what I needed.  After reading a lot of heavier books lately, The Quilter's Apprentice was the perfect contrast.  It was a quick read and, to be honest, the book was fairly predictable.  There wasn't a whole lot to the storyline, but the characters were so charming that I couldn't stop reading and routing for the ending - even though it was to wrapped up in a way-to-perfect package.  I enjoyed the contemporary storyline, but what really kept my interest was Sylvia's tragic story of her family's past.  I also loved the focus of quilting throughout the novel.  Sarah's quilting lessons with Sylvia and the making of a quilt sampler provided a great introduction to the intriguing and complex world of quilting.  Now I need to learn how to quilt.  I will report back soon on my progress - hopefully soon!

Sarah's Sampler quilt from the author's webiste

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