Friday, June 16, 2006

The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini

After moving with her husband, Matt, to the small college town of Waterford, Pennsylvania, Sarah McClure struggles to find a fulfilling job. In the meantime, she agrees to help seventy-five-year-old Sylvia Compson prepare her family estate, Elm Creek Manor, for sale. As part of her compensation, Sarah is taught how to quilt by this cantankerous elderly woman, who is a master of the craft.

During their lessons, Mrs. Compson reveals how her family was torn apart by tragedy, jealousy, and betrayal, and her stories force Sarah to face uncomfortable truths about her own alienation from her widowed mother. As their friendship deepens, Mrs. Compson confides in Sarah the truth about why she wants to sell Elm Creek Manor. In turn, Sarah seeks a way to bring life and joy back to the estate so Mrs. Compson can keep her home-and Sarah can keep her cherished friend. The Quilter's Apprentice teaches deep lessons about family, friendship, and sisterhood, and about creating a life as you would a quilt: with time, love, and patience, piecing the miscellaneous and mismatched scraps into a beautiful

I'll start this post by saying that I am not a craft person at all. I did learn how to sew, knit and crochet when I was young but it really does not do anything for me now. I would much rather read a book or be on the net. I don't however mind reading about other people doing craft, especially as they tend to also be stories around female friendship (well all three books that I have read that fit in this category anyway!)

This book was a very easy read. In fact I read all 270 pages in about two and a half hours. Sarah and Matt McClure have recently moved to Waterford after Matt lost his job. For a while Sarah worked full time, and Matt made do with odd jobs, but eventually they decided to move somewhere where Matt could find a job, and now it is Sarah who is on the unemployment merry-go-round, and her self esteem is suffering as a result.

When she meets crotchety Mrs Compson, she can imagine nothing worse than working with her, but as a temporary measure she agrees to do so in exchange for quilting lessons. Sarah also joins a quilting group, and as she begins to make friends in her new home she realises that there are definite undercurrents in the town, some related to problems that go back 50 years.

Can she help repair the broken relationships, save Mrs Compson's home and find something meaningful for her to do herself.

Whilst this is a very easy read, and is definitely aimed at a warm fuzzies kind of audience this book was not sickly sweet!

A good read all round. I will definitely be reading more of this series!

Rating 4/5


  1. This sound fascinating and I'm not normally interesting in women's fiction type stories. So tempted.

  2. I've really enjoyed all these books. I'm a quilter so I guess that's part of the fascination, but mostly I like them just because they're so nice and cozy (but like you say, not sickly sweet). They are a bit hit and miss though. In some of the later books she flashes back to ancestors of Mrs. Compson and I actually found those stories to be even better. Runaway Quilt and Sugar Camp Quilt are my favorites.



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