Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Review: The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini

Here is a summary of The Quilter's Apprentice from Jennifer Chiaverini's website:

From debut novelist Jennifer Chiaverini comes THE QUILTER'S APPRENTICE, a delightful, timeless story of loyalty and friendship.

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 whole. 

My Review: 
Through the world of quilting, Chiaverini introduces us to some characters that have seemed to lost their way in life.  This is the first segment in quite a large series and before opening the novel I was skeptical as to how one could go on with so many books about quilting.  After reading the first book it was quite understandable.

Early in the book we are given a glimpse into Sarah's unsatisfying life.  She has been a very good accountant but is not getting enough fulfillment from her job.  Her husband has been unemployed for quite some time, so when he finds a job in another city, they decide that Sarah should give up the only security they have known with her accounting position so her husband can become the breadwinner once again.

After moving to the new town, Sarah joins her husband when he goes to evaluate a landscaping job he has to do at Elm Creek Manor, and when she meets the owner, Mrs. Compson, they seem to get off on the wrong foot.  I really did not anticipate a friendship between these two women would blossom the way it did.

Sarah has been lonely since the move to Waterford, but once she decides to take up the hobby of quilting, she is introduced to ladies from all different walks of life.  Through her quilting circles she learns why Mrs. Compson is so lonely and bitter, but decides to reach out to her in a different way.  As Sarah and Mrs. Compson spend time together they find that they really have a lot in common and not only learn about each other but also discover their own hopes and dreams.  This allows them to make changes in their lives that help them to be happier and more productive in their daily walk. 

With themes of quilting, friendship, forgiveness, and starting over, this story really has a lot to offer.  Not being a quilter myself, I thought the book included a bit too much quilting information for my taste and was also a bit predictable.  Although this book wasn't one of my favorites, I know the ladies in my book group really enjoyed it.

My Rating:  3/5

Disclosure:  This was my own book that I read as a book club selection.

Check out more book reviews over at Cym Lowell's Book Review Party Wednesday!


bermudaonion said...

This might be a good book for the beach. Thanks for your review.

Jo-Jo said...

Kathy: That's funny you say that because that is exactly where I read this book...on the beach in Mexico! And it was a very enjoyable beach read.

Julie P said...

I have this on my TBR shelf!

Allison said...

This is really a good series. The first book does have alot of quilting info, but the other books in the series don't have as much. Give them a shot if you have a chance! ;-)
Nice review and blog!

Anonymous said...

I liked this one. I thought it was sweet even though I'm not a quilter either. Still haven't continued with the series, but plan to someday.