In this heartwarming novel about the meaning of friendship, the Elm Creek quilters pay tribute to their beloved matriarch and the bridal quilt that will be stitched in her honor.
The Elm Creek Quilters are as surprised as anyone when their beloved matriarch, Sylvia Bergstrom Compson, marries her sweetheart, Andrew, at a festive holiday gathering at her ancestral home on Christmas Eve. Eager to celebrate the union, her friends decide to create a beautiful wedding quilt to warm the newlyweds’ home and hearts.
A secret with such good intentions, they reason, couldn’t possibly do anyone harm. But although the quilting retreat established at Elm Creek Manor is a place where quilters share their creativity, their challenges, and their dreams, somehow in their haste to find a way to honor the wisdom, skill, and devotion of their favorite master quilter, they forget that sometimes secrets drive friends apart instead of drawing them closer. As financial troubles, relationship struggles, and unexpected opportunities beyond Elm Creek Quilt Camp test the bonds of friendship, the quilters must find a way to stitch together more than Sylvia’s Bridal Sampler to make a happy ending.
Even a newcomer to the popular Elm Creek Quilts series will quickly get caught up in the lives of the ladies who stitch. Sylvia Compson, the doyenne of the quilters who teach their art at the Elm Creek Quilt Camp, has married Andrew Cooper an occasion of joy, with one hitch. The surprise Christmas Eve wedding meant Sylvia's friends didn't have time to craft the requisite bridal quilt. Will 140 six-inch blocks arrive by April 1? Sarah McClure is betting they will, but her husband, Matt, bets two weeks of breakfast in bed that Sarah can't keep a secret for three months. Not all the tension in the book is quite so mellow, though. Summer Sullivan has to decide how to define being her own woman. Does it mean staying in Waterford with the quilters or following her love, Jeremy, when he finishes graduate school? And Bonnie Markham has big woes: her fabric shop, Grandma's Attic, is running in the red, and her husband, Craig, has been conniving with evil realtor Greg Krolich to push her over the edge. This is the modern world, with cell phones and cybersex, but Chiaverini's quilting women are also a world apart. They feel one another's joys and griefs acutely; their lives are stitched together. The author's style is clean, and almost YA simple, and her dialogue is uninspired. Yet she intensifies the story's texture by retelling key scenes from multiple points of view, and along the way she enriches the reader's awareness of quilting's importance as a female art form and a source of deep common bonds.
I enjoyed getting to know the individual characters. The book told the story from various perspectives very nicely.