Nolan's Reviews > The Master Quilter

The Master Quilter by Jennifer Chiaverini
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's review
Mar 20, 2009

Read in March, 2009

These Elm Creek novels are all wonderfully written, clean, somewhat suspenseful, occasionally romantic, and filled with that small-town flavor you'll want to sample repeatedly. In this particular novel, the Elm Creek manner is gearing up to take in its summer quilting campers. But it'sa busy year indeed. All of the quilters have been secretly asked to create blocks for a bridle quilt for the master quilter among them, Sylvia. The goal is to keep the creation secret from her until it can be unveiled during the summer quilting classes at the manner. But lots of things get in the way. Bonnie, who owns Grandma's Attic quilt shop, is losing a marriage of more than 30 years, and a property management company has purchased her building and wants to up her rent. Worse yet, her shop is vandalized and her insurance won't pay, suspecting that the vandalism is an inside job.

Quilt instructor Judy is considering a new job with Penn State, which means she would leave the close-knit quilting community of Elm Creek behind. Fellow quilt instructor Gwen faces difficulty at the local college where she's slated to become a department chair, and her daughter Summer, who works at Bonnie's shop, is about to move in with her boyfriend--a secret she's kept from Gwen for too long. Diane, who also works at bonnie's shop, desperately needs mony to pay the tuition for her son's ivy league school ambitions, and she may know something about who broke into the shop.

In short, these characters are charming, creative people brought to life by a creative writer who is highly skilled in her use of the language. My only real exposure to quilting included crawling around under my mother's quilting frames as a small child. When she had fabric stretched over those, it was like being in a tiny house within the house. So I know nothing about blocks and patterns and such. But this author is skilled enough iat creating great characters who stay with you that you don't need to know a thing about quilting or even want to quilt. I've not read all of the books in this series, but I expect I will. These are better than LDS fiction, and they're pretty much as clean and far more compelling than most of it. This is just small-town heartland America at its best written by someone who is at the top of her game.
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