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The Lost Quilter

(Elm Creek Quilts #14)

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  4,216 ratings  ·  566 reviews
Master Quilter Sylvia Bergstrom Compson treasures an antique quilt called by three names -- Birds in the Air, after its pattern; the Runaway Quilt, after the woman who sewed it; and the Elm Creek Quilt, after the place to which its maker longed to return. That quilter was Joanna, a fugitive slave who traveled by the Underground Railroad to reach safe haven in 1859 at Elm C ...more
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 31st 2009 by Simon & Schuster (first published January 1st 2009)
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Showing 1-30
4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,216 ratings  ·  566 reviews

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Lyn Elliott
I expected a cosy mystery but instead discovered a moving story set in the slave-owning southern states before, during and after the American Civil War.
Given the current very nasty displays of racial hatred in the US, it was very timely to be reminded of the cruelty and degradation of slavery and its continuing effects on American society.
I'm starting a new line of reading, and a shelf, of books that some of our library's delivery service have enjoyed, so that I can search out some new, similar
Carolyn E
Jan 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone
I would give this book a perfect 10. It is an awesome, heart-wrenching story of Joanna, a young runaway, pregnant slave who has managed to make it to Elm Creek, Pennsylvania, where some sympathetic abolitionist women take her in and hide her until her baby is born. The story takes place in 1859, just prior to the beginning of the Civil War. It is a vivid, heart-breaking story of the abuse Joanna suffered before she ran away, and what happened to her after she was found and returned to her master ...more
LuVerne Hoover
Sep 21, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very moving book. I cried at the end for the beauty of it all. This is one of my favorite books in her series.

Joanna was a slave who had endured horrific treatment and escaped. As a fugitive, she learned to read while hiding out at a farm in PA. She was captured and separated from her newborn son, and was sent back to her master. She was sold much further south to her master's brother and managed to find love with Titus and have another child. She was sold away from her husband and was separat
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crafts, quilts
I normally don't like the books in the Elm Creek Quilt series that diverge from the main storyline, but I found myself liking this one. Although I'm ashamed to admit it, I don't remember that much about the main character Joanna in this novel. She had appeared in a previous one but was more a side character than a main character. Because there are thirteen books before this in the series, I'm not going to bother recapping them because that would be a novel in itself. Chiaverini provides enough d ...more
Jun 11, 2009 rated it liked it
I have enjoyed each and every Elm Creek Quilts book that I have ever read and look forward to each new installment. This book, The Lost Quilter, resolves most of the open questions left open by the Runaway Quilt, specifically the fate of Joanna, the runaway slave that found a temporary refuge at Elm Creek Manor. It was good to see Joanna get a (mostly) happy ending because the author does an excellent job of getting the reader invested in this character.

Having said that, most of the recent book
Nov 12, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010, kindle, book-club, series
I admired the protagonist of The Lost Quilter, Joanna, immensely as she faced the daily challenge of not being able to lay claim to those things most dear to you such as spouse and children because they could be taken away at the whim of a cruel master. The book is heartbreakingly honest. Slavery was a terrible practice and the victims did not deserve the treatment. Joanna was an intelligent person that watched and waited and took advantage of every opportunity offered to her and eventually foun ...more
Robin Scharff
Jul 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book; I'm a beginning quilter and happened to do an extensive research project last year on the idea of slave/abolitionist quilts. While I liked the ending Chiaverini put on Joanna's story, I like The Sugar Camp Quilt and The Runaway Quilt (especially The Runaway Quilt) more. I also think she was wise to leave Sylvia and the others (as characters) with conjecture, rather than saying, Yes, this quilt was made by Joanna, period. Historically, there is no proof for the idea of a slav ...more
Julie Barrett
Mar 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
The Lost Quilter
In this book of the ongoing saga Sylvia and Sarah have discovered a long lost letter in a drawer.
It speaks of others that they have no idea who they are. Joanna was a Negro slave and has made her way to the north and the quilt made shows the path through various states that she took.
The quilt is known as 3 different names. The journey leads to Elm Creek where she once lived and had a son. There was also an award for her return-1858.
Sylvia knows of others who can help her find th
Jun 19, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book tells the story of a slave woman and her fight for freedom. Somethings things I liked were that about half the book took place in South Carolina and I like to learn things about my new home state. I also liked that though Joanna goes though many horrible trials the author only goes into enough details so you can understand what is happening (like when she is whipped after running away) and shows the after effects. The story is well formed and moves at a nice pace. I didn't care for the ...more
Mar 21, 2013 rated it really liked it
It's true, I liked a novel with "quilter" in the title. I officially need to buy a walker and learn to crochet. I was so ready to hate this book. I was actually kind of excited about hating it. But other than the lackluster situation created to get to the good story(Sylvia researching her far more interesting ancestor, Joanna, due to an interesting quilt she left behind), I thought this book had an engaging plot and three dimensional characters I really cared about. Joanna, a slave freed and rec ...more
This is a sequel to book #4, The Runaway Quilt.

Hans & Gerda Bergstrom were brother & sister. Hans is Sylvia Bergstrom's great-grandfather, yet anytime they referenced Gerda she was Sylvia's great-GREAT-aunt. How can that be?? Gerda was Hans' sister, not his aunt. Chiaverini, or her copy editor, needs to learn a little bit about genealogy, if she is going to do a work on it. And Sylvia seems obsessed with both quilting & genealogy.

I had a hard time with this book, but then I have a h
Mar 31, 2009 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 24, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
This book had elements of a good story and there were parts that I really enjoyed. The book is part of a series although it can easily be read independent of other books in the series. The writing in the beginning and at the end were disappointing. The authors tone was simplistic and somewhat condescending to the reader in introducing her characters. The bulk of the story was enjoyable and the characters believable. The story did flow well (due to some improbable events) but I doubt I will read ...more
 Barb Bailey
Aug 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
This Elm Creek Quilt book is a little more meaty than most of the books in the series. I would call this book more of a Historical Fiction as it deals with the Civil War in South Carolina as well as slavery. The story is about Joanna a run away slave that makes it to Elm Creek,PA only to be captured and returned to her master. Her life, trials and tribulations are told in a way that make them seem very real . 4 stars
Oct 28, 2012 rated it liked it
I liked this less than the others...somehow the quilting got lost. It is an important story, and if I hadn't just read March, I may have been more sympathetic to the tale, but March was so exquisitely told that all others besides it pale in comparison.

But it was a brave addition to the series, and must have taken some effort to research.
Love her books! My favorites are the one's about the Underground Railroad using quilts to guide the slaves north to freedom!
Andrea Guy
I love the Elm Creek Quilters series. I've now read 6 of the 20 books in this series, and they are all top notch reads for me, The Lost Quilter was no different. An old desk with a locked draw uncovers old letters that detail a woman's search for a man. These letters unearth the story of Joanna North

This is the story of a runaway slave and her quest for freedom.

Joanna's story is heartbreaking and moving as we see her as she tries to escape to the north but ends up being caught and returned to he
Marie French
Mar 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
As with many fiction writers who want to tell the story of a particular time, the author appears to have lumped every evil every visited upon any slave all upon this one slave in the story. Most of the white people were pure evil and self-serving in this story -North and South. I don't want to diminish what she was trying to say about slavery being bad, but it would be better to give a more realistic representation across the board. Nonetheless, the story itself was told well.

I wonder if a perso
Linda Clifford
Jul 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone over the age of 14
Recommended to Linda by: Book Club selection in 2009
Shelves: re-read
This is actually the second time through this book for me. The first time, I read it in a book club in the print version. This time I checked out the audio version and I absorbed much more of the atmosphere of the book, although I enjoyed both versions.

This book paints a much clearer picture of the lives of slaves on plantations than most of the books I have read previously. Our history classes were so edited as to gloss over the ugly side of slavery. Like with many other things it did not teach
D Nichols
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Another of the Elm Creek Quilt historical novels by Jennifer Chiaverini. The story of a fugitive slave who travelled by the Underground Railroad to reach safe haven in 1859 at Elm Creek Farm. She was discovered by slave catchers, returned and punished for her escape by being sold off to her master's brother in Edisto Island, SC. Her rare tastes of freedom are always shosrt-lived. She sustained herself and her family through ingenuity and art during the Civil War and leaves behind a remarkable ar ...more
Missy Thierwechter Krause
Sep 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Great book! Goes back in time to learn more of Joanna, who stayed at Elm Creek back in the 1800's as a runaway slave. She found her way there thanks to a quilt that was hung outside that was part of the underground railroad. In this book, we learned more of what happened to her after she was captured at Elm Creek.
Ruth Ann
Aug 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
This book is important for an understanding of American history and the treatment of slaves around the time of the Civil War. They were slapped, whipped, chained, starved and denied all luxuries. No wonder they coveted freedom. The Lost Quilter’s Story is as intricate as her quilts. Four stars
Peggy Zeigler
Nov 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
this is a sequel of the book The Runaway Quilt, about Joanna a slave who was captured after running away. this continues her story of what happened to her after she was returned and sold. She has not forgotten freedom, and spoiler, she does get it. but her journey to freedom, the people she meets and what she does in between, that is the story.
Massanutten Regional Library
Selah, Grottoes patron, July 2017, 5 stars:

I found it hard to put down this book. It is the story of a slave, Joanna, who had been at Elm Creek as a runaway but is returned to her owner. She perseveres and survives the cruel treatment that she is given by her various owners. Like another reviewer this has to be one of my favorites of this series. I highly recommend.
Lynne Radcliffe
Jul 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
My favorite of the Elm Creek Quilts novels! The master quilter, Sylvia's search for the Lost Quilter, Joanna, a fugitive slave that once lived at Elm Creek is beautifully told in this captivating book. Joanna's quilt and a diary that Sylvia discovered draws the past and the present together in this beautiful story.
Mar 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
Told from the point of view of a slave prior to and during the civil War meant that this was not a joyful read, but quite interesting to get that perspective. Lots of information on how the slaves managed to quilt using scraps, as well as having a lovely romance even though the times and situation did not give slaves any sort of freedoms.
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another wonderful Elm Creek Quilters Novel! This one is set back during the civil war and is from the view of Joanna...the lost quilter. The novel follows her life and struggles. It will keep you intrigued and hoping Joanna can gain her freedom from a family of slave owners who've passed her from one family to the next.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: quilts, historical
Loved the story, parts were very difficult to read for me, I will never comprehend how our ancestors could do the things they did to slaves. How they thought it was perfectly normal. Human beings for God's sake. And to know it still goes on today makes it even harder to grasp.
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Having read nearly all of the Elm Creek Quilts series, I believe this one ranks as one of my favorites. The story opens at Elm Creek, though immediately back in time to tell the story of a young runaway prior to the Civil War who found her way to the Bergstrum farm. It's a story worth reading.
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The Lost Quilter 6 53 Mar 22, 2012 02:54PM  
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Jennifer Chiaverini is the New York Times bestselling author of several acclaimed historical novels and the beloved Elm Creek Quilts series, as well as six collections of quilt patterns inspired by her books. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin. About her historical fiction, the Milwaukee Journal Se ...more

Other books in the series

Elm Creek Quilts (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • The Quilter's Apprentice (Elm Creek Quilts, #1)
  • Round Robin (Elm Creek Quilts, #2)
  • The Cross-Country Quilters (Elm Creek Quilts, #3)
  • The Runaway Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts, #4)
  • The Quilter's Legacy (Elm Creek Quilts, #5)
  • The Master Quilter (Elm Creek Quilts, #6)
  • The Sugar Camp Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts, #7)
  • The Christmas Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts, #8)
  • Circle of Quilters (Elm Creek Quilts, #9)
  • The Quilter's Homecoming (Elm Creek Quilts, #10)