Rebekah's Reviews > The Quilter's Legacy

The Quilter's Legacy by Jennifer Chiaverini
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Jan 04, 2010

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Read in August, 2007

There are lots of fluff to come. We checked out 7 and 8 from one library and then found 5 and 6 at the other. So back in order I read. This bit of fun, in The Quilters Legacy by Jennifer Chiaverini, is two stories intertwined. On one side we have Sylvia dealing with her engagement to Andrew and a search for missing quilts her mother made. On the other side is her mother’s story from childhood to death.
We can assume that Mrs. Chiaverini will fill in more gaps should she ever need to add a new family story, but this provides the arc of Eleanor's life. She began a sickly child who was not expected to live long, and subsequently shattered all the records by living. Her mother was a social climbing New Yorker and dad had some business dealings with the Bergstroms. Eleanor’s sister was the beauty and hope for the family. She was engaged to a business partner’s son to ensure a solid equal division of the merged company, but runs off at the last minute. The family suddenly expects Eleanor to fill in the hole at the altar and instead she runs off to marry Fred Bergstrom. Eleanor may have moved into a Manor, but as far as her mother is concerned she might as well have married into a farmer’s hovel and only communicates by sending her news clippings of what she could have had, had she consented to marry the wealthy partner’s son. Abigail who married the elderly rival seems to have been more or less excommunicated by the mother. Finally dying aboard the Titanic of all things. Her mother finally eats some crow at the end when she is left penniless and is forced to move in with the Bergstroms for the last few months of her life. She arrives to meet all her grandchildren, but only acknowledges the tole they have placed on Eleanor’s health which deteriorated badly after the birth of their son.
Sylvia’s story is somewhat more heartening. She searches for quilts her sister had sold when everything else was gone. She finds two in decent condition given their age, one traveling in a museum show and another she buys from a family who bought it at auction from a theater. One quilt she finds has been transformed into a jacket, a hard discovery given it was a 20th Anniversary gift for her father that she herself helped finish while her mother was very ill. Another was destroyed in a flood. The final missing quilt is long gone ironically because it was made famous. Sylvia’s great Aunt Lucinda had sent in the pattern to a Ladies magazine when the quilt was set down over and over again after Eleanor’s first 3 miscarriages. She wanted it remembered even if never completed. (Though it was completed for Abigail’s baby who died in the tragedy at sea, thus proving the quilt was a bit cursed.) Because it was published it was reproduced by thousands of women over the years and therefore impossible to find with any practicality. Her engagement is not so sweet; Andrew’s children are furious that their father would marry again not wanting to watch him loose another wife after his first died of cancer. They finally decide on usurping the best laid plans of their fellow Elm Creek Quilter’s and “elope” at the Christmas party. Andrew’s family refused to attend the Holiday celebration, and therefor missed the big event, but that was their own stubbornness.
A lovely read with just the right bit of tragedy, and on with book 6.

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