Saturday, June 1, 2013

Book Review: The Giving Quilt, by Jennifer Chiaverini

I recently had a giveaway provided by Plume Books, publishers of the Jennifer Chiaverini Elm Creek Quilts series.  I have given away The Giving Quilt to our winner Linda James, but they sent me an extra copy of the novel for a review.  Here is the review, and then the extra copy of the novel will go to Karen L for entering the drawing.

The Giving Quilt, by Jennifer Chiaverini

The Giving Quilt is the latest in the series of books about the quilters of Elm Creek Manor, an old estate that is the setting for weeklong quilt retreats.  The books in the series are always best-sellers.  This particular novel takes place during "Quiltsgiving" Week at the Manor.  The regular staff offer a week free of charge to quilters who will make quilts for Project Linus during their stay at the manor.  Let me just say, that offer sounds too good to be true.  Three fabulous meals a day, a free room, quilting supplies including sewing machines and a longarm!  I would take up that opportunity in a heartbeat!

My usual novels of choice are thrillers and mysteries, so I thought this novel began rather slowly.  I did not really need to hear about how they set up their registration materials on the tables, you know?  But the novel really becomes intriguing when you hear the stories of the participants in the quilt retreat.  There are chapters devoted to several of the quilters, and each has a compelling background story that is very related to today's societal issues.  Unemployment, budget cuts, death in the family, unfairness, even the typical frustrations of dealing with difficult members of a quilting group are all interwoven into the plot.  I enjoyed hearing how each quilter resolved their challenges and issues.

The Elm Creek Quilters offered a lesson in making a quilt top.  Instructions for the quilt are provided in narrative format as the quilters attend the daily lessons.  I personally would have liked for the quilt instructions and a photograph to be included, perhaps as an appendix at the end of the book. I only saw the paperback edition, so perhaps they are included in the hardcover edition.

If you enjoy quilting and enjoy Chiaverini's well-developed characters, you will like The Giving Quilt.

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