October 06, 2011

The Christmas Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini

The Christmas Quilt is one of many in the Elm Creek quilt series by Jeniffer Chiaverini. Even though it is part of a series though, this book can definitely be read as a stand alone. In fact, even though it rehashes things from previous books, Chiaverini describes all incidences within the book well enough that no reference from the firs seven are needed.

The story takes place further back in the time line than some of the other books. It occurs about one year after the first book took place. The scene is Christmas and Sylvia Compton, owner of Elm Creek Manor and the associated quilter's retreat, is thinking back on past Christmases with both fond and sad memories. When Sarah, her helper, brings down the Christmas decorations and an old unfinished Christmas quilt, she can hold back the reminisces about the past. She starts thinking about the different Christmases from when she was a little girl, on up to when she was first married. Similar in every story was the choosing of a Christmas tree, a special star, and a fabulously delicious strudel.

Also on her mind though is the rift between Sarah and her mother. She wanted desperately for the two to see each other this Christmas but Sarah was not as enthusiastic. Sarah and her mother do not get along very well and she doesn't wish to see her. Instead she wants to finish the Christmas quilt found in the attic which had been worked on by so many women before her.

While I was glad to see some of the regular characters returned in this novel, it still lacked a large part of them and I just didn't find the story as engaging. While some of it was interesting, a lot of it was almost copied word for word out of her other books. Naturally these were more of the scenes in the past, but still there were enough and I remembered them well enough that I knew they were directly copied. One other point was that the Christmas quilt that could never get finished, I think that might have remained that way in this story as I cannot remember them mentioning it at the end or what state it was in.

Chiaverini is a very easy writer to read. She's not offensive in any way and gives a decent amount of description when describing her characters and the scenery around. She does however lack a bit in the description department when it comes to describing the quilt in this novel though.

Overall I would say its a nice short read, good for a rainy or snowy afternoon. I wasn't as terribly impressed as I have been with some of her other works, but it fits in the series nicely.

The Christmas Quilt
Copyright 2005
225 pages

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