October 06, 2011
A Quilters Holiday by Jennifer Chiaverini
This book involves the "Quilter's Holiday" which is a day when the Elm Creek quilter's get together near Thanksgiving (more on this later) and enjoy leftovers and quilting together. A lot of this book focuses on different things that are happening in the quilter's lives.
Sarah is preparing for the arrival of her twins but learns that her husband has different plans for their last few months before they are born. While she would like him to stay at Elm Creek Manor to help her and go to Drs. appointments with her, he has decided without talking it over with her to go help his father with his business. While she understands why he wants to, she can't help but think his priorities are a little misplaced.
Diane is feeling a little bit of empty nest syndrome and when a blizzard starts trapping the quilter's at the manor, she becomes determined to get home where her boys are back visiting from college. Despite the snow she starts off and unfortunately becomes stuck on the way. With no one answering the phone, she has to try and make it back to the manor in the blinding whiteness.
Sylvia is in search of long lost relatives. Enlisting the help of some of her researcher friends, she has them look for descendants of her favorite cousin Elizabeth. Although a private investigator had told her earlier that she had no one left in the family, she can't help but believe there must be someone else out there.
Anna is adjusting well to being the cook at Elm Creek. Her biggest frustrations come from Jeremy. A friend of hers and the boyfriend on one of the other quilter's daughter, she discovers that she is falling in love with him. When he leaves to go visit his girlfriend he keeps calling her and she can't help but wonder if maybe he'd like more from their relationship as well.
Gretchen thinks back on her past of helping people. She once volunteered at a home for displaced pregnant teenagers and she reflects on the hardships and joys this has brought her. Now that she lives somewhere else, she hopes to find another volunteer opportunity that gives her as much satisfaction as the previous one did.
Gwen thinks back on a mentor and friend who has recently died. She inspired Gwen to do great things and Gwen in turn inspired her to quilt. In order to help this friend she had also formed a bone marrow drive to help find a match and keep her alive. Despite the match though, she still loses a good friend and wonders what else could have been done.
All the wonderful characters were back and it was so nice to see them continue their story. While I understand Chiaverini likes to branch out, it would be nice if she used those books in a different series instead of combining them with this one. There is one flaw in her characters I do have to point out though. Summer, the daughter of Gwen and girlfriend of Jeremy is becoming extremely unlikeable. While I realize she's supposed to be finding herself, I can't help but think that she treats Jeremy horribly and that it is a total disconnect from what her character is supposed to be.
The writing is back to being unoffensive. Chiaverini barely ever uses harsh words let alone vivid disturbing descriptions. For other descriptions, there are a great many quilts mentioned in this novel but they lack the color and charm that some of her earlier books brought to life. She used to spend great time on colors and shapes, describing patterns and stitches, now we're lucky if they are called "jewel-toned". I also had trouble with something that didn't match up in the book to me. The Quilter's Holiday is supposed to feature a potluck of Thanksgiving leftovers, but then goes on to say the day is the day before Thanksgiving. Perhaps they had a Thanksgiving of their own but it still wasn't very clear to me.
I of course will always continue on with the series. Even her worst is still pretty good. I just hope that she re finds what made the series so charming to begin with. I want to see the character reconnect and picture the quilts so elegantly described in my mind.
A Quilter's Holiday