September 08, 2012

The Wedding Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini

I've faithfully read every one of the Elm Creek Quilts books in order. And this is the latest installment. While a lot of these could be read stand alone, I think too much background information is lost to read it that way if you plan on reading the entire series. Although, it seems that with each book Chiaverini gets further and further away from the comfort of the first books.

It's several years into the future and Sarah McClure's daughter is getting married. As she prepares for the wedding at Elm Creek Manor, Sarah reminisces back over the previous twenty five years to when the twins were born and certain events that happen during those years. Most notably, a lot of time is given to the saving of Union Hall from development and it's place as a historic building on the register to protect it. The Elm Creek Quilter's were a big part of that and she goes on to describe how it happens. There is also a long sequence on the birth of the twins and little snippets of other stories here and there interspersed with greeting guests for the wedding and working on a surprise quilt for her daughter.

Even though I knew all the characters in this book, I have to say, they just didn't feel like themselves. Sarah has always been a bit standoffish to me but in this book she completely didn't seem herself and more like a stranger. Her husband Matt was even worse as I couldn't bring myself to like him at all. Sylvia was absent, what with it being twenty five years in the future and her an old lady in even the original books, and many of the other characters were departed or unable to attend due to age. It was rather depressing actually. Sarah's children I felt no connection to as we were rushed through most of their childhood and only got glimpses of them in this book. So I really didn't care about the wedding at all since I didn't know the character. While some of the old characters were glimpsed in the flashbacks by Sarah, those were the only times that I really felt connected to the book and they weren't near long enough.

Because of all the flashbacks the book was terribly hard to sink into. It was jarring to read and I would have preferred that Chiaverini actually take the time to take all these events and make their own book. Starting this far in the future made it seem as if she is done with the series and that's all fine and dandy if she is, except that I know there's another book after this one. So it will be interesting to see what that contains since everything else is wrapped up in this book. At the very least it may signal that she's done with this particular set of characters, which will be disappointing as I didn't care for her historic forays in the series that much and that seems to be what will be left in the series. There was very little about quilting in this book as well and while a sub plot was started up about quilting, I never actually saw the ending too it, although it could have been lost in the confusion of the subplots I suppose. I wanted so much to like this book in spite of the ending of my favorite characters, but even the writing style left much to be desired.

Just not the book I thought it was going to be. Depending on the next book in the series I may choose to discontinue reading these books as I become more and more disappointed with each one. Authors have a right to choose to write about something else, but as a reader I have the right to continue not to read if that does happen. I can only hope Chiaverini somehow gets back to the characters I love after this one.

The Wedding Quilt
Copyright 2011
321 pages

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