Monday, December 3, 2012

The Wedding Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini

The Wedding Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel. Jennifer Chiaverini. Plume Books: Penguin Group USA.  October 2012. 352 pp. Also available at all e-book retailer sites. ISBN #: 9780525952428.

Sarah's daughter, Caroline, and her fiance are soon to arrive at the family home at Elm Creed Manor, a place famous for "quilting camp" sessions, where they will be married.  Caroline wants a wedding quilt but isn't sure whether she's getting one.  For Sarah, both the wedding and the request bring back scores and scores of memories, most of them heart-warming and funny.  As she waits for her daughter, she remembers having to go to the hospital right before a nasty snowstorm and the stories her Mom and friends told about how they met.  No, it wasn't all that easy as Sarah knows from having to have a C-section for Caroline and her twin.  But Sarah's thoughts and memories gradually reveal a very special gift that's not easy but makes for a strong, caring mother and friend.  She knows when to let go, without laying on any guilt trips or otherwise - quite unique for both a mother and friend!!! It's why she's so cherished!

This novel is replete with so many numerous stories but I will only mention briefly about two that struck me.  One was about two characters who date for a while and then split up.  What shock when the friend of the female in the relationship begins to date the ex-boyfriend and eventually marries him.  Quite a hurdle to overcome but Jennifer Chiaverini crafts the story so realistically yet so graciously that the reader feels so much tension and at the same time sympathy and curiosity as to how this will all turn out.

The second story of note you must read for yourself but it is about quilters in the Civil War who made, sold, and gave away quilts to raise money for the Union.  The descriptions of how they worked in the names of heroes serving during this time will move any but the hardest of hearts. This section is actually based on historical fact and is all the more intriguing for the telling.

Quilting is an exquisite art as the reader comes to appreciate while reading this story.  It's colorful  and skillful, but most of all it's a form of storytelling in itself, a new realization that comes also while reading.  Jennifer Chiaverini is a master storyteller who knows her crafts (writing and quilting, as well as history of the arts) and expresses it in such an endearing,  enjoyable manner that you will want to read more of the Elm Creek Quilts novels.  Delightful and worthy of broad exposure to readers everywhere!  You'll also want to visit her website to see some fun samples and other goodies:  Well-done, indeed, Ms. Chiaverini!!!