The Quilter’s Apprentice, by Jennifer Chiaverini

Cover ImageFinished 7-25-09, rating 4/5, fiction, pub. 1999

This is the first book in the Elm Creek Quilts series

“Who’s not being fair?  I didn’t mean to suggest that judges make arbitrary choices, just that matters of personal taste strongly influence how we evaluate art.  That being the case, I’d prefer the appreciation of a broad range of people, quilters and nonquilters alike, rather than the stamp of approval from a few select so-called experts.”

Chapter 19

Sarah and Matt move from Penn State town State College to the small college town of Waterford for Matt’s new job.  Sarah is having no luck finding a job and begins to feel some resentment for having left a good job and good friends until she is offered temporary employment by Matt’s new employer.  Sarah is to help Sylvia clear out an old mansion and prepare it for sale. 

As part of her payment, Sylvia is teaching Sarah to quilt and each new block is a story about Sylvia’s life and how the family mansion became run down and abandoned.  The two women become friends and Sarah cannot bear the thought of Sylvia selling the house and moving away.  As Sarah settles into her new job she meets a small group of quilters who befriend her, but dislike Sylvia.

This story was a warm and inviting escape into the world of quilting and friendship.  I was able to identify with Sarah as she lost her sense of self when she was jobless, friendless, and lonely in a new town.  She did have mom issues that I assume will be dealt with in a later book and acted a bit immature at times, but the imperfections were mostly interesting to me.

I loved the sassy Sylvia and her story and look forward to continuing with this series in the future.  This is a great book for quilters, but also for anyone who loves reading about the often complex  friendships between women.  I really liked it.