Title: The Christmas Quilt
Author: Jennifer Chiaverini
What you'll love: A nice "simpler times" feel.
What will bug you: Slightly hokey.
The Christmas Quilt is the eighth book in the "Elm Creek Quilts" series. It's Christmas Eve at Elm Creek Manor and although Sylvia Bergstrom Compson would like a quiet holiday, her young friend and business partner/roommate, Sarah, has other plans. While going through boxes of Christmas decorations, Sarah discovers a partially completed Christmas quilt. Sylvia recalls events surrounding the beginning of the quilt, along with the joys and hardships of the times.
So I've said this before. This series is not part of my usual genre. However... my Gram loves these books, so I'm going through the series so we can talk books together. I often give her suggestions (which she usually takes) so I feel it's only fair to do the same!
I actually like this series. When I was a young girl, I really enjoyed the "Laura Ingalls Wilder" series. (And when I say "enjoyed" I really mean loved.) In retrospect, I loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder series partly because it captured so beautifully a simpler time. I liked reading about the older traditions - and there was a time when I thought I would have fit in perfectly in that time period. I've since changed my mind, mostly because as an adult I'm way too pro women's rights to fit in anymore. I also become more of a wise-ass by the day - so that's a problem as well.
The Elm Creek Quilt novels touch my heart in the same way. The books are centered around Sylvia (the owner of Elm Creek Manor) and her friend, Sarah. Sarah and her husband, Matt, live at Elm Creek Manor with Sylvia - Matt is a groundskeeper, and Sarah helps Sylvia run a quilting camp. Although Sylvia, Sarah and Matt are living in present day, the bulk of this novel is told through Sylvia's recollections. In The Christmas Quilt, Sylvia's recollections are mainly in the 1930's and 1940's. (Grammy loved it, proclaiming that that was indeed the best generation.)
I really like reading about the old Christmas traditions, and I enjoy all the quilting stuff that gets mixed in. My Mother went to school out in Colorado as an art major - with a focus in fabric art (textiles, weaving, spinning, knitting, etc.) so I am familiar with terms used in the book.
I'll admit that the story is kind of hokey - but there's a certain charm to it as well. You may want to check out this series, especially if you're into quilting and all that. As with any series, I like to start at the beginning - The Quilter's Apprentice.
I checked out book nine too - and then I'll be caught up to Gram-a-roo!