When Sarah McClure and her husband, Matt, move to the small town of Waterford, Pennsylvania, to get a fresh start, Sarah struggles to find a fulfilling job. Disheartened by failed interviews, she reluctantly accepts a temporary position at Elm Creek Manor helping seventy-five-year-old Sylvia Compson prepare her family estate for sale after the recent death of Sylvia's estranged sister. As part of her compensation, Sarah is taught how to quilt by this reclusive, cantankerous master quilter. During their lessons, Mrs. Compson slowly opens up to Sarah, sharing powerful, devastating stories of her life as a young woman on the World War II home front. Hearing tales of how Mrs. Compson's family was torn apart by tragedy, jealousy, and betrayal, Sarah is forced to confront uncomfortable truths about her own family -- truths that she has denied for far too long. As the friendship between the two women deepens, Mrs. Compson confides that although she would love to remain at her beloved family estate, Elm Creek Manor exists as a constant, unbearable reminder of her role in her family's misfortune. For Sarah, there can be no greater reward than teaching Mrs. Compson to forgive herself for her past mistakes, restoring life and joy to her cherished home. Heartfelt and inspiring, The Quilter's Apprentice teaches deep lessons about family, friendship, and sisterhood -- and about creating a life as you would a quilt: with time, love, and patience, piecing the miscellaneous and mismatched scraps into a harmonious, beautiful whole.
Jennifer Chiaverini’s bestselling Elm Creek Quilts series starts with The Quilter’s Apprentice, a timeless tale of family, friendship, and forgiveness as two women weave the disparate pieces of their lives into a bountiful and harmonious whole, and begin the legacy of the Elm Street Quilters.
When Sarah McClure and her husband, Matt, move to Waterford, Pennsylvania, she hopes to make a fresh start in the small college town. Unable to find a job both practical and fulfilling, she takes a temporary position at Elm Creek Manor helping its reclusive owner Sylvia Compson prepare her family estate for sale and after the death of her estranged sister. Sylvia is also a master quilter and, as part of Sarah’s compensation, offers to share the secrets of her creative gifts with the younger woman.
During their lessons, the intricate, varied threads of Sylvia’s life begin to emerge. It is the story of a young wife living through the hardships and agonies of the World War II home front; of a family torn apart by jealousy and betrayal; of misunderstanding, loss, and a tragedy that can never be undone. As the bond between them deepens, Sarah resolves to help Sylvia free herself from remembered sorrows and restore her life—and her home—to its former glory. In the process, she confronts painful truths about her own family, even as she creates new dreams for the future.
Just as the darker sections of a quilt can enhance the brighter ones, the mistakes of the past can strengthen understanding and lead the way to new beginnings. A powerful debut by a gifted storyteller, The Quilter’s Apprentice tells a timeless tale of family, friendship, and forgiveness as two women weave the disparate pieces of their lives into a bountiful and harmonious whole.
Jennifer Chiaverini is the author of the New York Times bestselling Elm Creek Quilts series, five collections of quilt projects, and several historical fiction novels. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives with her husband and sons in Madison, Wisconsin. To learn more, visit JenniferChiaverini.com.
Sandra Dallas author of The Persian Pickle Club Jennifer Chiaverini's first novel is a heartwarming story of relationships that, like pieces of a quilt, can be connected with discord or with harmony. You'll discover friendship here, and you'll learn a thing or two about quilting, too.
Marianne Fons co-author with Liz Porter of Quilter's Complete Guide and co-host of Sew Many Quilts I enjoyed every word of Jennifer Chiaverini's story about friendship and forgiveness. She very accurately portrays the spirit and sense of humor of today's quilters. If The Quilter's Apprentice were a true story, I would love to be a part of Sarah and Sylvia's brilliant project.
Charlotte Holmes author of Gifts and Other Stories With quiet intelligence and dry wit, Jennifer Chiaverini explores the delicate relationships between women -- mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends. The world she creates in The Quilter's Apprentice is rich with the textured, complicated lives of memorable characters engaged in the hard business of ordinary life. Chiaverini tells an involving story of strong women who sustain and nourish each other, and of the young woman who comes to find her own strength and identity, both within this affirming circle and outside it.
Ami Simms author of How to Improve Your Quilting Stitch and Invisible Appliqué I enjoyed the way Chiaverini deftly stitched the lives of these two women together. That she chose patchwork and quilting to help tell the story was a special bonus. Tell Sarah and Sylvia I'd quilt with them any day!
Judy Martin quiltmaker, designer, author The Quilter's Apprentice is a novel that is sure to cause some buzz in the quilting bees. Quilting propels the plot and colors the background of this first novel by Jennifer Chiaverini. It is obvious that the author practices and loves quilting herself, as her many references to the art and social context of quilting are accurate and realistic. Best of all, the conclusion ties all of the story's threads together as only a quilter could.
Percival Everett author of Frenzy and Watershed I marvel at the craft of the work, the quiet architecture that allows the story to carry the load. Like the quilts described, the novel itself is carefully pieced together and each piece feels, sounds, and is fat with history and meaning. This is a quiet, beautiful novel, full of gentle wisdom and genuine humility. It is a rare work these days.