A Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini
1st Book in the Elm Creek Quilts Series
I picked up this book from the remainders bin several years ago. Little did I know that I would be embarking on a journey that still continues. I am not a quilter, though I admire those who are. As a spinner and knitter, I understand the tactile pleasure and the creative expression. So, my interest was in the story of people who shared this love.
A Quilter's Apprentice begins the journey of Sarah McClure and her husband. Moving to a new town, Sarah finds herself without a job and with few prospects. She takes a job with Sylvia Compson, a seventy-five year old who is sorting through the family home from which she was long estranged, for eventual sale. Sylvia is bitter and lonely. Sarah is desperately unhappy. Sarah trades some of her salary for quilting lessons from Sylvia.
Sylvia slowly confides the history of Elm Creek Manor and the tribulations of World War II that tore the family apart with tragedy, betrayal and jealousy. Sarah comes to terms with the uncomfortable truths about her own family.
Through the sorting of the house and the quilting lessons, a bond of friendship and trust develops between the two women, who came to the relationship with little in common. As they both learn to forgive themselves and to live life forwards, rather than backwards, joy enters their lives, which are now changed forever.
The characters are strong women with likable traits and vivid flaws. They are people we know. We share their pains and sorrows and we celebrate their victories.
This series can be read out of order, but it is more enjoyable to read in order, as the characters develop and change.