I had never heard of The Quilter’s Apprentice, by Jennifer Chiaverini, when I pulled it off the shelf at the library. I was attracted by the cover and the title and based on the summary decided to try it. It turned out to be a most delightful find, and I am looking forward to reading more books in the Elm Creek Quilts series, of which it is the first.
The story focuses on a young woman, Sarah, who is looking for work after recently moving to a new town with her husband, a landscape architect. She would like to move into a field other than accounting, but is having difficulty doing so. When the elderly client of her husband, Sylvia, asks her to be her personal assistant, she accepts it as a temporary position. Sylvia is a quilter and as part of her payment Sarah asks her to teach her how to quilt. As they work and quilt together, Sylvia tells her stories about her past, revealing the tragedy that makes her want to sell her childhood home. Sarah looks for and finds a way for Sylvia to heal from this tragedy and bring joy to her home again.
The Quilter’s Apprentice is a heartfelt story about love, friendship, relationships, and forgiveness. The characters are realistic and endearing. The writing itself was not the best I have ever read (I have to admit, there was one passage that reminded me of a description I wrote for a story in fourth grade), but it was more than compensated by the story itself. Although I am not a quilter, I enjoyed the quilting aspect of the story, and it made me want to learn how to quilt (not that I need another hobby at the moment). I also liked the way in which Sarah ultimately found fulfillment and personal satisfaction through a job that started off as temporary and would not be considered a professional career path. Even though it was fiction, this was personally encouraging to me to consider non-traditional employment options.
Overall, I recommend The Quilter’s Apprentice. I am pleased to have discovered not only an enjoyable book, but an entire new series. The only thing I have to figure out is whether it is important to read the books in the order they were written, as it seems that my local library branch does not have all of them.