Sylvia Bergstrom Compson is an elderly widow planning to marry Andrew Cooper, a widower. She's also an avid quilt-maker, and is planning to make one for Andrew and herself. That is until she remembers her mother's old quilts in the attic, and decides to use one of those instead. But when Sylvia goes up to the attic to find the quilts, she discovers them missing! Sylvia is puzzled, until her sister-in-law, Agnes, informs her that Sylvia's sister, Claude, sold the quilts 30 years ago! Sylvia is horrified, and assumes that the quilts are gone forever. The quilts are precious to her, because Sylvia's mother had died when Sylvia was ten years old.
But Sylvia and Andrew have more important things to worry about, like telling Andrew's two children that Sylvia and he are getting married. Since Andrew wants to tell his kids in person, they plan a cross-country trip. And when Summer, a friend of the family, gets responses online for the missing quilts, Sylvia and Andrew visit different leads while on the trip. Unfortunately, most of the leads become dead-ends.
But Sylvia and Andrew have another problem; Bob and Amy, Andrew's two children, think Andrew shouldn't remarry! They fear that since Sylvia has already had one stroke, her health will decline and bring Andrew more heartbreak. And though Sylvia has a clean bill of health, Bob and Amy refuse to bless the marriage.
This fascinating story goes on to reveal if Sylvia ever finds any of her mother's quilts and whether she marries Andrew with the blessings of his children.
This report prepared by A for Anonymous
Simon & Schuster, April 2003, 22.00, 310 pp.
In 1899, New York Eleanor Lockwood knew she had a bad heart from the Scarlet Fever she contracted as an infant and her parents did not expect her to live much longer. They both kept their distance and her only adult loving came from her nanny Amelia Langley who genuinely adored her charge. The Lockwoods hoped their family fortunes would be reversed when their elder daughter married a rich man's son who would pump money into the family business. Abigail had plans of her own and eloped with her father's rival leaving Eleanor to marry the jilted groom. Eleanor couldn't go through with it and eloped with Fred Bergstrom and went to live with him in his home at Elm Creek Manor in Pennsylvania.
Years later, Eleanor's daughter Sylvia is dismayed that her sister sold her mother's five beautiful quilts. One of the Elm Creek Quilters locates a website whose purpose is to reunite quilter and quilt. From the replies she gets on the Internet, Sylvia accompanied by her fiancée Andrew set off on an odyssey to find out the history of each of the quilts once they left the family.
Past and present are played out in alternating chapters so that readers get a feel for what Eleanor's life was like and how Sylvia reconnects with her mother who has been gone for more than half a century. Jennifer Chiaverini's fascinating family saga, rich in period detail and showcasing characters who though elderly continue to live life to the utmost. This is a superb novel in a heartwarming series.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner