The Wedding Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts #18)by Jennifer Chiaverini Published 01 Nov 2011
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The New York Times bestseller celebrates one of America’s most romantic and enduring traditions
As her daughter’s wedding day approaches, Sarah McClure reflects upon Elm Creek brides past and present—the traditions they honored, the legacies they bequeathed, the wedding quilts that contain their stories in every stitch.
Unexpectedly, Caroline confides, “I wish I had a wedding quilt, one I made myself.” Sarah yearns to grant her fervent wish, but even the most talented novice would be daunted by the task of stitching, mere days before the wedding, a worthy symbol of the couple's bonds of love, commitment, trust, and hope for the future. Turning to her cherished friends, the Elm Creek Quilters, Sarah asks them to pool their creative gifts. As the women stitch, their memories render a vivid pastiche of family, friendship, and love in all its varieties.
"The Wedding Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts #18)" Reviews
I have a feeling that you will either love it (having not read the other books) or dislike it based on the JUMP in time and the recapping of all the loose story lines out there. I got the feeling that this was closure to Elm Creek Quilts-- without telling the fans who have read all 17 books that this was happening. I would have rather read a book about the Aloha Quilt Camp and experience the wedding first had. I would have rather read a book about how Sylvia found her California relative and the story there. I got the feeling that Jennifer Chiaverini was tired of the story lines and just closed them in a few paragraphs of remembering. And the twins, it would have been fun to follow them through their growing up and explore the relationships of a daughter not interested in quilting and son who was. Sigh, I will await what is next, but, I really would like to know Jennifer's thinking on this one.
Initial thoughts (186 pages read) - I wonder why this novel was written almost entirely as a recap of the past 20 years. It is set in the future, with Sarah and Matt's twins grown up and the daughter getting married. Instead of the novel focusing on the wedding, or the events leading up to the wedding, it is telling the story of every single Elm Creek quilter over the past 20-30 years. It's an odd way of telling the story.
Final thoughts - My initial opinion still stands. Way too much flashback, very little plot connecting the thread of stories. It was an ok book, just not good. I found myself skimming, trying to get back the actual wedding. If these stories needed to be included in the series, they should have taken up several additional books instead of cramming 25 years of back story into one novel.
Also, the inclusion of future details was odd. It sounded like, in only the next 25 years, the US will have adopted universal health care, much increased pay for teachers, completely rechargeable cars, and survived a huge environmental crisis. These details were interjected into the story and played no relevance to the plot, but they weren't elaborated on. Too much of a teaser. The story could have been set in 2011 without the mention of these futuristic changes.
I'm bummed. I was the fifth or sixth person at my library to read this book. I wanted it to be all about quilting, sharing more of the intimate lives of some of my favorite characters. Sadly, those two aspects were completely lacking.
This is the 18th book in the Elm Creek series.
I have read them all and in order but I will admit when I started this one I was a little lost as so many years had past since the last one. Once I understood that I enjoyedhte walk down memory lane in this book, while learning some new pieces to the puzzle.
Sarah's daughter Caroline is getting married. This is the book of everyone coming back together for the wedding and as we do this Sarah has a few walks donw memory lane. To me it was sort of a remonder book of what has gone on in the past books and really I was grateful. I read a lot of books and as these only coming out yearly, it is hard to remember everyone and everything.
I believe that this is the worst book that Chiaverini has ever written. I normally adore her books and eagerly wait for the next title to be released.
I will not reveal the plot, but I will say that I did not like the futuristic twist or the flashbacks. I thought that the story was aburd and difficult to follow.
Ever since I first read The Quiter’s Apprentice I have been a big fan of the Elm Creek Quilt series. I really enjoyed the characters that Chiaverini had created and looked forward to visiting with them in each new book. Then the author detoured into other time periods and began writing about other quilters, most notably Sylvia’s cousin, Elizabeth, who moved to California during the Prohibition Era and their Civil War era ancestors, Anneka and Gerda. At first, even the books that explored other eras also featured the original Elm Creek Quilters (for example when Sylvia discovers Gerda’s memoirs, the book alternated between Gerda’s story and the story of Sylvia discovering and reacting to this new bit of family history and its implications) but as the series progressed, the author neglected her original characters more and more,. I was frustrated by this because A) I loved the original characters so much and B) Chiaverini had left a lot of unresolved plot points dangling in the current timeline: including the integration of several new Elm Creek Quilters, several couples in the process of coming together or growing apart, and Sarah pregnant with twins.
So I was excited to read The Wedding Quilt because we were finally going to visit with my favorite characters and see what they had been up to. And now that I have finished the book, I am sorry to say that I was very disappointed. The book takes place 25 years in the future when Sarah daughter (who we haven’t even met yet before now) is getting married. As a result, the book bounces back and forth between Sarah getting ready for the wedding and reminiscing about everything that has led up to this point. The jump ahead to the future was incredibly annoying. The little futuristic touches that Chiaverini throws in (from the new kind of gaming console that Diane’s son, Michael, invented to the social changes just came across as silly or preachy or –like much of this book – half baked afterthoughts). The story, itself, is presented in a series of flashback and summaries, usually in the same tone and with the same amount of depth and development that the author uses when recapping information from past books. The birth of Sarah’s twins, the passing of several beloved characters (including Sylvia and Agnes) are all glossed over without any real emotional impact which is almost disrespectful to the characters we have come to care for over the series. And Chiaverini rushes through several romantic relationships with a callous “lets-just-jump-to-the-end” attitude that was just completely unsatisfying and annoying.
If the author had run out of things to say about this particular group of characters but was feeling some pressure to wrap up their stories for the fans, I could maybe begin to understand why the author wrote this half-hearted perfunctory book but there were several plot points that easily could been developed into much more satisfying books or Hall integrated with another book to provide a more interest counterpoint between the characters in this timeline and those from an earlier era. (The storyline of Agnes trying to save the historic Union Hall would have made a nice counterpoint to the events of The Union Quilters which told of how the hall was created and would have given the author the opportunity to visit with characters from both the past and the present). All in all, I am beginning to get a little disenchanted with the series and if something doesn’t change in the next few books, I have to say that I am more likely to re-read one of the earlier books than pick up one of the new ones.
I've faithfully read every one of the Elm Creek Quilts books in order. And this is the latest installment. While a lot of these could be read stand alone, I think too much background information is lost to read it that way if you plan on reading the entire series. Although, it seems that with each book Chiaverini gets further and further away from the comfort of the first books.
It's several years into the future and Sarah McClure's daughter is getting married. As she prepares for the wedding at Elm Creek Manor, Sarah reminisces back over the previous twenty five years to when the twins were born and certain events that happen during those years. Most notably, a lot of time is given to the saving of Union Hall from development and it's place as a historic building on the register to protect it. The Elm Creek Quilter's were a big part of that and she goes on to describe how it happens. There is also a long sequence on the birth of the twins and little snippets of other stories here and there interspersed with greeting guests for the wedding and working on a surprise quilt for her daughter.
Even though I knew all the characters in this book, I have to say, they just didn't feel like themselves. Sarah has always been a bit standoffish to me but in this book she completely didn't seem herself and more like a stranger. Her husband Matt was even worse as I couldn't bring myself to like him at all. Sylvia was absent, what with it being twenty five years in the future and her an old lady in even the original books, and many of the other characters were departed or unable to attend due to age. It was rather depressing actually. Sarah's children I felt no connection to as we were rushed through most of their childhood and only got glimpses of them in this book. So I really didn't care about the wedding at all since I didn't know the character. While some of the old characters were glimpsed in the flashbacks by Sarah, those were the only times that I really felt connected to the book and they weren't near long enough.
Because of all the flashbacks the book was terribly hard to sink into. It was jarring to read and I would have preferred that Chiaverini actually take the time to take all these events and make their own book. Starting this far in the future made it seem as if she is done with the series and that's all fine and dandy if she is, except that I know there's another book after this one. So it will be interesting to see what that contains since everything else is wrapped up in this book. At the very least it may signal that she's done with this particular set of characters, which will be disappointing as I didn't care for her historic forays in the series that much and that seems to be what will be left in the series. There was very little about quilting in this book as well and while a sub plot was started up about quilting, I never actually saw the ending too it, although it could have been lost in the confusion of the subplots I suppose. I wanted so much to like this book in spite of the ending of my favorite characters, but even the writing style left much to be desired.
Just not the book I thought it was going to be. Depending on the next book in the series I may choose to discontinue reading these books as I become more and more disappointed with each one. Authors have a right to choose to write about something else, but as a reader I have the right to continue not to read if that does happen. I can only hope Chiaverini somehow gets back to the characters I love after this one.
The Wedding Quilt
Review by M. Reynard 2012
More of my reviews can be found at www.ifithaswords.blogspot.com