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Publisher's Summary

An engaging tale full of warmth and wisdom, The Quilter’s Apprentice is the first novel in best-selling author Jennifer Chiaverini’s Elm Creek Quilts series. Sarah McClure takes a job helping elderly Sylvia Compson prepare her family estate for sale. Sylvia, a master quilter, agrees to share the tricks of the trade with Sarah. As the two women grow close, Sylvia shares her family’s tragic past, compelling Sarah to look at her own life more closely.
©1999 Jennifer Chiaverini (P)2004 Recorded Books
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Demurr on 09-19-13

A Mixed Bag

While I finished the book, the story was slow and only mildly interesting. It was a struggle to finish, but I neither liked nor hated it. The narrator was good, and created a large variety of voices.

This book is about a woman that is temporarily employed to clean up a mansion. She begins to learn quilting from the owner, and eventually learns about the owner and her family's past.

I liked the realistic quality of the human interactions and conflict. That being said, I found the main character's low self esteem and lack of confidence to be grating, sometimes. She's supposed to be older than I am, but her spineless moments seem better suited to a teenager with little experience in the real world. Also, there were times when a character wouldn't make a logical jump, but they had all the information necessary to make it. There is nothing more frustrating than a writer that makes her characters slow on the uptake. Oh, and the men in the story are all flat, two-dimensional characters--even Sarah's husband and Sylvia's "wild" brother!

I think I enjoyed the end more because it meant I was finished with the book than because it actually satisfied me. Everything came together too neatly, like a fairy tale, and all the flaws that made the people realistic before the last two chapters suddenly disappeared or were resolved in a day--including 50 years of bitter animosity.

Altogether, I only recommend this if you really like quilting and repressed people, or quaint stories with strong morals and a PG-rating, and not a lot of introspection, deep or otherwise. If you have never quilted, expect your eyes to glaze over when they discuss technique--which is not too often, thankfully.

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41 of 43 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Debbie on 08-03-13

Beautiful patchwork of memories and quilts

This one started out a little slow for me. But it quickly picked up. I also wasn't fond of the narration of the voice of Sarah's husband. Thankfully there wasn't too much of that. The story itself was absolutely wonderful, spanning more than 50 years, from before WWI until the present time. The telling of how two sisters learned to quilt and the sibling rivalry that existed between them from the beginning touched me. At first, I thought I wouldn't be interested in continuing this series because of the slow beginning and the male voice narration. But after the first half hour, I was hooked. This series is better than the other similar series that I've read, dealing honestly with the brokenness and pain that families suffer, and the mistakes made early in life that often haunt us decades later. I'm a quilter myself, but most women with family values would enjoy this book.

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20 of 21 people found this review helpful

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