The Quilter's Apprentice: A Novel (The Elm Creek Quilts) Info

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Jennifer Chiaverini’s bestselling Elm Creek Quilts series
starts with The Quilter’s Apprentice, a timeless tale of
family, friendship, and forgiveness as two women weave the disparate
pieces of their lives into a bountiful and harmonious whole, and begin
the legacy of the Elm Street Quilters.

When Sarah McClure and her
husband, Matt, move to Waterford, Pennsylvania, she hopes to make a
fresh start in the small college town. Unable to find a job both
practical and fulfilling, she takes a temporary position at Elm Creek
Manor helping its reclusive owner Sylvia Compson prepare her family
estate for sale and after the death of her estranged sister. Sylvia is
also a master quilter and, as part of Sarah’s compensation, offers
to share the secrets of her creative gifts with the younger woman.


During their lessons, the intricate, varied threads of
Sylvia’s life begin to emerge. It is the story of a young wife
living through the hardships and agonies of the World War II home front;
of a family torn apart by jealousy and betrayal; of misunderstanding,
loss, and a tragedy that can never be undone. As the bond between them
deepens, Sarah resolves to help Sylvia free herself from remembered
sorrows and restore her life—and her home—to its former
glory. In the process, she confronts painful truths about her own
family, even as she creates new dreams for the future.

Just as
the darker sections of a quilt can enhance the brighter ones, the
mistakes of the past can strengthen understanding and lead the way to
new beginnings. A powerful debut by a gifted storyteller, The
Quilter’s Apprentice
tells a timeless tale of family,
friendship, and forgiveness as two women weave the disparate pieces of
their lives into a bountiful and harmonious whole.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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Reviews for The Quilter's Apprentice: A Novel (The Elm Creek Quilts):

5

May 24, 2011

There are times that you want to read a book that doesn't have any vampires, werewolves, serial killers and/or detectives from various historical periods and you just want to read a book about normal people, leading everyday lives but with a story to tell and if that's the case then this book is just the thing! It wasn't particularly exciting, but it has a cast of warm characters, quilts, and is very easy to read. It's very much along the lines of Debbie Macomber's books - the feel rather than There are times that you want to read a book that doesn't have any vampires, werewolves, serial killers and/or detectives from various historical periods and you just want to read a book about normal people, leading everyday lives but with a story to tell and if that's the case then this book is just the thing! It wasn't particularly exciting, but it has a cast of warm characters, quilts, and is very easy to read. It's very much along the lines of Debbie Macomber's books - the feel rather than the writing style - and that's not a criticism. I really enjoyed this book and will hopefully read more of them in the future but they're not easy to come by in the UK and are VERY expensive, but maybe worth it once in a while if you're in the need of a feel good fix! ...more
4

Sep 28, 2008

This was a quick easy read with nothing heavy of tense. I liked the way it explained some of the history of the block names. That was new to me. I also found out that I quilt left handed! I would've liked more description of the house which was being sorted. It was good to have a more realistic character who isn't finding life a bed of roses. I went to the Elm Creek web site so I could find out the proper order to read the books in so the story is more continuous:

"If you would like to read the This was a quick easy read with nothing heavy of tense. I liked the way it explained some of the history of the block names. That was new to me. I also found out that I quilt left handed! I would've liked more description of the house which was being sorted. It was good to have a more realistic character who isn't finding life a bed of roses. I went to the Elm Creek web site so I could find out the proper order to read the books in so the story is more continuous:

"If you would like to read the books in something approximating chronological order, please note the following:

* The Christmas Quilt takes place in the interim between The Quilter's Apprentice and Round Robin.
* The Sugar Camp Quilt is set in 1849-1850, so it takes place before the events chronicled in Gerda's memoir in The Runaway Quilt.
* The Quilter's Homecoming is set mainly in 1925, but it branches off from a storyline introduced in The Christmas Quilt.
* The New Year's Quilt immediately follows The Quilter's Legacy.

Because they are set entirely in the past and do not feature the contemporary characters, The Sugar Camp Quilt and The Quilter's Homecoming work particularly well as stand-alone novels and can be enjoyed as your first Elm Creek Quilts novel or at any point in the series. "

http://elmcreek.net/index.php/main/faq/ ...more
2

Aug 24, 2008

I picked this book up because I had heard gushing reviews from many members of my quilting guild. Note to self, don't rush out and buy books recommended by gray haired ladies. Not to say that gray haired ladies can't recommend excellent books. I will be checking out recommendations, like the rest of this series, from the public library. Well, at least I can pass this on to my gray haired mother.

It's a decent story but a bit predictable. Ok, very predictable. But it has a couple of interesting I picked this book up because I had heard gushing reviews from many members of my quilting guild. Note to self, don't rush out and buy books recommended by gray haired ladies. Not to say that gray haired ladies can't recommend excellent books. I will be checking out recommendations, like the rest of this series, from the public library. Well, at least I can pass this on to my gray haired mother.

It's a decent story but a bit predictable. Ok, very predictable. But it has a couple of interesting twists. I thought the characters were a bit one-dimensional. In some books like of this genre, the setting can be fascinating and can make the story but I didn't feel like her descriptions of the manor were fleshed out enough to really make me care for it. And if Ms Compton had said "Hmph" one more time, I may have stopped reading. ...more
5

Jan 26, 2011

What a charming story. I love quilting. I love reading. So this book was just about perfect for me. While it was largely a work of fiction, the aspects about quilting were not. They were very instructional in a non-boring type of way.

Sarah and her husband have recently moved to a small town where he was able to find a job. Having had to give up her own job for the move, Sarah is desperately trying to find one in this place with no luck. No luck that is until she accompanies him to one of his What a charming story. I love quilting. I love reading. So this book was just about perfect for me. While it was largely a work of fiction, the aspects about quilting were not. They were very instructional in a non-boring type of way.

Sarah and her husband have recently moved to a small town where he was able to find a job. Having had to give up her own job for the move, Sarah is desperately trying to find one in this place with no luck. No luck that is until she accompanies him to one of his client's he is doing landscaping restoration for.

At first she find Sylvia Compson to be crotchety and rude. Certainly no one to spend a lot of time with. However, when Mrs. Compson offers her a job restoring and cleaning the inside of her beautiful mansion, Sarah agrees on one condition; part of her pay will be quilting lessons. Mrs. Compson quickly agrees and as Sarah spends more time with her she learns that Mrs. Compson truly is a wonderful person and also has many stories to tell and quilting knowledge to share.

Through these stories she is able to see why Mrs. Compson is the way she is and also why she is so hesitant to join a local quilting guild. They also try to devise a way to save Elm Creek Manor, Mrs. Compson's beautiful home.

The writing was largely in the 3rd person except for when Mrs. Compson is telling her stories. Those are told in the first person and are separated by different chapters from the rest of the text. A bit of warning, if you aren't familiar with quilting it could be somewhat hard to understand some of the terminology. As it is, as a novice quilter myself I had to go look up some of the patterns I didn't recognize. But really, that's half the fun!

I look forward to reading the next in the series. Chiaverini apparently has many books out that all relate so its nice to know I can continue enjoying the stories for quite some time. It definitely inspires me to go finish that quilt I've been slacking on!

The Quilter's Apprentice
Copyright 1999
210 pages ...more
5

Sep 18, 2011

I started reading Jennifer Chiaverini's series on the Elm Creek Quilts. This first novel takes Sarah and Matt McClure to Waterford, Pennsylvania. Matt had accepted a position with a landscape architecture group in Waterford. Sarah had to leave her job and hopefully would find another in Waterford. Her potential was in accounting; but she hoped to try and get into some other area of business.

Sarah being unable to find a job, took a temporary job with Sylvia Compson to prepare her estate for I started reading Jennifer Chiaverini's series on the Elm Creek Quilts. This first novel takes Sarah and Matt McClure to Waterford, Pennsylvania. Matt had accepted a position with a landscape architecture group in Waterford. Sarah had to leave her job and hopefully would find another in Waterford. Her potential was in accounting; but she hoped to try and get into some other area of business.

Sarah being unable to find a job, took a temporary job with Sylvia Compson to prepare her estate for sale. Matt had been assigned to help Sylvia also with refurbishing the grounds. Sylvia, being a master quilter, was approached my Sarah to give her quilting lessons as payment for helping her.

During the quilting sessions, Sarah begins to learn about Sylvia's life; the hardships, a family torn apart by jealousy and betrayal, misunderstandings, loss and a tragedy that couldn't be undone.
Sarah so much wants to help Sylvia turn her life around and help her through her sorrows.

These two women become fast friends and find a way for Sylvia to have a new beginning at Elm Creek Manor.

I am not a quilter, but I did enjoy reading this book. Maybe, it's not to late to learn. ...more
5

Nov 15, 2013

I always love reading about the elm creek quilters. They seem like old friends.
3

Jan 07, 2011

The first in the Elm Creek Quilts quilting series, Quilter’s Apprentice is disappointingly juvenile in its writing although Chiaverini does a lovely job of setting up the series.

The primary character, Sarah, has given in to her husband’s need for a job by throwing up her accounting position when Matt gets a job offer in another city. Sarah does not want to continue in accounting and is having trouble landing interviews for anything else so when Matt has the opportunity, he takes Sarah along on a The first in the Elm Creek Quilts quilting series, Quilter’s Apprentice is disappointingly juvenile in its writing although Chiaverini does a lovely job of setting up the series.

The primary character, Sarah, has given in to her husband’s need for a job by throwing up her accounting position when Matt gets a job offer in another city. Sarah does not want to continue in accounting and is having trouble landing interviews for anything else so when Matt has the opportunity, he takes Sarah along on a project where she picks up temporary work helping a woman tidy up her sister’s estate. An estate which just happens to include quilts. Of course, Sarah has also whetted her interest in quilts by having stopped in at a quilt shop in town.

The more Sarah gets to know Mrs. Compson as well as attending quilting meetings, the more she realizes there is a connection between the two…or should I say three, as the estate, Elm Creek Manor, has its own connection.

I do plan to read more of the series as it reminds me of my own love of traditional quilts and Chiaverini includes the history of quilts, their production, and the different types of quilting frames in a very natural manner. And I love the cover with its house set within a heart against a quilted cream background although the needle seems rather large for a between… ...more
4

Jun 05, 2013

This is the fourth Elm Creek Quilts novel that I have read. This is actually the first in the series and explains how Sarah and Matt became involved with Sylvia Compson and began Elm Creek Quilts. The others were fine read out of order but it was nice to hear the beginning of the story.

Once again, well developed characters who had both their strengths and weaknesses and who fought to work through problems with other family members. The storyline was interesting as Sylvia brought Sarah into the This is the fourth Elm Creek Quilts novel that I have read. This is actually the first in the series and explains how Sarah and Matt became involved with Sylvia Compson and began Elm Creek Quilts. The others were fine read out of order but it was nice to hear the beginning of the story.

Once again, well developed characters who had both their strengths and weaknesses and who fought to work through problems with other family members. The storyline was interesting as Sylvia brought Sarah into the world of her youth and young adulthood in order for Sarah to understand the complexities of what had happened to bring Elm Creek Manor to its demise. In turn, Sarah was able to help Sylvia forgive, forget, and move forward to bring Elm Creek Manor to life again. ...more
2

Nov 10, 2007

This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. The novel was easy to read -- but I found that the storylines weren't really fleshed out as much as I would have liked it to be.

Still, the way the story is told mirrors a key element of the story itself, which I found to be a unique, rather charming idea. Sarah, the main character, is learning to quilt — and boy did I learn a lot more about quilting through reading this novel! As Sarah painstakingly pieces together scraps of fabric in contrasting hues, her instructor, a sour old recluse named The novel was easy to read -- but I found that the storylines weren't really fleshed out as much as I would have liked it to be.

Still, the way the story is told mirrors a key element of the story itself, which I found to be a unique, rather charming idea. Sarah, the main character, is learning to quilt — and boy did I learn a lot more about quilting through reading this novel! As Sarah painstakingly pieces together scraps of fabric in contrasting hues, her instructor, a sour old recluse named Sylvia, shares vignettes from her past. Then, as Sarah begins stitching her blocks together to create a beautiful whole, Sylvia resolves to put away her hurt and anger and open her heart again to her home and family — making her whole again, too.

...more
4

Mar 27, 2011

Lovely story-within-a-story telling of two women who learn to patch together the unraveled parts of their lives as they stitch together a quilt. My only disappointment is the lack of pictures or drawings of the quilt squares; they were well-described, but I would have loved to see what they looked like.
3

Aug 24, 2019

The best thing about this book to me is how quilting symbolizes aspects of life and human interactions. Can I then say that the book is shallow? That is what I originally thought after finishing it. I don’t really know why I read the book. I have never been interested in quilts, nor had a desire to quilt even though I do other types of handiwork and have had friends who were crazy about it. I will just say that the book is a simple story, and I enjoyed it enough to complete it. But I probably The best thing about this book to me is how quilting symbolizes aspects of life and human interactions. Can I then say that the book is shallow? That is what I originally thought after finishing it. I don’t really know why I read the book. I have never been interested in quilts, nor had a desire to quilt even though I do other types of handiwork and have had friends who were crazy about it. I will just say that the book is a simple story, and I enjoyed it enough to complete it. But I probably won’t read any more of the series. ...more
3

Apr 14, 2018

Wonderful book, especially when you're into quilting. I even cried a bit in the end, because isn't it wonderful when people are kind to each other?
4

Jul 17, 2017

Recently I came across a tote of my grandmother's quilts which reminded me of this series.

I am not a re-read type of person. too many books not enough time.

But I dont remember much about the series or where I stopped reading( stupid looooooooong book slump and real life) so I am starting over with this series.

Sarah and her husband relocate to Waterford for his job. She has always been a dutiful daughter so she majored in accounting for job security as her mother preached.Upon arriving in town Recently I came across a tote of my grandmother's quilts which reminded me of this series.

I am not a re-read type of person. too many books not enough time.

But I dont remember much about the series or where I stopped reading( stupid looooooooong book slump and real life) so I am starting over with this series.

Sarah and her husband relocate to Waterford for his job. She has always been a dutiful daughter so she majored in accounting for job security as her mother preached.Upon arriving in town she tries to find a job in a different atea of business.

Meanwhile Matt's employer sends him off to Elm creek to ready the house for sale. Mrs Compton also needs gelp inside the house so Sarah accepts the job in exchange for quilting lessons.
This book is a good introduction to the series.The author gives us well rounded charctets complete with flaws, some history snd background on the town and info on quilting. Even though she is vivid in her descriptions I had a hard time seeing the quilting patterns. ...more
5

Jul 29, 2019

Reading about hobbies, like quilting, is interesting. I am very curious about all my life, for me, I think it is art to display as well as using them every day. I am intrigued to learn about the history of quilting and the stories behind the quilts and their blocks.
I picked The Quilter’s Apprentice because I heard Elizabeth from LizziefayeLovesBooks talking about this book and in one of book/reading podcasts they were talking about Jennifer Chiaverini. So I decided to pick it up when I saw it Reading about hobbies, like quilting, is interesting. I am very curious about all my life, for me, I think it is art to display as well as using them every day. I am intrigued to learn about the history of quilting and the stories behind the quilts and their blocks.
I picked The Quilter’s Apprentice because I heard Elizabeth from LizziefayeLovesBooks talking about this book and in one of book/reading podcasts they were talking about Jennifer Chiaverini. So I decided to pick it up when I saw it part of th Kindle unlimited handle I didn’t hesitate to pick it up and devour it in two sittings.
It is contemporary with historical fiction elements, it is a book about building new and old friendships, giving second chances to others as well as to yourself, and most importantly to learn forgive not only the other but also yourself.
You see how the quilting brings together all ages and now Sylvia and Sarah’s relationship blooms. It is heartwarming to see the connection of people through stitching and binding together a quilt.
I am looking forward to continuing with Elm Creek Quilts series and Jennifer Chiaverini’s other books. ...more
4

Jun 01, 2009


I really enjoyed this book, and I plan to post a Review very soon!
4

Mar 29, 2011

A quick, easy read. Amazingly clean. She does a wonderful job weaving the stories into the plot. I think she could have done more description, as well as development of the relationship between Sarah and Sylvia. It was nicely written. I like how she developed the characters and how they began to fall into place. I was curious to see what she did with the next book.
4

May 28, 2012

I am a quilter. I should state that at the outset. But I don't make quilts like many other people make quilts. I admire lots of tiny little pieces and stitches, but mine are...mine. They sometimes resemble something you've seen before, but sometimes they are something completely different. It depends on the fabric. Fabric is usually my starting point, not the pattern. Anyway…

I initially resisted this series but I was desperate one day for an audiobook and my library had this first in the series. I am a quilter. I should state that at the outset. But I don't make quilts like many other people make quilts. I admire lots of tiny little pieces and stitches, but mine are...mine. They sometimes resemble something you've seen before, but sometimes they are something completely different. It depends on the fabric. Fabric is usually my starting point, not the pattern. Anyway…

I initially resisted this series but I was desperate one day for an audiobook and my library had this first in the series. What kept me listening was partly the story: it reminded me of anything by Maeve Binchy because so many of readers’ wildest desires are quilted in that we can't resist. The other reason was that the speech patterns and cadence of the reader was so similar to the speaking voice of a person I know that I listened simply to hear how she would react to situations and how she would pronounce words.

Chiaverini is really very good. I enjoyed imagining the world created here, and like every other quilter out there, would love to have opportunities like those described in this novel. It is an excellent beginning to a series which I am sure has inspired more than one quilt. Chiaverini generously shares terms, techniques, and quilt names, all of which are candy to those of us who attempt these things every day. Even describing such things to someone outside the circle is difficult, but Chiaverini manages very well. She is the teacher we all wish we had.

I love the voice of the reader for the Playaway audiobook, Christina Moore. I have tried to locate a copy of the Mp3 audio file for my friend whose voice Christina’s resembles, but have not been able to locate a digital copy outside of a library. I will continue to try to find a digital download for my friend, but encourage interested “readers” to listen to any of the series books that Christina narrrates, especially since, if you are working on a quilt, it is a wonderful story to keep you working far after you would have thought you were finished for the day.
...more
3

Nov 03, 2018

Jennifer Chiaverini’s “Quilter’s Apprentice, “ our November book club selection, is the first in a 20-book series. Quilts, intergenerational women's friendships, long-time family conflicts, an old estate in disrepair—this book has all the threads (sorry, I had to) needed to launch a charming series. I wanted to like Sarah and Mrs. Compson, but their relationship felt wooden and stereotypical. Events unspooled exactly as expected and mimicked other feel-good, requisite happy ending books I’d Jennifer Chiaverini’s “Quilter’s Apprentice, “ our November book club selection, is the first in a 20-book series. Quilts, intergenerational women's friendships, long-time family conflicts, an old estate in disrepair—this book has all the threads (sorry, I had to) needed to launch a charming series. I wanted to like Sarah and Mrs. Compson, but their relationship felt wooden and stereotypical. Events unspooled exactly as expected and mimicked other feel-good, requisite happy ending books I’d read. I appreciated the quilting details because they were so unfamiliar to me and they really showed the crafts-womanship that this art requires. Because I love old houses, I enjoyed the details of restoration of the house and garden. Dating back to WW II, the family feud was sad, but seemed artificial and obligatory. Perhaps I’d enjoy the other books in the series now that the pattern has been sketched. And, perhaps the characters will develop as the series grows. For now, I can leave the Elm Creek Quilts Novel series without regret. It was an OK book, a quick read: no pain, no gain. Meh. ...more
4

Jan 13, 2019

Read & Go 2019 Reading Challenge:2. A novel involving a creative outlet
I am passionate about everything related to handiwork, especially needlework and I find quilting a beautiful craft that requires a lot of patience and dedication but that makes your creative side flourish, I deeply admire the people who are capable of doing these wonderful works of art with pieces of fabric, thread, needle and their incredible hands and imagination.
Chiaverini has been able to weave a beautiful story of Read & Go 2019 Reading Challenge:2. A novel involving a creative outlet
I am passionate about everything related to handiwork, especially needlework and I find quilting a beautiful craft that requires a lot of patience and dedication but that makes your creative side flourish, I deeply admire the people who are capable of doing these wonderful works of art with pieces of fabric, thread, needle and their incredible hands and imagination.
Chiaverini has been able to weave a beautiful story of friendship and camaraderie around quilting. I thoroughly enjoyed it. ...more
2

Mar 10, 2019

A young couple move to another a new home. They meet an older woman that changes their life. Naturally, there's information about various quilts. This is a light read.
5

Apr 14, 2017

For some reason, I almost didn't read this book. I loved it! It was filled with friends and a project and history and loss. And a beautiful ending!
3

Jan 23, 2017

Very sweet. I have read several of the books in this series and was glad to find out how everything started.
3

Nov 09, 2019

Light and pleasant enough to fill the niche formerly occupied by Debbie Macomber’s Blossom Street series—a world where everything is resolved by the end. Still, the characters are so shallowly developed that it wasn’t nearly as satisfying as Macomber. It’s the first book (on my TBR since about 2000) in a long series so perhaps Chiaverini was reserving some for later books. Loved the details and history of quilting.
5

Jan 13, 2019

Loved this feel good story. The characters were well developed and feel like friends that I don’t want to say good bye to.
5

Jun 16, 2011

I had an assignment to read a book I've read before and loved, I chose The Quilter's Apprentice and I'm glad I did. Though I remember reading this book at least ten years ago and loving it, I was surprised to discover how much I had forgotten. It was, again, a great read, so much so I'm reading the second in the series now.

Sarah eager to switch from her accounting job to one in public relations agrees to move to small town Waterford, PA where Matt, who was layed off a few years ago, accepts a I had an assignment to read a book I've read before and loved, I chose The Quilter's Apprentice and I'm glad I did. Though I remember reading this book at least ten years ago and loving it, I was surprised to discover how much I had forgotten. It was, again, a great read, so much so I'm reading the second in the series now.

Sarah eager to switch from her accounting job to one in public relations agrees to move to small town Waterford, PA where Matt, who was layed off a few years ago, accepts a position as a landscaper.

Soon Matt finds himself working to restore the grounds of Elm Creek Manor, an old historic home, owned at one time by the Bergstroms, known for raising thoroughbred horses.

Sylvia, Elm Creek Manor's only living heir, who has returned to her family estate after her sister Claudia's passing, has asked Sarah to help her ready the many rooms in the estate for sale and auction. Reluctantly Sarah agrees, though she insists Sylvia teach her to quilt as part of the arrangement.

Sylvia, reluctantly agrees and assures Sarah not only quilting lessons but time to go on interviews should Sarah need to.

Sarah falls in love with Elm Creek Manor and the Bergstrom family who she has come to know through Sylvia's stories about her life at the historic house.

Filled with well told reminiscing, blossoming friendships, details of quilt construction and self awakening, this first novel by Jennifer Chiaverini written more than ten years ago is a wonderful read.

...more

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