Sunday, January 15, 2017

Jennifer Chiaverini's New Year's Quilt

The New Year's Quilt
By Jennifer Chiaverini

A Book Review by Ginger Dawn Harman

I am a huge fan of Jennifer Chiaverini’s Elm Creek series and I thought what a better way to start the New Year than with a book by the author. With the beloved quilting characters, The New Year’s Quilt will not disappoint the reader. This novel could be easily read alone or as part of the series. I appreciate how Chiaverini gives just enough of a back story to fill new readers in and not lose her avid followers.

Amish Quilt (I took this photo while on a New Year road trip with my family to Bird In Hand, Pennsylvania.)

"THENEW YEAR S QUILT tells the story of how the newlyweds celebrate their first holiday season as husband and wife. Not content to rest at home by the fire, they set out on a journey across the snow-covered fields of Pennsylvania.

Their destination is Connecticut, and the home of Andrew's daughter Amy. Unlike the Elm Creek Quilters, Amy has not offered her blessing to the union. Though her father has reminded her that marriage endures in sickness and in health, Amy fears that Andrew and Sylvia have passed the age where marriage remains a prudent choice.

Sylvia hopes to win over her new daughter-in-law through the lessons that quilting reveals about the bonds of love and family. As a gift for Amy, she undertakes a quilt titled New Year”s Reflections, whose blocks represent the holiday traditions of Elm Creek Manor. As she stitches the blocks, memories of a lifetime come flooding back, along with words of wisdom meant to celebrate the achievements of generations past and create hope for the future."

Amish Handmade Quilt photo from our family New Year's Road Trip

My favorite part of this novel is the theme of “Resolutions” and not to be confused with goals but to create amends of hope. Chiaverini uses her gift of emotional scenes and imagery to captivate the reader into examining their own life choices of to forgive and move on. Those who quilt will recognize the great detail that the author uses with the descriptions and myths of the various quilt patterns. My only disappointment was that this novel was too short. The novel can be finished in a day or two. Maybe the author could have added a bit more into Amy’s background other than her mother’s death. With that being said, I did enjoy the book and was satisfied with the ending. I like how the author does not create an ending that gives an easy solution but one that is a bit open to continue the story in another book. 

Amish Handmade Quilt

My favorite quote was, “... a family was an act of creation, the piecing together of disparate fragments into one cloth -- often harmonious, occasionally clashing and discordant, but sometimes unexpectedly beautiful and strong. Without contrast, there was no pattern... and each piece... would endure if sewn fast to the others with strong seams -- bonds of love and loyalty, traditions and faith.” 

Handmade Quilt hanging outside an Amish Quilt shop

I do recommend Jennifer Chiaverini but I would suggest this not be your first sample of her books. Circle of Quilters and The SugarCamp Quilt are in my opinion her best novels. Yet, don’t be surprised if you become hooked to the series like I have and you might even wish to learn how to quilt in the process.

" In The New Year’s Quilt, Sylvia hopes to win over her reluctant daughter-in-law with the gift of a quilt, and the truths quilting reveals about the bonds of love and family. As Sylvia stitches the blocks, each one reminds her of the holiday traditions of Elm Creek Manor, celebrating generations past and offering hope for her new family’s future."

Machine pieced and appliquéd by Jennifer Chiaverini using fabrics from “Elm Creek Quilts: The New Year’s Quilt Collection” from Red Rooster Fabrics, machine quilted by Sue Vollbrecht, 2007
Photo Credit of Quilt: Jennifer Chiaverini


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