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The Christmas Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini

The Christmas Quilt (2005)

by Jennifer Chiaverini

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The Christmas Quilt
This story starts out with Sylvia and Sarah and they have uncovered the Christmas Quilt that a relative had started and never finished.
The story then goes back in time to when Sylvia was growing up and the economy got worse. Not only did her father have problems selling their horses but they had loans from the bank as did all the neighbors.
When Eleanor, her mother finds out she made more strudel and passed it around to all the neighbors. She then went and cleaned out her closets to give the clothes to others who needed it more. The kids also collected toys to give to others-which is still done.
Love the story of their Christmas pickle. Sad to hear of her mother's passing but nice to hear how they name the horses after her favorite quilt block. Loved all the talks of quilt blocks.
The year Sylvia got her first ever sewing kit was precious. Love how the pickle was discovered and hearing about the tradition of decorating a tree outside.
I received this book from National Library Service for my BARD (Braille Audio Reading Device). ( )
  jbarr5 | Feb 14, 2014 |
It is nice to read an easy book after the Time Traveler's Wife. I like the continuity of this series, though I hear Chiaverini claims it is not a series. I like to revisit the characters and see what they are up to. This book follows The Gentle Art of Domesticity a bit, because the stories recounts a lot of domestic scenes and highlights how simple activities in the domestic arena can make people happy. There is a lot of repetition of other stories in the series, however. The repetition does fit in, but gets a bit old. ( )
  jlapac | Aug 14, 2013 |
This is the first book I've read by this author and it turned out to be a fine holiday-themed introduction to the series. I learned some basic things about Elm Creek Manor, the residence in Pennsylvania that hosts a quilting workshop. Mostly I was taken back in time through the memories of Sylvia, an original family member, to when this place was home to an extended family and to their Christmas traditions. There was her childhood in the 1930s, her marriage as a young woman, her husband and other important men in her life entering the service during WWII. The biggest part of the book is her nostalgic recall of these earlier times when the large house was a bustling home.

The story is somewhat idealized, but that is what I expected to find in this genre; I don't know yet if other books in the series follow this style of storytelling. I liked that a textile art is highlighted since the creative spark is all around us. Although quilting seems mostly utilitarian, the designs of the blocks have real meaning and serve as way to pass down memories.

It's a well-crafted book offering several points of contemplation. The way Sylvia, who is now in her 70s, remembers all these earlier events reminds us of how our life is one big package and every part is connected and has meaning. And not just the big life-and-death events, but all the everyday decisions and projects, like making a quilt.

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1 vote indigo7 | Jan 24, 2012 |
This book fits in chronologically earlier, so it can be read out of order or skipped altogether. Reading about the strudel making made me hungry and I wondered if I ever had one. There was a lot more about the rivalry between Sylvia and her sister Claudia, but in the end her regret for leaving the manor and not returning for fifty years. ( )
  eliorajoy | Apr 26, 2011 |
Christmas Eve at Elm Creek Manor revives Sylvia Bergstrom Compson's memories of happier Bergstrom family Christmases, as well as the tragedy and conflict that drove her away from her family home for fifty years. Sylvia's memories are interspersed with plans for the current Christmas. Sylvia sees a parallel between her assistant, Sarah's, rocky relationship with her mother and Sylvia's own unresolved differences with her deceased sister, Claudia. Sylvia does her best to encourage Sarah to make peace with her mother before it's too late.

While this is a heartwarming Christmas story, it doesn't seem to serve much purpose in this series. Although this was the eighth book published in the series, it falls chronologically much earlier – as best I can tell, between the first and second books. Sylvia's reminiscences felt like a rehash of the first book in the series. There wasn't much new information here, other than one new character who seems likely to reappear in future books in the series. I don't think it will spoil the series to read this one out of order, so I recommend saving it for a time when you're in the mood for a light holiday read. ( )
1 vote cbl_tn | Dec 31, 2010 |
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Meinen Grosseltern, Virginia und Edward Riechmann
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Es war ein Wunder, dass in Sylvias Elternhaus, das so mit Erinnerungen angefüllt waar, überhaupt noch Platz für Möbel blieb.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 074328657X, Hardcover)

When Christmas Eve comes to Elm Creek Manor, the tenor of the holiday is far from certain. Sylvia Bergstrom Compson, the Master Quilter, has her own reasons for preferring a quiet, even subdued, Christmas. Her young friend Sarah McClure, however, takes the opposite view and decides to deck the halls brightly. As she explores the trunks packed with Bergstrom family decorations that haven't been touched in more than fifty years, Sarah discovers a curious Christmas quilt. Begun in seasonal fabrics and patterns, the quilt remains unfinished.

Sylvia reveals that the handiwork spans several generations and a quartet of Bergstrom quilters -- her great aunt, her mother, her sister, and herself. As she examines the array of quilt blocks each family member contributed but never completed, memories of Christmases past emerge.

At Elm Creek Manor, Christmas began as a celebration of simple virtues -- joy and hope buoyed by the spirit of giving. As each successive generation of Bergstroms lived through its unique trials -- the antebellum era, the Great Depression, World War II -- tradition offered sustenance even during the most difficult times. For Sylvia, who is coping with the modern problem of family dispersed, estranged, or even forgotten, reconciliation with her personal history may prove as elusive as piecing the Christmas Quilt.

Elm Creek Manor is full of secrets, from a Christmas tree with unusual properties to the sublime Bergstrom strudel recipe. Sylvia's tales at first seem to inform her family legacy but ultimately illuminate far more, from the importance of women's art to its place in commemorating our shared experience, at Christmastime and in every season.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:13 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

While decorating Elm Creek Manor on Christmas Eve, Sarah McClure discovers an incomplete Christmas quilt and sets out to uncover its history with the help of Sylvia Bergstrom Compson, who reveals why the quilt had never been finished.

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