Jennifer Chiaverini's storytelling gift is surpassed only by her
knowledge of the art of quilting. She ably entwines the craft with
the lore in the sixth of a series beloved by fans of the Elm Creek
Sylvia Bergstrom Compton, director of the Elm Creek Manor, is
preparing for her late-in-life wedding to her longtime friend,
Andrew. She decides that, instead of making a new wedding quilt,
she will use the beautiful masterpiece quilt pieced by her mother,
Eleanor. Sylvia's mother died at age 30 and Sylvia barely remembers
her, but she does remember the beautiful quilts that adorned the
beds of her childhood home. She climbs to the attic of the Manor to
rummage through crates and trunks and discovers to her dismay that
not a single quilt remains. Sylvia left home at an early age and
her sister had sold the valuable quilts decades earlier when the
family fell on hard times.
Sylvia's younger Manor employees help her launch an Internet
search. Through emails and phone calls, Sylvia learns of quilts in
homes, museums and shops that match the descriptions of those she
most vividly remembers from her childhood. Sylvia and Andrew set
out on a nationwide tour in Andrew's motor home to follow the
scraps of information.
THE QUILTER'S LEGACY chronicles the search for her mother's
masterpiece quilts and, thus, the history of Eleanor's life in
Manhattan and Pennsylvania at the turn of the 20th century. Sylvia
learns that her mother defied her parent's Victorian dictum to
marry to enhance the family fortune by eloping with the man she
loves. The hardships and glories of the early years, from the 1918
Spanish Flu epidemic to the sinking of the Titanic weigh upon
Eleanor's family. Sylvia and Andrew ramble through museums,
antiques and crafts stores from California to Iowa to Pennsylvania
in search, not only of the quilts, but of her mother's past.
As Sylvia recovers some of the lost quilts and resigns herself to
the loss of those that can never be found, she rejoices in
discovering her own legacy. Women who quilt will revel in the
detail and history of famous patterns and the stories they tell.
For non-quilters, a door may be opened to tempt one to delve into
this intriguing craft.
Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 23, 2011
The Quilter's Legacy