The Quilter’s Apprentice

The Quilter’s Apprentice

Master quilter Sylvia Compson shares the secrets of her creative gifts with her young assistant, Sarah McClure. 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 jealously and betrayal; of misunderstanding, loss, and a tragedy that can never be undone.

Excerpt

"A heartwarming story of relationships that, like pieces of a quilt, can be connected with discord or with harmony."-Sandra Dallas, author of The Persian Pickle Club

From debut novelist Jennifer Chiaverini comes THE QUILTER'S APPRENTICE, a delightful, timeless story of loyalty and friendship.

After moving with her husband, Matt, to the small college town of Waterford, Pennsylvania, Sarah McClure struggles to find a fulfilling job. In the meantime, she agrees to help seventy-five-year-old Sylvia Compson prepare her family estate, Elm Creek Manor, for sale. As part of her compensation, Sarah is taught how to quilt by this cantankerous elderly woman, who is a master of the craft.

During their lessons, Mrs. Compson reveals how her family was torn apart by tragedy, jealousy, and betrayal, and her stories force Sarah to face uncomfortable truths about her own alienation from her widowed mother. As their friendship deepens, Mrs. Compson confides in Sarah the truth about why she wants to sell Elm Creek Manor. In turn, Sarah seeks a way to bring life and joy back to the estate so Mrs. Compson can keep her home-and Sarah can keep her cherished friend. The Quilter's Apprentice teaches deep lessons about family, friendship, and sisterhood, and about creating a life as you would a quilt: with time, love, and patience, piecing the miscellaneous and mismatched scraps into a beautiful whole.

Read the first chapter »

Quilts

Sarah’s Sampler Castle Wall

Praise

I marvel at the craft of the work, the quiet architecture which allows the story to carry the load. Like the quilts described, the novel itself is carefully pieced together and each piece feels, sounds and is fat with history and meaning. This is a quiet, beautiful novel, full of gentle wisdom and genuine humility. It is a rare work these days.

— Percival Everett, author of FRENZY and WATERSHED

The Quilter's Apprentice is a story of forgiveness, friendship, and letting go of the past. It is a beautiful first novel by Jennifer Chiaverini that crosses generations and, once read, should be passed to mothers and sisters and friends... The Quilter's Apprentice will take you on a journey that will introduce you to two remarkable women and shows us all that we can reach across generations and find friendship as well as learning from each other.

— Carolyn McCutcheon, Borders Staff Reviews

The Quilter's Apprentice is a novel that is sure to cause some buzz in the quilting bees. Quilting propels the plot and colors the background of this first novel by Jennifer Chiaverini. It is obvious that the author practices and loves quilting herself, as her many references to the art and social context of quilting are accurate and realistic. Best of all, the conclusion ties all of the story's threads together as only a quilter could.

— Judy Martin, quiltmaker, designer, author

With quiet intelligence and dry wit, Jennifer Chiaverini explores the delicate relationships between women--mothers and daughters, sisters, and friends. The world she creates in The Quilter's Apprentice is rich with the textured, complicated lives of memorable characters engaged in the hard business of ordinary life. Chiaverini tells an involving story of strong women who sustain and nourish each other, and of the young woman who comes to find her own strength and identity, both within this affirming circle and outside it.

— Charlotte Holmes, author of GIFTS AND OTHER STORIES

I enjoyed every word of Jennifer Chiaverini's story about friendship and forgiveness. She very accurately portrays the spirit and sense of humor of today's quilters. If The Quilter's Apprentice were a true story, I would love to be a part of Sarah's and Sylvia's brilliant project.

— Marianne Fons, author of QUILTER'S COMPLETE GUIDE

Jennifer Chiaverini's first novel is a heartwarming story of relationships that, like pieces of a quilt, can be connected with discord or with harmony. You'll discover friendship here, and you'll learn a thing or two about quilting, too.

— Sandra Dallas, author of THE PERSIAN PICKLE CLUB

For readers who enjoyed Jan Karon's "Mitford" series, The Quilter's Apprentice is a must read. Sarah McClure, a newcomer to a small college town, takes a temporary position at Elm Creek Manor, helping its reclusive owner Syliva Compson prepare her family estate for sale. As payment for her work, Sylvia teaches Sarah to quilt, while telling about the hardships of growing up during World war II. As the two women become friends, Sylvia helps Sarah face her own family struggles. Together, they learn the value of family, friendship and forgiveness.

— Leah Robarts, Abilene Reporter-News

A debut tale of two women, one young, one old, who learn to craft new lives and mend old ones as they sew a quilt...Nicely stitched together (and fun for quilters)

— Kirkus Reviews

Patiently piecing scraps of material, the quilters explore both women's lives, stitching details and solutions together slowly but with courage and strength. Chiaverini, a quilter herself, has pieced together a beautiful story in this first novel. Sarah and Matt are a charming couple who prove that problems really do have solutions. Women -- daughters, sisters, and mothers -- will enjoy it. Recommended.

— Library Journal

Chiaverini's first novel is really a story within a story. Sarah McClure, estranged from her mother, newly married and unemployed, reluctantly hires on as the personal assistant to a disagreeable old woman, Sylvia Compson. As the barriers of age, initial dislike, and distrust break down, Sarah learns the heartbreaking secrets of Sylvia's lonely life. The vehicle for their growing friendship is the quilting lessons Sylvia gives to Sarah...There's plenty of folklore about quilting and how these artistic endeavors bring women together in circles of quilting and friendship. Quilters especially will enjoy this story of friendship and forgiveness.

— Booklist

I enjoyed the way Chiaverini deftly stitched the lives of these two women together. That she chose patchwork and quilting to help tell the story was a special bonus. Tell Sarah and Sylvia I'd quilt with them any day!

— Ami Simms, author of HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR QUILTING STITCH and INVISIBLE APPLIQUE

Local Author Stitches Together Intriguing Novel

— John Nichols, The Capital Times

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