For the Elm Creek Quilters, the day after Thanksgiving marks the start of the quilting season, a time to gather at Elm Creek Manor and spend the day stitching holiday gifts for loved ones. This year, in keeping with the season's spirit of gratitude, Master Quilter Sylvia Bergstrom Compson Cooper is eager to revive a cherished family tradition. A recent remodeling of the manor's kitchen unearthed a cornucopia that once served as the centerpiece of the Bergstrom family's holiday table. Into it, each Bergstrom would place an object that symbolized something he or she was especially thankful for that year. On this quilter's holiday, Sylvia has invited her friends to continue the tradition by sewing quilt blocks that represent their thankfulness and gratitude.
As each quilter explains the significance of her carefully chosen block, stories of love and longing for family and friends emerge -- feelings that are also expressed in the gifts they work on throughout the day. Diane is thankful for her two sons, who've outgrown their youthful troubles to become fine young men, but she wishes they revered their family's traditions as much as she does. Anna, in her first holiday season as an Elm Creek Quilter, creates a quilt for her best friend even as she begins to question her feelings for him, which may have grown beyond friendship. Sylvia reflects upon holidays past spent with her beloved, long-lost cousin Elizabeth and wonders whatever became of her. Sarah, pregnant with twins, determinedly sews a Christmas gift for her father-in-law, whose persistent suggestions that her husband, Matt, come to work for his construction company have created tension in their marriage. And as Gretchen pieces a quilt for a charity she has not yet chosen and Gwen completes a project begun by her graduate school mentor, both women lend their talents to those in need.
As an early winter storm blankets Elm Creek Manor in heavy snow, the quilters find new meanings in their best-loved traditions and new reasons to be thankful. A Quilter's Holiday is a story of holiday spirit, in its truest, most generous sense.
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Jennifer Chiaverini is the author of the New York Times bestselling Elm Creek Quilts series, five collections of quilt projects, and several historical fiction novels. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives with her husband and sons in Madison, Wisconsin. To learn more, visit JenniferChiaverini.com.From Booklist:
Chiaverini’s latest offering is another in her series of novels intended for the holiday season. To follow The Christmas Quilt (2005), The New Year’s Quilt (2007), and a novel leading up to Thanksgiving (The Quilter’s Kitchen, 2008), she needed to get a little more inventive this time. The Quilter’s Holiday concerns a tradition taking place the day after Thanksgiving. The quilters’ circle gathers at the Elm Creek manor for a daylong marathon to create holiday decorations or gifts. The group pauses in their work for a scrumptious potluck lunch of dishes made from Thanksgiving leftovers. This year, in the midst of an early snowstorm, they also renew an old cornucopia tradition. Each quilter inserts a quilt block into an antique cornucopia, representing something for which they are especially thankful. Although the novel is a continuation of the long-running Elm Creek series, it may also be read as a stand-alone story evoking the holiday spirit. Longtime fans of the series will learn more of the quilters’ backstories and get delightful hints of what will follow in subsequent novels. A must for series fans. --Judy Coon
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