Diane Prather: ‘The New Year’s Quilt’ a heartwarming book with a message
Whenever I read one of the “Elm Creek Quilts Novels,” I think of my sister, Charlotte Allum, who always has a tote of quilting projects with her. It isn’t unusual for Charlotte to stitch away as she rides in a car.
In this week’s novel, Sylvia Compson Cooper stitches while Andrew, her new husband, drives them to New York.
It’s “The New Year’s Quilt,” the newest Jennifer Chiaverini novel that was released in November 2007.
Chiaverini has written 12 other “Elm Creek Quilts” books, 10 novels and two books of quilt projects inspired by the novels. She also has designed the Elm Creek Quilts fabric line from Red Rooster Fabrics.
The setting for all the novels is Elm Creek Manor, once a farm owned by the Bergstrom family. Years before, the farm was known for its thoroughbred horses. It’s where Sylvia Bergstrom lived as a child.
In later years, Sylvia inherited the farm and, with the help of Sarah McClure, turned it into the Elm Creek Quilt Camp, a retreat for quilters.
Visitors stay at the manor and, as students, learn the techniques of quilting. But they also find inspiration there and enjoy the companionship of other quilters.
Each person has a story and the individual stories have become the Elm Creek Quilts novels. This new book focuses on the life of Sylvia Compson, now Cooper.
As the book begins, Sylvia and Andrew are on their way to New York to tell Andrew’s daughter, Amy, that they are married. Amy was dead set against the marriage so they dread telling her.
This is a second marriage for both Sylvia and Andrew.
Sylvia’s husband died in the war, and Andrew’s wife succumbed to cancer. Sylvia has completely recovered from a stroke, but Amy believes she will become ill again and her father will have to go through the pain once again.
Although Sylvia and Andrew invited both his children and their families to the manor for Christmas, neither showed up.
It was a festive affair. The manor was decorated with poinsettias, ribbons and evergreen boughs. Scents of cinnamon, pine and roasting apples filled the house while outside the snow fell.
Elm Creek quilters and families, friends from nearby Waterford, college students, and even the mayor, Katherine Quigley, enjoyed a lavish Cornish game hen dinner.
However, a handful of people there knew a secret. The guests also were there to witness the marriage of Sylvia and Andrew.
And so, now that Christmas is over, and as they ride along in the car, Sylvia stitches the binding on the New Year’s Reflection quilt. The blocks, featured on the book’s inside cover pages, represent memories from Sylvia’s life. The quilt has been six years in the making, on and off again. Now, it will be a gift for Amy.
The blocks bring back memories of Sylvia’s early years, including a mistake made a long time ago, one that Sylvia hopes Amy won’t also make.
It’s a heartwarming book with a message.
“The New Year’s Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel” costs $19.95 in hardcover. It’s published by Simon & Schuster. The book also can be found at the Moffat County Library.
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