I spent the last week reading Jennifer Chiaverini's latest novel, The Giving Quilt.
From Plume Books:
From Plume Books:
Thanksgiving inspires generosity once a year, but what happens to the spirit of giving on the other 364 days? In THE GIVING QUILT, now available in paperback from Plume, New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini takes a page from her own life to deliver an emotional and poignant story very close to her heart. As a long-time member and advocate of Project Linus, an organization dedicated to providing handmade quilts and blankets to children in need, Jennifer decided to donate a very unique and special gift—a prime spot in one of her bestselling novels.
At Elm Creek Manor, the circle of quilters is hard at work preparing for “Quiltsgiving.” Held annually the week after Thanksgiving, expert and novice quilters from near and far gather for a special winter session of quilt camp to make pieces for Project Linus. As the week unfolds, the quilters respond to the question, “Why do you give?” in ways as varied as the life experiences that drew them to Elm Creek Manor. Each of the quilters, including a librarian, a teacher, a college student, and a quilt shop clerk, uses her unique talents to teach, inspire, and give back to her fellow campers.
With numerous New York Times bestsellers, Chiaverini is undoubtedly one of the masters of both modern and historical women’s fiction. Year after year, Chiaverini’s stories remain beloved by fans and praised by critics.
And my thoughts:
I have read several of Chiaverini's books and have enjoyed all of them-- not just because they're about quilters (yes, I have read bad quilt-fiction), but because of the comfortable atmosphere the storytelling evokes. I feel like I've been there, at Elm Creek Manor, and I can imagine being in the workshops, guild meetings, and quilt shops she describes. They are easy reads, and even though I don't agree with all of her characters' quilting choices or methods, I feel she really captures the essence of a quilter, if there is such a thing. But anyway.. The Giving Quilt is similar to her other novels set in modern day-- characters are introduced and then their individual stories are told. The highlight of this particular book for me was the return of Karen, a quilter we met in Circle of Quilters, who interviewed for a teaching position at Elm Creek Manor, but her two small sons got in the way (I totally identify with this character, btw). As realistic as her cast of quilters is, there are some purely fictitious elements of course-- all of the quilters' husbands! Now my husband is pretty amazing, funny, kind, generous, and I love him, but I could NEVER imagine him saying, "Oh honey, you work so hard, why don't I keep the kids while you go off for a relaxing week at quilt camp with your girlfriends." hahahahaha! Maybe one day, a girl can hope, right?
Plume Books has sent me two copies of the novel and six pins to give away to a handful of lucky readers. Now I've never done a give-away before, so bear with me.. if you'd like a chance to win, leave a comment telling me about your favorite gift you've given to someone. Make sure I've got a way to contact you (add your email address and/or make sure you're not a no-reply commenter). The giveaway will close Friday, April 5th at midnight on the East Coast. It's open to all-- I will ship internationally. Thanks for playing~