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Circle of Quilters (Elm Creek Quilts Series #9) Hardcover – April 3, 2006

96 customer reviews
Book 9 of 19 in the Elm Creek Quilts Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In a move that may frustrate fans, the eighth episode of Chiaverini's best-selling Elm Creek Quilts series (after The Sugar Camp Quilt) focuses on a roster of new quilting talent, as the rural Pennsylvania quilting retreat loses two of its charmed teachers. Each of the five candidates gets her or his own chapter; they begin variously-Maggie's first quilting find, a busy day for harried mom Karen, chef Anna's panic over a last-minute catering gig, Russ meeting his future wife, a morning argument between Gretchen and her husband-but they all end at Elm Creek Quilts, in an interview with the series's lead characters. Though the pleasures of the novel are many-well-drawn characters, cleverly intersecting plotlines, and Chiaverini's charming sense of humor among them-these may be cold comfort for those eager to find out the latest on Sarah McClure, Sylvia Compson and the rest of the gang, who take on greatly diminished roles. Also potentially maddening: the identity of the two quitting quilters isn't revealed until the end of the book. For new readers, a pedestrian pace and sentimental locale may prove off-putting, but for those with the taste for it, this is a great introduction to the Elm Creek world. It also sets up the coming volumes nicely, bringing fresh blood and new opportunities for drama to this sweet, escapist series.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Elm Creek Quilt Camp is firmly at the center of her latest novel in the series, though Chiaverini broadens the geography and characters. An ad for an instructor at the camp attracts candidates from near and far, all offering a look at different perspectives on what quilting means in their lives. Maggie, who works at a convalescent home, stumbled into quilting when she found one at a garage sale and traced its history; Russell, who completed the cancer quilt begun by his wife before she succumbed to that disease, brings an abstract aesthetic--and a male perspective--to the craft; Anna, who is as creative a chef as a quilter, lacks the confidence to stand up for herself in a failing relationship; and Gretchen is a veteran quilter who has struggled with humble beginnings, but her abiding love for the craft has inspired her to make of it a life and a business. All pass through Elm Creek Quilt Camp as the women who run and love the camp deliberate the meaning of the art form. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; First Edition edition (April 3, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743260201
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743260206
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #660,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jennifer Chiaverini is the New York Times bestselling author of MRS. LINCOLN'S DRESSMAKER, MRS. LINCOLN'S RIVAL, THE SPYMISTRESS, MRS. GRANT AND MADAME JULE, and other acclaimed historical novels. She also wrote the beloved Elm Creek Quilts series, as well as six collections of quilt patterns inspired by her books. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin. About her historical fiction, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel writes, "In addition to simply being fascinating stories, these novels go a long way in capturing the texture of life for women, rich and poor, black and white, in those perilous years."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Corinne H. Smith VINE VOICE on April 21, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Jennifer Chiaverini continues to use interesting styles of writing to keep the Elm Creek Quilts series alive and enjoyable.

We avid readers are familiar with the ficticious characters and traditions of the quilt camps held at Elm Creek Manor in Waterford, Pennsylvania. What we don't always remember is that Elm Creek Quilts is a business, one that faces the same kinds of challenges that any other organization does. In this installment, the women are planning to interview five candidates for the two teaching openings left behind by Summer and Judy. The book opens with the advertisement for the position. Then each of the first five chapters focuses on a single applicant. We learn about that candidate's history, personal life, personality, quilting experience, and interest in the craft. We experience the interview with her/him, including encounters and interactions with the other candidates. The final chapter returns to the Elm Creek Quilters as they debate the merits of each person and decide whom to hire. It takes them several weeks, and the process is not without its twists and turns. But they do make a decision, and it's one that holds a surprise or two.

What a great story-telling technique! It's human nature to pause between the fifth and sixth chapters and ponder the question, Who would I hire? I have to admit, I wasn't quite in agreement with the Quilters, but I'll live with their choices. This book is also a lesson in perspective. A dozen individuals see the same incident in a dozen different ways. That's Life. And what a great way to introduce some new blood into the familiar Circle of Quilters! We will undoubtedly meet these five individuals again. We *want* to meet them again. We wish them all well. Bravo, Jennifer!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A. Woodley on May 25, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Judy and Summer realised that their lives were taking them away from Elm Creek Camps in the last book about the campers themselves. In Circle of Quilters Chiaverini introduces us to the five candidates who are vying for their positions as teachers at Elm Creek Manor.

There is Maggie, who discovered a historical quilt and trained up her rusty skills by learning how to sew each different patch and then teaching others the same skills; Karen, the mother of two little boys who wants something outside the home too; Russell, a man who lost his wife, and took up quilting to finish her last quilt; Gretchen whose husband's accident propels her into making quilts for a living with Heidi, a woman who has money but only professional jealousy for Gretchen; and finally Anna who is a chef at college with an unsatisfactory boyfriend and plans for the future.

Five candidates for the two teaching positions available at Elm Creek Quilts. Chiaverini does for these five what she does best. She writes five separate stories about their lives, their pain, their loves and their passion for quilting - how they started, what they love doing and why - and by the end of the book I was crying. After all with five people you have grown so close to in this time it is difficult to know that some will have to be let go.

It had, in a sense a happy ending as each of the stories had an ending which suited it I really wanted them all to 'come home' to Elm Creek where they wanted to be.

I was somewhat surprised when in each of the interviews Diane was so obviously aggressive - I hadn't noticed this as part of the Elm Creek philosophy before.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By M. Kay DeFreese on March 31, 2006
Format: Hardcover
She writes another great novel. Her writing just gets better. In Circle of Quilters two of the Elm Creek quilters are leaving so five different people are being interviewed. Each quilter gets his or her own storyline. I wanted everyone of them to have the job while I was reading thier story. It starts out with a single woman who had just broken up with her boyfriend. She finds a antique quilt treated as a rag at a yardsale. She researches the history of it and decides to make another quilt. The second story is about a stressed out, under appreciated stay at home mom raising two under four boys. The third story is about a neighbor of Summer's boyfriend who longs to be a chef but her boyfriend doesn't understand her. The fourth is about a widower who starts quilting to finish up some of his deceased wife's UFOs and finds that he actually likes quilting. The final storyline is about an older woman who has been taken advantage of by a rich childhood friend all her life. Everything she would try to do in life her so called "friend" would try to do but even better.

So you have this storyline for each character and in the last few pages of each character there is the interview at Elm Creeks. There is one character who is quite critical of each of the applicants vying for the job and tries to sabotage each interview.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By D. Blankenship HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on October 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
There is something quite appealing about this author's work and this particular series. To be honest, I have not read a bad book in the whole bunch and this one is certainly no exception. We have plenty of synopses already written here, so I will leave that to others and just say, briefly, that two members of the group need to be replaced and this is the search for those new members. The author certainly has a native ability to tell a good story, great syntax and her character developement is absolutely great. These are comfortable books to read as you can always be pretty assured that right will rule out. In this day and age, that is sort of nice, i.e., nice to be able to rely upon. Now keep in mind, this is coming from a guy who has never made or even watched a quilt being made. (although I do enjoy the shows my wife takes me to). I do enjoy a good, well written story though. My wife turned me on to these books and for that I am truely grateful. Job well done Ms Chiaverini, thank you!
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