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The Quilter's Legacy (Elm Creek Quilts Series #5) Paperback – March 30, 2004

Book 5 of 20 in the Elm Creek Quilts Series

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Plume; 1st Thus. edition (March 30, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0452284678
  • ISBN-13: 978-0452284678
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,345,817 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Chiaverini's fifth and best Elm Creek Quilts novel again stitches together a patchwork of American life. This time she focuses on Elm Creek Quilts founder Sylvia Bergstrom Compson and her search for five quilts made by her mother, Eleanor, who died when Sylvia was 10. Sylvia and Eleanor's stories alternate, as Sylvia, an elderly widow now recovered from a stroke, prepares to marry her friend Andrew despite his children's opposition, while at the turn of the century, Eleanor, daughter of an affluent New York family, defies her mother by attending a suffragette meeting and quilting with her beloved nanny, Amelia Langley. When Eleanor's sister, Abigail, elopes with her father's business rival, Eleanor also runs away rather than be forced to marry Abigail's jilted fianc‚. On her way out the door, Eleanor is offered a ride by Fred Bergstrom, which becomes the beginning of a long life together on his Pennsylvania horse farm at Elm Creek. The novel's high point is the poignantly detailed description of the flu epidemic of 1918. Less historical but equally touching is Eleanor's aging mother's arrival at the horse farm. Chiaverini's storytelling skills have noticeably improved. She approaches but never succumbs to sentimentality and keeps her account of hunts for antique quilts from becoming too predictable. She remains a keener observer of subtleties in quilts than in people, and more adept at capturing friendship than romance, but her gift for visual imagery (Abigail going down with the Titanic; Eleanor's quilts recast as wearable art) and gentle humor (a museum exhibit's explanation of one quilt's origins) blend seamlessly into prose that, like the needlework she portrays, proves intricate, lovely, comforting and uniquely American.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In this fifth work in a beloved series, Sylvia's hunt to find her dead mother's missing quilts helps her discover a past she never knew.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Cant wait for the next book in the series!!!awesome book!!
D. Braun
The Quilter's Legacy is the touching story of Sylvia Bergstrom Compson and her dedicated search for her mother's quilts.
shirley lieb
I only recently discovered this series of books and this is the second one I have read.
Susan L. Duncan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Karen Potts on August 3, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Like a beautiful old quilt, this books builds bit by bit into a fascinating tapestry of family history. There are actually two stories, told in parallel fashion about Sylvia Bergstrom Compson and her mother Eleanor. Sylvia is about to be married to her beau Andrew and before this momentous event, she has some unfinished business. She decides to look for five quilts which her mother Eleanor made when she was a young child. Her mother died when she was young, so she had never had time to get to know her well, but she wanted the quilts as her mother's legacy. Eleanor's story revolves around her delicate health and the difficult relationship she had with her critical, overbearing mother. Eleanor and her sister both defied their mother's wishes when choosing husbands, and her mother never forgave them for what she viewed as rebellion. These stories weave in and out as Sylvia pursues her mother's quilts and the end product is a very satisfying read. This book can stand alone, but it will probably make more sense, particularly with regard to the minor characters, if you read the other 4 books in the series first.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on April 18, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Jennifer Chiaverini's storytelling gift is surpassed only by her knowledge of the art of quilting. She ably entwines the craft with the lore in the sixth of a series beloved by fans of the Elm Creek Quilts series.
Sylvia Bergstrom Compton, director of the Elm Creek Manor, is preparing for her late-in-life wedding to her longtime friend, Andrew. She decides that, instead of making a new wedding quilt, she will use the beautiful masterpiece quilt pieced by her mother, Eleanor. Sylvia's mother died at age 30 and Sylvia barely remembers her, but she does remember the beautiful quilts that adorned the beds of her childhood home. She climbs to the attic of the Manor to rummage through crates and trunks and discovers to her dismay that not a single quilt remains. Sylvia left home at an early age and her sister had sold the valuable quilts decades earlier when the family fell on hard times.
Sylvia's younger Manor employees help her launch an Internet search. Through emails and phone calls, Sylvia learns of quilts in homes, museums and shops that match the descriptions of those she most vividly remembers from her childhood. Sylvia and Andrew set out on a nationwide tour in Andrew's motor home to follow the scraps of information.
THE QUILTER'S LEGACY chronicles the search for her mother's masterpiece quilts and, thus, the history of Eleanor's life in Manhattan and Pennsylvania at the turn of the 20th century. Sylvia learns that her mother defied her parent's Victorian dictum to marry to enhance the family fortune by eloping with the man she loves. The hardships and glories of the early years, from the 1918 Spanish Flu epidemic to the sinking of the Titanic weigh upon Eleanor's family.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By D. Braun on July 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I finally got the book and couldnt put it down!
I was saving it for vacation; read it in two days! two days before vacation and had to go on vacation without a book!
I love to quilt and I love to read and this book series has filled both things I Love!! Cant wait for the next book in the series!!!awesome book!!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Non-quilter Vlieger on June 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
This is another Chiaverini book you can't put down. I read it in one day, and felt lost when I finished. I need another Chiaverini quilting novel, and I'm not even a quilter. I have really become inerested in quilting and even went to a quilting show today. I could identify some of the quilts and see the beauty of them first-hand...it was an Amish Quilt art exhibit. I just say that Jenifer has got to keep those books coming as I am now addicted.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dixie Writer on July 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
There are two plots to this story: Sylvia Compson's search for her mother's quilts, which Sylvia's sister had sold; and the story of Eleanor, Sylvia's mother.

It needs to be remembered that the audience gets to learn about Eleanor, but Sylvia is not reading a journal by her mother, or in any way learning what we as the readers now know about her mother's life. Some of it Sylvia is able to piece together in the book, but the majority of it, only we as the readers know.

It gives us insight and understanding that Sylvia does not have. It also gave me more understanding of the rift between Sylvia and her sister Claudia.

I think this was a very good writing device. One thing I've noticed about Chiaverini's writing is that she is not afraid to introduce new characters, or change our opinions, even slightly, about existing and continuing characters. She is not afraid to let some characters move on, as they would in real life. For me, that is what makes these books so interesting, so valid and so real. People move on. People change careers, divorce, marry, move away, try new things, and sometimes stay in the same job and the same area. It's life. I think Chiaverini's books mirror life.

The hunt for the quilts was painful in a way for me. My own family has been searching for family quilts that disappeared during the funeral of my great-grandmother. I think this is a very truthful portrayal of how disheartening it is, too, to work so hard on any needlework craft, including quilting, and those who don't appreciate or understand the enormous amount of time, patience, creativiity, and work that goes into it, just letting the dog lie on it, or giving it away, or selling it. Yep, I've seen all of those in real life happen and it breaks the heart.
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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."

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