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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's all about the journey within
Jennifer Chiaverini's "The Giving Quilt" is about far more than the immediate charity of quilters who gather at venerable Elm Creek Manor to donate their time and talents to make children's quilts for Project Linus. When hostess/Master Quilter Sylvia poses the question "Why do you give?" to the circle of quilters, few have ready answers. The creation of a quilt for...
Published on October 30, 2012 by Valley Brown

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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This one (just like the last one I read) wasn't the usual stellar installment
I have loved reading the Elm Creek Quilt series for many years now and bought them as gifts for my mother and mother-in-law. Some I liked more than others, but really enjoyed them tremendously until the eighteenth in the series, "The Wedding Quilt". I gave that one a 3-star rating since it felt rushed and jumpy - not up to the usual quality. I totally skipped the next...
Published on November 28, 2012 by Holly


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40 of 41 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This one (just like the last one I read) wasn't the usual stellar installment, November 28, 2012
This review is from: The Giving Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel (Hardcover)
I have loved reading the Elm Creek Quilt series for many years now and bought them as gifts for my mother and mother-in-law. Some I liked more than others, but really enjoyed them tremendously until the eighteenth in the series, "The Wedding Quilt". I gave that one a 3-star rating since it felt rushed and jumpy - not up to the usual quality. I totally skipped the next one since it wasn't set at the manor and the subject seemed so dark. When this latest became available, I decided to give it another go since the setting was back at Elm Creek during the holiday season indicating I would probably like the story.

You can read the product description for yourself so I won't go into that very much here. I would like to share that very little of the Elm Creek Quilters are actually part of the story. They are in the opening set-up and the closing but the middle is largely the stories of some of the women coming to the camp the week after Thanksgiving. I didn't mind the departure since there is only so much you can write about the same people without it getting stale.

About 80 pages into it I came onto Amazon to read the reviews since I was enthused and wanted to see if others had shared my experience. I was enjoying it thoroughly and felt like I was back in the flow of the interesting storyline and excellent writing that had been missing more recently. I was surprised to see how many folks were complaining about the political tone of the book since I wasn't experiencing that. Around page 100, I began to see exactly what the other reviewers were commenting on. The story of each quilter is expanded and as those unfold, the social and political views of the author are very, very obvious. It felt preachy at times --- unions are good full of hard-working folks being taken advantage of by the heartless capitalists, education reform is bad, parents/clergy wanting to have a say about what is contained in the local library is bad. Having some of these topics covered would be fine but they take up huge pages of the text and the characters on the opposing sides are depicted as total buffoons. It's important to note that I share some (not all) of the views portrayed but I still found it to be a distraction in the book and an unfortunate departure for this author. If you don't share the views, I can see it significantly impacting your enjoyment of the book. Not only are there a large number of these issues, they are portrayed in black and white with a right and a wrong - no middle ground.

I started out thinking this was going to be an enthusiastic 5-star rating from me but the rating lost one star for a weak story of one of the quilters (the cheerleader was over-the-top) and it lost another star for the political pontificating. Started great and then slide downhill in my opinion.
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35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Chiaverini Drop the Politics!!, February 20, 2013
This review is from: The Giving Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel (Hardcover)
I have been a big fan of the Elm Creek Quilt books for years and have read every one of them. By far my favorite ones are the historical ones. I personally have contributed to Project Linus quilts for years, so I was thrilled to see that this book was about quilters quilting for this cause. I have discovered, however, that in her recent books, especially those set in present day, Ms. Chiaverini's liberal politics tip toe, or in this case sledge hammer through. She has abandoned character development by having her characters simply push her political viewpoints. May I remind her that not all her readers are of the same political mind, and in this day and age of 24/7 political arguments, readers are seeking an escape not looking for a discourse on the political questions of the day. Unfortunately some of the characters in parts of this book engage in exactly that. Character development was Chiaverini's strong point. She has now taken up a very formulamatic approach to her characters. Oh and by the way it is just not liberals that donate quilts to Project Linus, over the past 20 years I have made hundreds of baby quilts and donated them to Project Linus, ABC quilts, local neo natal units, and homeless shelters, and have encouraged my quilting group at my church to do the same.
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's all about the journey within, October 30, 2012
By 
Valley Brown (Evansville, IN, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Giving Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel (Hardcover)
Jennifer Chiaverini's "The Giving Quilt" is about far more than the immediate charity of quilters who gather at venerable Elm Creek Manor to donate their time and talents to make children's quilts for Project Linus. When hostess/Master Quilter Sylvia poses the question "Why do you give?" to the circle of quilters, few have ready answers. The creation of a quilt for someone in need is not merely a generous act. It is also an act that provides a measure of self-healing, and the women who have come to participate in "Quiltsgiving" are no exception to this rule. For some, the journey to Elm Creek is but the beginning of an individual journey to find the answer that lies deep within them.
Chiaverini's gentle and fluid style pieces characters together with as much care and precision as the quilts they make. Like carefully chosen scraps of treasured fabrics joined one after another into a compelling visual feast, the stories of the quilters unfold gracefully to reveal the powerful reasons behind each one's decision to make this special trip. "The Giving Quilt" is a well-crafted, heart-warming journey of its own, and a commendable addition to the beloved "Elm Creek Quilts" series.
[Note: I was gifted with a copy of this book, and was pleased with how good of a read it was. I highly recommend it for fans of this genre.]
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lose the politics, February 23, 2013
By 
sara (Lincoln, Ne USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Giving Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel (Hardcover)
Oh my. Not at all what I expected from this book. I have enjoyed other books in this series very much, but was very disappointed in this book. The character development was just predictable, and the characters were "flat" to me. The author's political viewpoints were pushed WAY too much. I dare say, some of her readers are of the opposite political viewpoint as she ... I wonder if she thinks they appreciate the slant of this book. If she wants to write a political book, she has every right, but "know your audience" might apply here. Reasonable readers of any political stripe might expect a bit more nuance, and some gray areas, but the book portrayed everything in a very black and white way. That was unfortunate, as it detracted from what could have been a much better developed storyline. The "giving" part of the book, and the plot, and the character development all took a back seat to political browbeating. That's not why I read her books, and I'm not sure I will chance another one.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The Giving Quilt, December 31, 2012
By 
Patti Adams Wadsworth (Bradenton, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Giving Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel (Hardcover)
I was very disappointed, and this will be the last book I read by this author. I have read all of her previous books and enjoyed her storytelling, but she has taken advantage of her readers by touting her left-wing politics throughout the book. In addition, the middle of the book drags when going on and on about kids and their science project - about 10 pages would have covered it but the author went on for about 40. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not up to her usual....., January 1, 2013
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This review is from: The Giving Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel (Hardcover)
.....great books. I've collected/read all her books and have loved them for the most part. Sitting in front of the fire, watching the snow outside, I was looking for a New Year's Eve escape from the evening news......didn't find it here. Instead I was reading about - CNN vs FoxNews, beleagured union state govt. employees vs Right To Work state issues, NPR vs conservative talk radio, etc. etc. So I dusted off my copy of The Quilter's Apprentice to remember why I like Ms. Chiaverini so much.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A novelist turned political spokesperson, January 8, 2013
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This review is from: The Giving Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel (Hardcover)
I read the earlier books in her series and up to this point the fiction was just "lemonade and hammock" reading. The Giving Quilt was peppered with Chiaverini's political views which I was not receptive to in a book about quilters. Chiaverni is from Madison and her education was at extremely liberal schools but she has contained her bias until this novel. I had expected the same flavor of her past books to be about quilters directed at the quilting market (me). I resented putting out the price of the book and then be lectured on just one side of union membership slipped into her otherwise innocent story lines. As a young teacher, my tires were slashed two times by my lovely co-workers who felt I should think the way they did and thus join their friendly band of destructive whiners. I have vivid memories from my childhood of my dad, as a supervisor, leaving for work in the middle of the night to protect the corporation's machinery from irate vigilantes called union members. Chiaverini's slant on the glorious unions and their super duper members is just that - a slanted, biased, narrow view. No mention of unions' detrimental affects on our society and the financial debacle they have caused. If Chiaverini has "progressed" to the need to insert leftist propaganda into her light, fluffy novels I will not be a follower. No, I won't burn her book but I will donate it to my quilters guild library and write my review of it on the cover. Good bye, Chiaverini. It was nice while it lasted.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heartwarming Novel with a Message, November 2, 2012
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This review is from: The Giving Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel (Hardcover)
The making and giving of quilts has long been an Elm Creek Quilters' tradition, ever since the quilt camp was founded in The Quilter's Apprentice: A Novel (Elm Creek Quilts Novels), the first novel of the series. Here, in the twentieth, during the week following Thanksgiving, the camp is open for quilters to gather together to make quilts for Project Linus--a real life organization dedicated to providing homemade quilts and blankets to needy children. This session of "Quiltsgiving" marks the beginning of the season of generous giving; not only of material gifts, but of gifts of the heart. Through six main characters we learn that while it is better to give than to receive, it is the giving of oneself to others and to one's community that is the greatest gift of all. In a flash of brilliance coupling real-life into fiction, Jennifer recreates the strife of our latest recession as well as the common burdens of daily life. As each woman sews and constructs her quilt with loving care and attention, she learns how to bear her burden--alone and with others in the Elm Creek Quilt community. Each shares the commonality of learning to give not only of themselves to others, but also to themselves.

This is a heartwarming, thought-provoking novel, as all of Jennifer's are. But it particularly strikes very close to home. Throughout its pages the primal question is posed: "Why do you give?" And while various reasons are given through each of the well-formed and true-to-life characters, it is left up to the reader to determine her own personal answer. So, as I read, I was confronted with asking myself, "Why do I give?" More importantly: "How do I give?" It was almost as if I was the seventh main character in the novel. And if I was, what would my story be?

Because of this novel, I have a better feeling of accomplishment and a deeper understanding of giving unselfishly of one's time and talents. This is what a talented, sensitive author writing a good novel should do: Not only tell a good story, but challenge readers to ask and answer, through the eyes, minds, and hearts of each character the more important questions of life. And this is exactly what Jennifer Chiaverini has done--asking us all why we give.

If you read just one book during this advent approach to the season of giving thanks and generous giving, I strongly recommend it be this one. Through its pages we are reminded to be humbly thankful for the gifts of our talents and for the valuable gift of being able to share them. May we all do so as graciously and as radiantly as Jennifer, through her characters, has done.

This review was written by June J. McInerney, Lierary Blogger and author of "The Basset Chronicles".
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why the politics?, December 27, 2012
This review is from: The Giving Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel (Hardcover)
This is the first book I had read from this author. I was surprised by the political comments. They were unnecessary and annoying. I wanted to read a book about quilters, not about politics. Politics aside, I found the book much too wordy. It didn't keep my attention. I won't read another book in this series.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The time has come for me to leave Elm Creek, December 4, 2012
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This review is from: The Giving Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel (Hardcover)
I began this book, but unlike previous Elm Creek Quilt books, this one sits for days at a time on my nightstand, unread. the magic, for me, is gone.

I have read all the Elm Creek Quilter books and while I have been mildly disappointed by the last few, this one is the last I will read. It pains me to say it, but the charm and wit and detailed, intertwined storylines are absent and I feel that they are not coming back.
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The Giving Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel
The Giving Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel by Jennifer Chiaverini (Hardcover - October 30, 2012)
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