Most helpful critical review
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
This one (just like the last one I read) wasn't the usual stellar installment
on November 28, 2012
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.