‘The Wedding Quilt’ ties up loose ends

I’ve read all of Jennifer Chiaverini’s novels in the Elm Creek Quilts series except “The Union Quilters,” which I just picked up from the library. I’ve loved all of them, so it’s not much of a surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed “The Wedding Quilt,” which goes on sale Tuesday.

Warning: There will be a few spoilers in this review.

The story is set in 2028 when one of Sarah McClure’s twins gets married. Caroline, who never showed much interest in sewing, wishes too late that she would have learned how to quilt so she could make an heirloom wedding quilt for herself. Thankfully for Caroline, Sarah has her covered in the quilting department and tasks the Elm Creek quilters with collecting signatures from the guests in secret for a memory album quilt to commemorate the special day.

While Caroline is the example of every quilter’s nightmare, a daughter who doesn’t want to share in her mother’s passion, Sarah’s son James is an excellent quilter and a member of the Elm Creek Quilts staff.

While the main plot revolves around the week leading up to the wedding at Elm Creek Manor, Chiaverini ties up several loose ends she’s created in previous novels. Bonnie is living happily ever after in Hawaii, Gwen stood up for her ideals and made a difference, Diane is still saucy and Agnes and Sylvia lived long and full lives before passing away. If only real life were this perfect.

While all of the Elm Creek Quilts novels are meant to stand alone, I feel this one would be best enjoyed by Chiaverini’s loyal readers. It rewards those who have stuck with the series and read all 17 titles before “The Wedding Quilt.”

In my interview with Chiaverini for the Quad-City Times, which you can read here, Chiaverini said she does not have another book deal and her final book in her contract with Dutton will bring readers back to the Arboles Valley, where Elizabeth and Henry went after marrying and leaving the Elm Creek Valley during the Depression. Of course Chiaverini hopes to continue writing and publishing the novels. But I almost wonder if she was wrapping up the lives of the Elm Creek Quilters just in case the difficult times the publishing industry is going through mean the end for the Elm Creek Quilts series.

I for one would be sad to see the series end, and Chiaverini said she owes her success to readers who buy her books and come see her on book tour. So if you too, love Elm Creek Quilts, make sure you pick up a copy of “The Wedding Quilt.” And go check her out on tour. Here’s her schedule:

Tuesday, Nov. 1, 7 p.m.

Barnes and Noble

7433 Mineral Point Rd.

Madison, WI 53717

(608) 827-0809

Wednesday, Nov. 2, 7 p.m.

Next Chapter Bookshop

10976 N Port Washington Rd.

Mequon, WI 53092

(262) 241-6220

Thursday, Nov. 3, 7 p.m.

Schuler Books and Music

2820 Towne Center Blvd.

Lansing, MI 48912

(517) 316-7495

Friday, Nov. 4, 7 p.m.

Learned Owl

Laurel Lake Retirement Community

200 Laurel Lake Dr.

Hudson, OH 44236

(866) 650-2100

Saturday, Nov. 5, 2 p.m.

Patched Works/Boswell Book Co

Elm Grove Woman’s Club

13885 Watertown Plank Rd.

Elm Grove WI 53122

(414) 332-1181

Monday, Nov. 7, noon (I’ll be at this event)

Midwest Writing Center/B&N

The Raddison Hotel

111 East 2nd St.

Davenport, IA 52801

(563) 445-8760

Tuesday, Nov. 8, 7 p.m.

Rainy Day Books

2706 W. 53rd St.,

Fairway, KS 66205

(913) 384-3126

Wednesday, Nov. 9, 7 p.m.

Watermark Books

4701 East Douglas

Wichita, KS 67218

(316) 682-1181

Thursday, Nov. 10, 7:30 p.m.

Quail Ridge Books and Music

3522 Wade Ave.

Raleigh, NC 27607

(919) 828-1588

Monday, Nov. 14, 7 p.m.

Anderson’s Bookshop

123 W. Jefferson Ave.

Naperville, IL 60540

(630) 355-2665

Tuesday, Nov. 15, 7:30 p.m.

Tattered Cover Bookstore

9315 Dorchester St.

Highlands Ranch, CO 80129

(303) 322-1965

Wednesday, Nov. 17, 7 p.m.

Barnes and Noble

2999 Pearl St.

Boulder, CO 80301

(303) 444-0349

Thursday, Nov. 17 7 p.m.

King’s English Bookshop

South Branch Library

725 S. Main St.

Bountiful, UT 84010

(801) 484-9100

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