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The Quilter's Apprentice

The Quilter's Apprentice

A Novel

Tangled, anxious thoughts relaxed when she felt the fabric beneath her fingers and remembered that she was creating something beautiful enough to delight the eyes as well as the heart, something strong enough to defeat the cold of a Pennsylvania winter night. She could do these things. She, Sarah, had the power to do these things.
From debut novelist Jennifer Chiaverini comes The Quilter's Apprentice, a delightful, timeless story of loyalty and friendship.
When Sarah McClure and her husband, Matt, move to the small town of Waterford, Pennsylvania, to get a fresh start, Sarah struggles to find a fulfilling job. Disheartened by failed interviews, she reluctantly accepts a temporary position at Elm Creek Manor helping seventy-five-year-old Sylvia Compson prepare her family estate for sale after the recent death of Sylvia's estranged sister. As part of her compensation, Sarah is taught how to quilt by this reclusive, cantankerous master quilter.
During their lessons, Mrs. Compson slowly opens up to Sarah, sharing powerful, devastating stories of her life as a young woman on the World War II home front. Hearing tales of how Mrs. Compson's family was torn apart by tragedy, jealousy, and betrayal, Sarah is forced to confront uncomfortable truths about her own family -- truths that she has denied for far too long. As the friendship between the two women deepens, Mrs. Compson confides that although she would love to remain at her beloved family estate, Elm Creek Manor exists as a constant, unbearable reminder of her role in her family's misfortune. For Sarah, there can be no greater reward than teaching Mrs. Compson to forgive herself for her past mistakes, restoring life and joy to her cherished home.
Heartfelt and inspiring, The Quilter's Apprentice teaches deep lessons about family, friendship, and sisterhood -- and about creating a life as you would a quilt: with time, love, and patience, piecing the miscellaneous and mismatched scraps into a harmonious, beautiful whole.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 224 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781416556992 | 
  • October 2008
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
Sarah leaned against the brick wall and tried to look comfortable, hoping no one walking by would notice her or wonder why she was standing around in a suit on such a hot day. She shaded her eyes with her hand and scanned the street for Matt's truck -- their truck -- but she didn't expect to see it. He wasn't late; she was early. This interview had been her shortest one yet.
A drop of perspiration trickled down between her shoulder blades to the small of her back where her silk blouse was tucked into her navy skirt. She removed her suit jacket and folded it over her arm, but she knew she wouldn't feel comfortable until she was... see more

About the Author

Jennifer Chiaverini
Photograph © Steve Garfinkel

Jennifer Chiaverini

Jennifer Chiaverini is the author of the New York Times bestselling Elm Creek Quilts series, five collections of quilt projects, and Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, her most recent historical novel. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives with her husband and sons in Madison, Wisconsin.

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