Book Review: “The Quilter’s Homecoming” by Jennifer Chiaverini

Some days, I gravitate to books that are quick, cozy reads for a particularly low-key weekend. This past week, I was in just that kind of mood and picked up a copy of The Quilter’s Homecoming in a local used bookstore. We recently had a bout of cold, rainy weather, and the idea of reading a historical fiction book involving quilts seemed like just the cure for cabin fever. This book, paired with a cup of chamomile tea and some cookies, is a perfect complement to any winter weather.

The Quilter’s Homecoming is part of the Elm Creek Quilts series, which I had never read before until picking up this book. As one can probably guess from both this book and the series titles, the novels do involve quilts and sewing, but also tell the stories of the quilts’ makers, including how the handicraft links the generations of women making them.

This particular novel focuses on the story of Elizabeth, a young newlywed who, in 1925, agrees to move across the country with her new husband in order to finalize the purchase of a California ranch. Upon arrival, they discover that they have been given a fake deed to the ranch, which they had intended to make their permanent home. After finding themselves out of money and no where to live, they are forced to work for the ranch’s actual owners.

The story is set against the backdrop of the Prohibition years and involves various characters that Elizabeth encounters in her journey, including a nearby family who has been involved in tragedy. The histories of all the town’s families are public knowledge, and Elizabeth gets wrapped up in the drama as she learns more about the families. The book is overall light in tone despite some occasional heavy subject matter (never too graphic, at least for me).

My favorite parts of the story were probably the quilting references, even though I am not a quilter myself. The author doesn’t get too technical with the quilting but does make references such as quilters sometimes choosing certain patterns to represent different themes or ideas. I grew curious myself about how quilts can tell a story in many ways, from the fabrics the creators use to the stitching techniques and patterns chosen. My great-grandmother made quilts, and this story made me wish I could go back in time and ask her whether any of her own quilts had stories attached to them.

Overall, I enjoyed this book as a light read for a dreary day and will be looking into the rest of the series.

Do you have any recommendations for books to get you through those long winter days? If so, please leave a link or comment below. I would love more suggestions!

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