Jennifer Chiaverini, Round Robin

Posted June 6, 2011 by Kathy Davie in

Round Robin (Elm Creek Quilts, #2)Round Robin by Jennifer Chiaverini
Series: Elm Creek Quilts, 2
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Second in the Elm Creek Quilts quilting series set in contemporary Waterford, Pennsylvania.

This is a lovely story of family histories and love. The love between parent and child, the love between wife and husband, between sisters. The Round Robin of the title refers to a type of quilt made by one quilter creating a center medallion then passing it to another quilter who adds onto this center. Then passing it on to the next quilter and the next until each in the group has added her creation to the finished piece.

The airing of a segment of a television show, America’s Back Roads, which explores the hidden gems within our country, is about Elm Creek Manor and the quilt camps it provides to beginning to advanced quilters. It’s this broadcast that sets in motion some major changes for several members of the Elm Creek Quilters, one change brings Richard’s childhood friend, Andrew, back into Sylvia’s life.

In Round Robin, each addition reflects the central theme, Elm Creek Manor, and the experiences each quilter is undergoing during the quilt’s creation. We also learn more about each quilter’s past and the choices made to bring them to this day.

Diane’s son, Michael, is struggling in school and in himself losing himself in his skateboarding as he attempts to find some worth in his life. Diane’s contribution reflects the challenges and resolution she and her husband, Tim, find in helping Michael achieve that worth. A worth that will last his lifetime.

Agnes’ contribution reflects the joy and fulfillment she finds in Elm Creek Manor and her renewed friendship with Sylvia while Bonnie experiences an unexpected trauma with Craig which affects her choice. Gwen’s shock at Summer’s choice and the resolution she comes to influences her decision to use the haphazardness of crazy quilting to match life.

Judy’s choice comes about when she meets the family of her father. The father who refused to have anything to do with her mother, who abandoned them in Vietnam. And abandoned them yet again when her mother with baby Judy managed to reach the States. Choosing green for her homeland, blue for the skies of her new home in a Mariner’s Compass to reflect her journeyings.

Sarah’s quilting revelation actually occurs with her mother, Carol. A woman she could not flee fast enough both for the criticism leveled at her throughout her life and for that hurled at Matt. Sarah is probably the hardest hit in this story as Sylvia pursues a tack that almost destroys both Sarah and Sylvia, Matt is drawing away from her, and her mother is…her mother is simply there.

My Take
This is such a lovely story and so very hard to put down. It reflects love, family, and acceptance. It also shows the friendship which exists between each of the quilters, how it affects their relationships, the support it provides, and their love for each other.

The Cover
The cover is gorgeous with its en pointe diamond medallion in a field of intensely quilted cream surround by a sawtooth border of gold and cream floral print triangles. It is so beautiful that I hate to nitpick and wish that it had reflected the round robin quilt created by the Elm Creek Quilters instead…

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