Mention the words, Elm Creek or Elm Creek Quilts, and most anyone familiar with the quilting world immediately thinks of the series of books written by Jennifer Chiaverini. Whether Jennifer thought she’d be writing a series, as well as brancing out into fabric design, quilt patterns and recipes when she started, I don’t know. However, she has branded herself and Elm Creek (the location of most of the stories in this series), so that quilters and others who are captivated by her books immediately pick them up.
I knew Jennifer at a online writers’ group when she sold her first book. I was excited about this success and have followed her career since. After reading Susan Gunelius’ book, Building Brand Value the Playboy Way and learning more about branding, I realized, “Jennifer has developed a brand, too!” This is a brand that has made her popular as a writer, designer and speaker.
Most recently, I’ve read her books, The Quilter’s Kitchen and The Lost Quilter.
The Quilter’s Kitchen is her first recipe book, yet it ties in the Elm Creek story, past and present, as the new cook and Sylvia Compson, main character of the series, clean out the old room in preparation for remodeling. The memorabilia they discover each has its own story along with Sylvia’s recollections of recipes. Then everything is tied together, recipes and memorabilia, at the end in a delightful way.
The Lost Quilter relates Sylvia’s search for her ancestry based on a quilt. We’ve learned about the runaway slave, Joanna, in a previous novel, but didn’t know much about her past. This novel takes us through the journey of Joanna’s life, before and after her Elm Creek sojourn, and informs us how she relates to Sylvia’s family, past and present.
Have you read any of these delightful books? Do you have a favorite?
Jennifer’s Elm Creek Quilts novels alternate between present day and earlier quilters and families connected to this farm in Pennsylvania and the presence of quilts.