The Lost Quilter is the 14th entry in the Elm Creek Quilt series writtern by Jennifer Chiaverini. These novels have also inspired three books of quilting patterns and short stories while the 13th entry in the series (really more of a novella) is flush with recipes appropriate for various seasons of the year.
Like previous historical flashback style novels in the series, The Lost Quilter requires little knowldege of the modern day Elm Creek tales. It can easily be read as a stand alone novel, but readers left hanging will enjoy the fact that it picks up on a tale first begun in 2002′s The Runaway Quilt (book 4.) Runaway touched on a Pennsylvania family’s history with the Undergound Railway, sparked by the discovery of an antique heirloom quilt. The Lost Quilter continues slave Joanna’s story, she who’s life so profoundly intersected with that of the Bergstrom’s in the earlier novel. Runaway Joanna is captured and returned to the south on the eve of the American Civil War. Sold away from the only family she knows, she finds herself making a new life in South Carolina and longing for the freedom she’d once been so close to.
Joanna’s tale is bracketed on either end by brief chapters set in present day Elm Creek. Although it is nice for returning readers to be refreshed as to this story’s place in the history of series matriarch Sylvia’s family tree, and to catch a glimpse of characters who have become beloved friends to some, Joanna’s tale is strong enough to stand on it’s own.
You don’t have to be an avid quilter, or any sort of seamstress to appreaciate the fine stitching of historical fact and artistic fancy in this inspiring tale of a woman’s courage in the face of constant adversity.
Previously reviewed: Circle of Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini