Women’s Lives and Relationships/African American


Women’s Lives and Relationships

Title: The Lost Quilter

Author: Chiaverini, Jennifer

Publication Date: 2009

Number of Pages: 500 (large print edition)

Genre: Women’s Lives and Relationships

Geographical Setting: Pennsylvania, Virginia, South Carolina

Time Period: Pre –Civil War and Present Day

Series: Elm Creek Quilts Novels

Plot Summary: The Elm Creek Quilts Novels focus on women’s lives and relationships. Jennifer Chiaverini has interwoven historical relationships at Elm Creek Farm with present day ties to the farm in her books. The owners of Elk Creek Farm currently live at the home but have turned it into a quilt camp business. This latest book, The Lost Quilter, tells the historical story of Joanna, a runaway slave, who came to the farm when it played a role in the Underground Railroad. Joanna gives birth while at the farm but is subsequently apprehended by slave catchers.  As a result of her capture, Joanna is forced to leave her infant son behind at the farm. The Lost Quilter focuses on Joanna’s difficult life, her desire to one day reconnect with her son, and her eventual escape from slavery. The present day characters find hidden letters, realize a great-uncle was Joanna’s son, and attempt to find out what happened to Joanna. Seeing a historical quilt made during Pre-Civil War days leads the family to uncover Joanna’s story.

Subject Headings: Quilting – Fiction, Quilt makers – Fiction, Slavery – Fiction, African American – Fiction, Underground Railroad – Fiction, Genealogy – Fiction

Appeal: Historical, Multi-cultural, Historical detailed settings, Generational relationships,  Multiple plotlines, Layered, Different Points of View, Varied pace, Engaging, Heartwarming, Spiritual, Issues Resolved.

Three Terms that Describe this Book: Historical, Female Relationships, Heartwarming.

Similar Authors and Works (Fiction)

Dallas, Sandra – The Persian Pickle Club. This book, set during the Depression, weaves a story of friendship during hard times and addresses several issues, including physical abuse, infertility and prejudice.

Brice, Carleen – Orange Mint and Honey is the story of a struggling black graduate student, Shay. Raised by an alcoholic mother, Shay reluctantly returns home to move in with her mom. Although her mother no longer drinks, Shay, her mother, and baby half-sister struggle to forge new family relationships.

Allen, Sarah Addison – Garden Spells. This engaging book, with a whiff of magic, is the story of two sisters. One sister stayed in the family home, and the other left town as soon as she could. The wayward sister returns, with a young daughter in tow, to the family home as a refuge. Both work to form new family relationships and attempt to support one another as they strive to become emotionally healthy individuals.

Similar Authors and Works (Nonfiction)

Wisconsin Public Television – “A Century of Quilts: America in Cloth” is a DVD showing quilts as records of history, symbols of family and community and works of art.

Better Homes and Gardens Books – America’s Heritage Quilts. This books explains traditional quilts and their history. It also includes instructions and pattern pieces to quilt.

Hagedorn, Ann – Beyond the River: the untold story of the heroes of the Underground Railroad gives the history of the antislavery movement, abolitionists, and fugitive slaves.

Name: Donna Mihovilovich


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