Saturday, March 28, 2009

Elm Creek Quilts series: Some thoughts

I have decided to stop reading and rating the Elm Creek Quilts series--at least for now. Mainly, I can no longer overlook the storylines that have been created for this book. I believe that historical fiction has to have some grounding in history, and these books feel very contrived and "over-the-top" to me. Practically all of them have a modern-day storyline with flashbacks to families of the past who once resided in the region. Now, I have no objection to this method of storytelling. What has made me decide to stop reading them is the fact that, as an African American, I have a hard time believing that events in the flashback stories described in the books could have even remotely happened. Perhaps I am just no longer a starry-eyed optimist (hmm; was I ever?) and unable to accept the degree of opposition to slavery that is described in the books. Yes, there were certainly those who opposed it, but to romanticize this period in history and its surrounding events is almost an insult.

There is also the fact that the myth of underground railroad quilts still, in a roundabout fashion, continues to be suggested. Again, the notion of using quilts to aid escaping slaves in their journey to freedom, which has not been proven to be true, is put forth repeatedly in these books. African American history is complicated enough without adding fiction and wishful thinking. I wish I could keep ignoring this and try to enjoy the books (after all, I am a quilter!), but I think I have just read my last book of this series, and written my last review. At least for now.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Master Quilter: A book review

The Master Quilter (Elm Creek Quilts Series #6) begins at the point at which Sylvia has just wed her companion Andrew in a surprise Christmas ceremony. It is a sign of things to come, for this sixth novel in the series is about a host of surprises that the Elm Creek quilters experience and share with one another. The central surprise is that of the quilt that the Elm Creek quilters are attempting to create as a belated wedding present for the newlyweds--without their knowledge.


Summer moves in with her boyfriend, then moves out, then announces she is leaving Elm Creek Manor to pursue her educational dreams she never realized she had

Bonnie, teetering on the edge of insolvency, is hit with three blows all at once. Her husband reveals his intention to divorce her; her shop is vandalized and the insurance company may not reimburse her for damages; her landlord sells her building to an unscrupulous realty management company, who will most likely force her to close the doors of her quilt shop.

Judy accepts a position at an Ivy League university, located no less than a hundred miles away, thus creating the need for her and her family to relocate.

Diane's ongoing feud with her next-door neighbor and quilting rival reaches a climax.
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