The Christmas Boutique
“Devotees of the Elm Creek Quilts series will relish these new episodes, and new fans will delight to discover such a well-stocked back catalog. A warm portrait of women bound by craft—perfect for fireside reading.”
Twenty years after the publication of The Quilter’s Apprentice, the novel that launched the beloved Elm Creek Quilts series, New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini returns with another delightful story of quilting and friendship, a captivating, heartwarming tale sure to become a holiday favorite.
Just weeks before Christmas, severe wintry weather damages the church hall hosting the Christmas Boutique—an annual sale of handcrafted gifts and baked goods that supports the county food pantry. Determined to save the fundraiser, Sylvia Bergstrom Compson offers to hold the event at Elm Creek Manor, her ancestral family estate and summertime home to Elm Creek Quilt Camp.
In the spirit of the season, Sylvia and the Elm Creek Quilters begin setting up market booths in the ballroom and decking the halls with beautiful hand-made holiday quilts. Each of the quilters chooses a favorite work to display, a special creation evoking memories of holidays past and dreams of Christmases yet to come. But while the Elm Creek Quilters work tirelessly to make sure the Christmas Boutique happens, it may take a holiday miracle or two to make it the smashing success they want it to be.
Praised for her ability to craft “a wonderful holiday mix of family legacy, reconciliation and shared experiences” (Tucson Citizen), Jennifer Chiaverini once again rings in the festive season with this eagerly awaited addition in her beloved series.
Praise for The Christmas Boutique
Thin, pale sunbeams shone tentatively around the edges of curtains drawn tight against the winter cold in the windows of the master suite of Elm Creek Manor. Although Sylvia Bergstrom Compson was eager to get up and seize the day, she lingered in bed, reluctant to jostle her dear husband, slumbering peacefully by her side.
Throughout the summer and into the autumn, Andrew had risen first. He had often been settled at his favorite fishing spot, a large, round, flat rock beneath a willow tree on the bank of Elm Creek, before Sylvia even opened her eyes. But after winter descended upon central Pennsylvania, more often than not, he pulled the bedcovers up to his chin and slept in long after Sylvia and the manor’s other permanent residents had finished breakfast and were going about the business of the day. How amused Sylvia had been to discover her new husband’s surprising seasonal preference, and after she thought she knew him so well! She suspected that in the years to come—may they have many together—they would discover more intriguing, unexpected quirks and contradictions within each other.
Perhaps they would discover less endearing traits too, but she and Andrew were both too grateful for their second chance at love to fuss over trivialities.
Sylvia smiled fondly as she watched Andrew doze beneath the beautiful Bridal Sampler they had received as a wedding gift only a few months before. The Elm Creek Quilters had surprised her by collecting quilt blocks from her friends, quilting students, colleagues, and admirers from around the world, sewing them together into an exquisite expression of their warm wishes and affection. Sylvia and the other Elm Creek Quilters worked so closely together that it was a marvel how her friends had man- aged to collaborate on such a complex project without her suspecting a thing. Then again, she and Andrew had surprised them all the previous Christmas Eve when they had come to Elm Creek Manor expecting a festive holiday party, only to discover that they were attending a wedding. Naturally their friends would want to tease Sylvia and Andrew just a little by surprising them in return.
Now, after nearly a year full of surprises, it would soon again be Christmas Eve, Sylvia and Andrew’s first anniversary. She had been so preoccupied with other matters—wrapping up another successful season of Elm Creek Quilt Camp; bidding farewell to friends departing for distant locales, from Philadelphia to Maui; putting the last stitches into a new quilt, her contribution to her church’s annual fund-raiser for the county food pantry—that she hadn’t had a moment to spare for holiday plans. Perhaps her young friend and colleague Sarah McClure had already typed up a spreadsheet or two delineating arrangements for meals, deco- rations, and entertainment, but Sylvia thought she and Andrew should plan their anniversary celebration themselves.
And Sylvia and Andrew’s marriage was such an unexpected blessing that it surely ought to be celebrated in fine style.