The Quilter's Apprentice by Jennifer Chiaverini is the first book in the Elm Creek Quilters series. I know I have read the first three or four, but I can't remember if it's three or four so I decided to start again at the beginning.
I read this in less than 24 hours - which gives you an idea of how taxing a read it is! However, I truly believe not everything you read needs to challenge you mentally, and this is a lovely easy, light read.
Sarah McClure has moved to a small college town in America to support her husband when he lands a new job in Waterford. While she gave up a job she wasn't happy in to move, she is having trouble finding work in this small town and is starting to get despondent. When her husband Matt, takes her with him to meet a new client, she ends up helping the elderly and very cranky Sylvia Compson get her family estate, Elm Creek Manor ready for sale. In return, Sylvia agrees to teach Sarah how to make a quilt. As they work, Sarah learns more of Syliva's story and starts to wonder if and how they can save Elm Creek Manor.
As you can imagine, they do find a way to prevent the sale and it sets the scene for the many sequels to come - there are currently 14 books in the series.
I think my biggest mistake with this book was borrowing the first one only! I did want to start the second immediately, but have had to settle for putting it on hold at the library instead! At least it gives me something to look forward to!
I'm not sure how much appeal there would be for those who don't quilt (I do, you can check out my craft blog here), although I do feel the story stands apart from the quilting enough to be a pleasant read at least.