The Cross Country Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini
The third in the Elm Creek Quilts series and such a easy read after Great Expectations! Although I swear this series is bad for my health. Once again I stayed up to stupid hours to finish it, something I now regretting late on Friday afternoon with two kids who have been cooped up inside for the better part of the week due to wet weather - but I digress!
The Cross Country Quilters follows five of the quilt camp participants over a year. When they first meet at an Elm Creek Quilt Camp, they are all facing challenges in their lives. They form a friendship over the week and promise to return a year later, a block completed to be made into a group quilt and their challenges met, if not solved.
This is the first book in the series where the characters are not those who run Elm Creek. I found it refreshing to met new characters and follow their stories. I must admit one of the things that does concern me about such a prolific series (there are currently 14 books with more planned) is there is only so much tragedy/ life changing moments/ disasters one set of characters can go through. By following campers, Chiaverini was still able to incorporate Elm Creek and still move away from it's borders.
You could read this as a stand alone easily since it mostly deals with separate characters. For me personally, I find it impossible to read a series of books out of order. In fact, I find it hard to read an authors unconnected works out of order. You should see the dilemma George Lucas put me in by release Star Wars episodes 1, 2, and 3 after 4, 5 and 6!