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Authors: Jennifer Chiaverini

The Wedding Quilt

BOOK: The Wedding Quilt
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Table of Contents
 
 
ALSO BY JENNIFER CHIAVERINI
The Union Quilters
The Aloha Quilt
A Quilter's Holiday
The Lost Quilter
The Quilter's Kitchen
The Winding Ways Quilt
The New Year's Quilt
The Quilter's Homecoming
Circle of Quilters
The Christmas Quilt
The Sugar Camp Quilt
The Master Quilter
The Quilter's Legacy
The Runaway Quilt
The Cross-Country Quilters
Round Robin
The Quilter's Apprentice
 
•
Elm Creek Quilts
•
Quilt Projects Inspired by the Elm Creek Quilt Novels
 
•
Return to Elm Creek
•
More Quilt Projects Inspired by the Elm Creek Quilt Novels
 
•
More Elm Creek Quilts
•
Inspired by the Elm Creek Quilt Novels
 
•
Sylvia's Bridal Sampler from Elm Creek Quilts
•
Traditions from Elm Creek Quilts
DUTTON
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Penguin Books Ltd, Registered Offices: 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
 
Published by Dutton, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
 
First printing, November 2011
 
Copyright © 2011 by Jennifer Chiaverini All rights reserved
 
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ISBN : 978-1-101-54808-0
 
 
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In loving memory of my grandmother,
Virginia Kraemer Riechman
Mr. and Mrs. Matthew McClure
request the honor of your presence
at the marriage of their daughter
Caroline Sylvia
to
Leonardo Joseph Fiore
son of Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Fiore
Saturday, the twenty-third of September
Two thousand twenty-eight
At three o'clock in the afternoon
Elm Creek Manor
Waterford, Pennsylvania
Chapter One
T
he tinkling of silverware on china and the murmur of conversation filled the elegant theater of Union Hall, where Sarah sat on the stage at the head table, discreetly reviewing her speech on the computer pad resting on her lap. More than one hundred members of the Waterford Historical Society and their guests had gathered to enjoy a delicious luncheon of cranberry-stuffed chicken breast, sautéed green and wax beans, and whipped butternut squash to celebrate the dedication of the Agnes Bergstrom Emberly Quilt Gallery. The food smelled wonderful, but Sarah had taken only a few bites. She had been invited to deliver the keynote address for the event, and even though she had given hundreds of speeches and lectures throughout her career as an Elm Creek Quilter, her appetite still fled before each and every engagement.
“You should eat something,” said James quietly, seated at her right. He smiled encouragingly, and she had to smile back. He was such a handsome young man. He'd had his hair cut earlier that day in preparation for the wedding, his reddish-brown locks trimmed so short that they nearly stood straight up. Out of respect for the occasion he wore a blazer over his plain white T-shirt, which hugged his slender but muscular frame, and his indigo blue jeans were rolled into wide cuffs at the ankle. He and his friends seemed to believe they had invented the style and met their elders' comparisons to the fashions of the 1950s with bemused, indulgent silence.
“I'll ask them to wrap mine to go,” said Sarah. “Maybe I can nibble some dessert while I'm signing books.”
“I wouldn't count on it. I doubt you'll have time to set down your pen.”
Considering the number of guests in attendance, she had to admit he had a point. She let her gaze travel from table to table, and occasionally someone looked up to the stage, caught her eye, and smiled. Tickets for the event had sold out within a week, delighting the president of the Waterford Historical Society, and the booksellers were doing a brisk business at the table between the theater doors. From the moment Sarah had arrived, people had been coming up to introduce themselves, sometimes sharing their memories of Agnes or of Elm Creek Quilt Camp, sometimes thanking her profusely for acquiring so many invaluable, irreplaceable quilts for the society's collection, now proudly on display in the upstairs gallery named for her old friend. So why, even though she knew her audience was friendly and receptive, did Sarah feel so nervous?
“You'll be fine once you get started,” James reassured her, reading her mind. “You always are. But you'll feel better if you have something to eat.”
“Yes, sir,” she told him wanly, picking up her fork and sampling the roast chicken. The cranberry stuffing gave it a savory, tangy flavor, and under different circumstances she would have cleaned the plate and requested the recipe for Anna Del Maso, the chef at Elm Creek Manor. She took another bite and glanced down the table just in time to see the president of the Waterford Historical Society check her watch and push back her chair. It was time. Her mouth suddenly dry, Sarah washed down the chicken with a gulp of water. James touched her on the back as he rose and went to confer briefly with the president. Conversation faded as he took the podium—without a pad or notes of any kind, Sarah noted with rueful admiration—and adjusted the microphone.
“Good afternoon,” he greeted them, his voice confident and cheerful. “Thank you for joining us today as we dedicate Union Hall's newest permanent exhibit, the Agnes Bergstrom Emberly Quilt Gallery.” A smattering of applause went up from his listeners. “Some of you had the pleasure of knowing Agnes during her many years as an active member of the Waterford Historical Society, including a two-year stint as president, a post she assumed soon after she launched the campaign to save this very building. Although Mrs. Emberly was not born in the Elm Creek Valley, as a longtime resident, she cared deeply about the history of our community and was equally passionate about preserving and documenting historically significant but long-forgotten quilts discovered in storage rooms, attics, and boxes underneath beds. It was she who founded the Waterford Historical Society's extensive collection of quilts, a mission that she passed on to our keynote speaker.” He spared a proud smile for Sarah. “Although I was just a kid when I knew Mrs. Emberly, I know she would be very pleased with how the collection has grown under Sarah McClure's stewardship.”
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