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Sunday, April 01, 2007

The Fortune Quilt

***** The Fortune Quilt by Lani Diane Rich. Women's fiction.

Oh, boy. This is going to be another one of those books I can't write about because I liked it too much.

Television producer Carly McKay is pretty comfortable in her life. Until she interviews psychic quiltmaker Brandywine Seaver. Carly's disbelieving, but that doesn't stop Brandy from giving Carly a quilt that she "knows" is hers and giving her a reading:
  • her career is in upheaval
  • something about South America
  • her emotional center is jagged
  • pay attention to the paintbrushes
  • return the frog
  • accept the book with the amber spine
  • take the cab
  • Mary isn't dead
Carly's shaken by the last pronouncement--Mary is her mother who disappeared when Carly was twelve. But she writes it off until one by one, the predictions start coming true. She loses her job, her mother returns, and her best friend Christopher suddenly announces he wants more from their relationship.

So Carly returns to the quiltmaker's small town to... well, to escape from the upheaval, but she tells herself it's to make Brandy remove the curse and take the quilt back, and she ends up renting a cabin from Brandy and starting a new life, including a romance with her fellow tenant Will, an ex-boyfriend of Carly's older sister.

It's a very emotional story, but at the same time, it's not sappy or maudlin. Most importantly for me, Carly is not a saint. One of the main reasons why I shy away from women's fiction is that when it comes to things like her mother returning after disappearing 17 years ago, the main characters tend to be saints--they forgive immediately. In fact, most women's fiction heroines seem to put up with anything from their mothers, and simultaneously divorce their husbands at the first hint of anything other than fairy tale bliss. Heh. Maybe I've read the wrong women's fiction. Anyway, that is not this book.

Carly's younger sister Five (there's a story behind this name, but you'll have to read the book to find out), and her older sister Ella welcome their mother back with open arms, as does their father, though his reaction is more complex, understandably. But Carly, who'd ended up with all the responsibility when Mary left, is angry and hurt. I very much appreciated that about her. It seemed an honest reaction, and the way it was settled in the end was very satisfying and believable.

The romantic relationships in this book are also a large part of it, though I should warn you that it's not a romance. I didn't really know until the end who Carly would end up with, and I was pleased with her choice.

And there's community. The small town where Brandywine lives is full of artists, making for a lot of interesting characters. Even though they're unusual, they're still believable, and there are some nice sub-plots involving them. It's a town I can imagine being able to visit.

Okay, that's probably enough rambling. I loved the book. It made me laugh aloud, and made me cry. I have all of Lani's books, and she's on my must-buy list.

By the way, The Fortune Quilt is the Cherry Book Club's discussion for April 1 - 15. You're invited. There'll be plenty of people discussing it who are much better at explaining themselves than I am.


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This sounds good! I will put it in my TBR.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!
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