The Sugar Camp Quilt is part of the Elm Creek Quilts series, by Jennifer Chiaverini (a Madison author). Before you think, “Quilting? Yuk!,” keep reading! This book contains adventure, romance, prejudice, and family dynamics, all with a little history thrown in. I read this book in less than 2 days and found it hard to put down. It’s set prior to the Civil War. In a nutshell, feisty Dorothea Granger, who lives with her parents in the home of her very stern uncle, is commanded by her uncle to create a quilt with a very specific design. When he dies unexpectedly, they discover that the quilt design is actually a guide to a station on the Underground Railroad. Dorothea herself becomes involved in guiding slaves along the Railroad, and she has some harrowing adventures dodging slavecatchers while doing so.
The Sugar Camp Quilt is a little different than the other Elm Creek Quilts books. It doesn’t involve any of the characters Elm Creek readers are used to, although some of the names have been mentioned in the present-day books. Don’t worry if you haven’t read the other books in the series; this one can easily stand by itself. You’ll find it in the University Library’s McNaughton Leisure Collection, call number MCN Chi. And check out the other Elm Creek Quilts books in the Library, also in the McNaughton Collection under call number MCN Chi: Master Quilter, Christmas Quilt (this one’s a little dull), Circle of Quilters, and Quilter’s Homecoming. The earlier Elm Creek Quilts books are likely available at your local public library. I recommend trying to read them in order if you can. They’re great for a little light reading!