A Common Thread: Fiction about Quilts and Quilting

Patterns of women's lives are reflected in these novels and mysteries about quilts and quilting. All of these titles are located in the Adult Fiction section or the Adult Mystery section of the Library unless otherwise noted.

General fiction

General Fiction

Atwood, Margaret. Alias Grace. 1996.
     Also available: Large Type
Based on a true story, this is Atwood's version of the events surrounding a famous Canadian murderess, Grace Marks. Grace's story contains several descriptions of quilt patterns and the roles quilts play in women's lives.
Bostwick, Marie. A Single Thread. 2008.
When Evelyn Dixon's marriage ends, she leaves Texas and drives north until New Bern, Conn., captures her heart. There she pursues a dream of opening a quilt shop.
Chiaverini, Jennifer. The Quilter’s Apprentice. 1999.
     Also available: CD
This is the first in an inspiring series of quilting novels. Newly married and unemployed, Sarah McClure hires on as personal assistant to a disagreeable old woman, Sylvia. As Sylvia gives Sarah quilting lessons, the barriers between them break down and Sarah learns the secrets of Sylvia's lonely life.
Dallas, Sandra. Alice’s Tulips. 2000.
     Also available: CD
When her husband enlists as a Union soldier in the Civil War, teenage newlywed Alice must live on a farm with only her stern mother-in-law for company. In her loneliness she passes the time writing long letters to her sister and growing passionate about her quilting.
Dallas, Sandra. The Persian Pickle Club. 1995.
     Also available: Large Type, CD
Set in Kansas during the 1930s, this is the story of the Persian Pickle Club, a group of women dedicated to quilting, gossiping, and improving their minds. When a young, investigative journalist joins the group long hidden secrets begin to emerge.
Davis, Thomas J. The Christmas Quilt. 2000.
In the mountains of North Georgia, Granny is making a quilt for her long-absent son in this novel about an old-fashioned way of life.
House, Silas. Clay’s Quilt. 2001.
Clay, a coal miner, learns from his quilt-making uncle and fiddle-playing friend that a torn-apart life can be rebuilt from bits and pieces in this sensitive telling by a first-time novelist.
Michaels, Barbara. Stitches in Time. 1995.
Using the setting and characters of her novels Ammie Come Home and Shattered Silk, Michaels tells the tale of a store clerk who becomes convinced that an antique quilt is giving off an aura of evil and endangering her loved ones.
Otto, Whitney. How to Make An American Quilt. 1991.
With quilting as the framework for women's lives Otto tells of a weekly quilting circle whose members share stories of love, loss, marriage, triumph and tragedy.
Rich, Lani Diane. The Fortune Quilt. 2007. (Adult Romance RIC).
When Carly, a television producer, visits a psychic quiltmaker she is skeptical until the psychic’s predictions start to come true with the loss of her job, the unwelcome return of her mother, and the arrival of new love. Humorous, intelligent chick-lit with a happy ending.
Richards, Emilie. Wedding Ring. 2004.
Three generations of women spend a summer cleaning out the family home in the Shenandoah Valley. The matriarch has made hundreds of quilts, chronicling her family’s lives.
Snelling, Lauraine. The Healing Quilt. 2002.
A circle of women grows in friendship while making a quilt to raise money for a hospital mammogram machine. Kit Cooper has organized the project to occupy herself after the loss of her daughter to cancer.
Turner, Nancy. Sarah’s Quilt: A Novel of Sarah Agnes Prine and the Arizona Territories, 1906. 2005.
Set in the Arizona Territory, Sarah's tale follows the challenges, setbacks, and successes she faces from her particular vantage point on the frontier from spring to winter in the year 1906.
Webb, Aliske. Twelve Golden Threads. 1996.
A grandmother confined to a nursing home teaches her granddaughters how to quilt. The lessons of quilting become lessons of life for the girls as values and wisdom are passed from one generation to the next.
Wiggs, Susan. The Goodbye Quilt. 2011. (Adult Romance WIG).
     Also available: Large Type, CD, Digital Player
As her only child, Molly, readies for college, local fabric shop owner Linda Davis shares one last adventure with her daughter--a cross-country road trip to move Molly into her dorm.
Woodsmall, Cindy. The Sisters of the Quilt series.
     Also available: Large Type
A portrait of life within an Old Order Amish community, and the difficulties suffered by Hannah Lapp when she goes against custom and marries a neighboring Mennonite boy.


Brown, Lizbie. Broken Star. 1993.
Elizabeth Blair is an American who lives in Bath, England and makes a living by selling quilts. When a connection is made between a quilt pattern and a celebrity charged with murder Elizabeth teams up with Max Shepard, a P.I., to solve the case.
Daheim, Mary. The Alpine Quilt. 2005.
Emma Lord, owner and publisher of the Alpine Advocate, is back for another adventure featuring a small town in Washington State and its eclectic residents. In this outing, a former resident is poisoned when she returns home for a visit with her old quilting group.
Fowler, Earlene. Fool's Puzzle. 1994.
     Also available: Large Type
In Fowler's first novel she introduces Benni Harper, a quilter who has just moved to a small California town seeking a fresh start after the death of her husband. While setting up an exhibit of quilts Benni discovers a body and sees a relative of hers fleeing the scene.
Frommer, Sara Hoskinson. Buried in Quilts. 1994.
On the eve of a quilt show a body is found wrapped in a quilt. Joan Spencer joins forces with the police to solve the mystery and open the show. Each chapter is named after a quilt pattern.
Graham, Barbara. Murder by Artifact: The Murder Quilt. 2009.
What appears to be the stabbed corpse of Queen Doreen, the despised wife of the mayor of Silersville, Tenn., turns up under a "murder quilt" (an antique quilt with bloodstains).
Hager, Jean. Death on the Drunkard's Path. 1996.
While preparing for the annual Victoria Springs Quilt Show, competition turns quilters into backstabbers who will do anything to win, causing a number of "accidents" in the exhibition hall. There's even a murder with a quilters tool.
Hager, Jean. Sew Deadly: An Iris House B&B Mystery. 1998.
B&B owner Tess Darcy stumbles upon the murder of elderly Edwina Riley, a quilter and the most hated woman in town. Tess proceeds to investigate Edwina's secrets and those of the people she blackmailed.
Myers, Tamar. Too Many Crooks Spoil the Broth: A Pennsylvania Dutch Mystery With Recipes. 1994.
After the death of her parents, Mennonite Magdelana Yoder coverts their farm into an inn featuring Amish furnishings and a quilt on every bed. One day a murdered guest is discovered wrapped in a Dresden Plate quilt.
O’Donahue, Clare. A Drunkard's Path. 2009.
In the sleepy town of Archers Rest, Nell Fitzgerald is finishing her first quilt and preparing for her first date with the police chief, but she is stood up when the body of a murdered young woman has been discovered near the Hudson River.
Paton Walsh, Jill. A Piece of Justice: An Imogen Quy Mystery. 1995.
Imogen Quy, a quilter and college nurse, becomes entangled in a mystery involving her boarder, a deceased mathematician, the mathematician's widow, and a quilt.
Stevenson, Richard. Strachey’s Folly. 1998.
Gay P.I. Strachey discovers a panel on the AIDS Memorial Quilt for his friend’s ex-lover-- only the ex-lover is not dead! When the friend is gunned down, Strachey struggles against police bigotry and political corruption to find the attackers in this fast-paced mystery.
Thayer, Terri. Wild Goose Chase. 2008.
When Dewey Pellicano inherits her mother’s quilting shop, she tries to sell it, but her buyer is murdered and Dewey becomes a suspect.