The Fortune Quilt
Grade : A-

The Fortune Quilt has something for everyone: A sweet romance, snazzy chick-lit type heroine, and enough family and personal dilemma to satisfy the women’s fiction lovers out there. I’ve been a fan of Lani Diane Rich since picking up her debut novel, Time Off for Good Behavior. While I have loved every one of her books, I think The Fortune Quilt is by far my favorite.

Carly McKay is content with her life as the producer for local news show Tucson Today and surrogate mother for her two younger sisters. She took over the maternal role at age twelve, when her mother up and left. It’s been 17 years and Carly accepts that her mother will never come back. But a fluff piece on a psychic quilt maker eventually turns her life upside down.

It’s in Bilby, Arizona that Carly and her best friend/cameraman find that the psychic has a fortune quilt already waiting for Carly, a quilt that signals great changes in her life. Carly is skeptical but takes the quilt, not believing anything the hokey women said. And then her mother returns and wants to make things “the way they used to be,” she loses her job when Tucson Today is cancelled, and her best – and only – friend confesses his undying love for her. Things are not looking good for Carly as she drives around Tucson, essentially homeless after giving her father an ultimatum that doesn’t go her way. She decides it was the quilt’s fault and, since she has no where else to go, she heads to Bilby to return the evil quilt and confront its maker, Brandy.

But once in Bilby, things start to turn around. She discovers a strong kinship with Brandy, rents a cabin from her that just happens to be next door to a fabulous man, and gets a low key job at an area art store. She’s starting to enjoy life again and feels that this change might be for the good. But Carly needs to mend some fences with the family and friends that she up and left. So she has some decisions to make: go back and try to rebuild her old life or start over here with new friends and career choices.

Humor is definitely objective so I won’t make a general assumption that everyone will find this as funny as I do. Yet Ms. Rich hits all my buttons. Her dry and sarcastic wit has me rolling every time. I never laugh as much as I do when reading this author.

The story, while being hilarious, has its deeper moments that made this one into a Keeper for me. Carly’s reaction to her reinstated mother was so spot on it made my breath hitch. I’ve never been in that exact situation myself, but I know the feelings that come on you when you experience something that shocking. I was impressed at how the author put those feelings and emotions into words.

I had some very slight problems, so slight I almost don’t want to tell you in case you might pass this book up. First, I wanted more. Not that big of an issue, but still, because of the length, the end felt a bit rushed. I also hoped that Carly’s initial fortune would turn out to be a little wittier that it did. Sure, all the clues fit in perfectly, but I wanted a little more panache to go with it.

Lani Diane Rich knows her away around one-of-a-kind characters and fantastical plots. I thought she couldn’t top herself with strange elements after the stinky green bird in Maybe, Baby, but then she throws in a porcelain, hunchback sugar dish with the unfortunate name of Quasitoado. It’s the little touches that make The Fortune Quilt a fantastic read. Even if that little touch includes an ugly sugar dish.

Reviewed by Lisa Gardineer

Grade: A-

Book Type: Chick Lit

Sensuality: Subtle

Review Date: 12/05/07

Publication Date: 2007

Review Tags: Arizona

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