At a family reunion, quilt-maker Laura Bartone discovers a horrible family secret from her odd and difficult younger sister Caroline. Although this novel had moments of emotional resonance, there were far too many moments that felt like simply padding, arbitrary and irrelevant to the story. For instance, the details about a dog quilt that Laura is making for a client who is not even named or seen in the novel seemed entirely superfluous, as did the discussion about the hypochondria of a friend's partner who similarly never makes an appearance. Some offhand observations, such as how Laura's fabric collection, like a hardware store, is satisfying in its completeness, "because everything is there," would have been nicer if they had more relevance to the story.Although some of Laura's relationships were lifelike and realistic, the pastiche of Laura's life never meshed into an organic whole. Laura seems to be on the one hand a good person, a good wife and mother, leading an idyllic life, and on the other a seriously flawed and emotionally inadequate sister. How did she get from point A to point B? This story from sister Caroline's point of view would have made a much more interesting novel. Most annoying to me were old-fashioned, sexist assumptions about men's and women's natures and gender roles, which turned everyone into a caricature: men who can't talk about their emotions, the really good woman friend who you can share everything with, the ebullient and effusive gay man who runs the fabric store and is going on vacation to—where else?—San Francisco. It's almost as if Elizabeth Berg only had the time or resources to flesh out the relationships central to the plot and everyone else was just a stand-in. Such cheap stereotypes kept me from becoming involved in what was a plot that should have struck very close to home.