The Goodbye Quilt, Review and Giveaway

My family and I love road trips. My husband and I have had some wonderful conversations born from hours on the road with nothing but time on our hands.

Likewise, whether it’s a long vacation or a quick ride home from school, I’ve heard many parents (of older kids especially) say that they love riding in the car, because that’s when tweens and teens are most likely to open up.

In her new short novel The Goodbye Quilt, author Susan Wiggs writes about a mother-daughter cross country road trip. It’s definitely bittersweet — for both of them, because it’s 5 days of goodbye, as Linda is driving Molly to college. What can be sweet about that? Well, even in her sadness about saying goodbye to her only child, Linda realizes that she is also fulfilling the ultimate goal of parenting: letting her go and knowing that you did a good enough job to be fairly confident that she’ll succeed.

For Molly, it’s almost as hard to let go. But her problem isn’t letting go of her mother, but of the boyfriend, her high school sweetheart who is content to stay in the small-town and work in the factory. She’s got a great scholarship at the school across the country, and is sort of ready to do what her mom never did — strike out on her own in a new place — but she feels pulled.

This is a mostly light and sweet, a perfect novel to just enjoy when you don’t want to think too hard, but on the other hand, Wiggs has so perfectly captured the mixed feelings over that moment of letting/pushing/encouraging your little ones out of the nest that it is so much more:

“I’m not ready. This wrenching grief has kind of blindsided me. I didn’t expect it to be this intense. All kids leave home. If you do your job of parenting correctly, this is the end result. They leave. When it doesn’t work that way, that’s when a mother should worry. If the kid sticks around, takes up permanent residence in her childhood bedroom, you’re considered a failure.”

The Goodbye Quilt, page 21 ARC

During the trip, Linda wonders, “Did I teach her everything she needs to know to succeed in the future?” She’s also looking back and remembering the past as she puts finishing touches on the quilt she’s making to give Molly as a goodbye gift. Each scrap of fabric and ribbon reminds her of the little girl she’s raised.

This book seems sad, especially if you are like me and see the end coming. My daughter is in 7th grade now, and I know that all-too soon, I’ll be sending her away to strike out on her own. But it’s really not sad and depressing. It’s a testament to the power of motherhood and the difficulty and necessity of letting go.

And for those of you with busy little ones taking all your time and energy, it’s a short little book, and I guarantee you can make the time to finish, so take the publisher up on the offer, and leave a comment right here to enter to win your own copy of The Goodbye Quilt.

This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian shipping addresses. We’ll announce the winner right here on April 25.

The winner of The Mom’s Guide to Traveling with Kids is #16 Catherine Simonds.

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Do you love quilting or know someone who does? Check out my review of the beautiful new book F is for Friendship: A Quilter’s Alphabet

Written by book blogger Jennifer, who manages 5 Minutes for Books and blogs about life with her 6 1/2 year old son and 12 1/2 year old daughter at Snapshot.


  1. says

    Ooh! I just read a Susan Wiggs’ book for the first time a couple of months ago, and really enjoyed it. I’ll check out this one. Thanks for the great review! :) Happy Monday! :)

  2. says

    Reading the review of this book already makes me sad to take my daughters to college, and my oldest is only in Kindergarten! But everyone tells me it goes by too fast…. I’d love to read this book!

  3. Sandra K321 says

    It’s hard when so much of your life is involved in theirs, whether it’s the school plays or concerts, the sports games after school, etc. Then you have to say goodbye to them and send them off to college and begin a very different part of your life, the empty nester. I would love to read this book.

  4. Beth C says

    I love quilts and books about quilting. This sounds like a book I’d really enjoy.

  5. says

    I LOVE quilts and am actually in the process of making my first one. My MIL and I are going to a Quilting Festival in June…would LOVE to win this books! :)

  6. Lisa Marz says

    My oldest is 16 and I a already have bittersweet emotions about the day he will head off to college. Sounds like a great read.

  7. Elizabeth says

    My oldest is turning 13 in June. This sounds very much like the bittersweet thoughts that are already going through my head. I’d love to win!

  8. Anita Yancey says

    I love Susan’s books. I know just how Linda felt in the story to have to let her daughter go. I had to let my own daughter go when she turned eighteen, and it is so hard. You just don’t know what to do with yourself. Please enter me. Thanks!


  9. says

    My mom is a quilter (and occasionally me, too) and it was hard when I went off to college (so long ago). I dread the day with my daughter (she’s only 4 tho!) so this looks like a good read, thanks!

  10. Glenda Alexander says

    Woudl love to win a Susan Wiggs book! Susan writes books that we all can relate to, she is able to describe how deep our feelings are, and the many type of losses we all face.

  11. Ardell Kaubisch says

    I have been reading the reviews on THE GODBYE QUILT and I really want to get it. I love all of Susan Wiggs books. She is a fabulous author and her storylines are very enjoyable and easy to follow.

  12. kym amaral says

    My daughter is half way thru her first year of college…and it sure has been an adjustment ! My son will go next year …It sure does become a hard time for us moms !!

    I would love to win this book, Susan is one of my fav Authors !

  13. Ellen Lopes says

    I remember taking my son to college. I cried and cried. Then I joined a Mom’s group online that was going through the same thing. 12 1/2 years later we are still going strong. Me and my son, and me and my group :)

  14. says

    I want to read this novel – it sounds great – but at the same time, I’ll probably loathe it because it deals with a topic that terrifies me – pushing my baby girl out of the nest. Yeah, yeah I know we have to, and the end result of good parenting is watching our young successfully strike out on their own – but I don’t have to like it , do I?!

  15. Jennifer Parham says

    hi guys, i love susan wiggs! I havent read the goodbye quilt yet, but her books always leave me feelng fulfilled.

  16. Shelagh says

    Just today, I saw a magazine advertisement for this very book. It sounded interesting then and now that I read your review I really want to read it even more.

  17. Beth T. says

    I would be delighted to win this sweet book, but if I don’t it will definitely go on my wish list! Thanks for the review.

  18. Christina says

    This is one of the authors that my librarian recommended (based on all the random books I’ve checked out this past year). It sounds lovely and sad.

  19. Emily Snowman says

    I love Susan Wiggs writing and just found out about this book this evening. I am anxious to read it! Your fantastic review reminds me of my own journey to college with my mom, nine years ago – traveling from Maine to central Indiana! For me the BIG journey started after she left. As soon as she left I realized I was over 1,000 miles from home and surrounded by strangers! Can’t wait to read this book!

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