Praise for the Elm Creek Quilts Series
Chiaverini’s latest is based on the true story of Elizabeth Keckley, who bought freedom from slavery for herself and her son and went on to become a well-known modiste in Washington. Keckley had a front-row seat to history: she dressed Washington’s A-list, including Jefferson Davis’ wife before they left D.C., and, most intimately, Mary Todd Lincoln. Mrs. Lincoln is mercurial, scheming, extravagant, and troubled, but Elizabeth stands by her as she is lambasted in the press. Elizabeth Keckley is an admirable heroine—successful, self-made, and utterly sympathetic. Readers of the Elm Creek Quilt series who have enjoyed Chiaverini’s narrative jaunts into Civil War and Underground Railroad history will be interested in Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker—and there is even a little bit of quilting in the story. This is also a good choice for readers of Christian historical fiction, as both Elizabeth’s and Mr. Lincoln’s faiths are important elements in shaping their characters.
Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker
Another in the fascinating Elm [Creek] Quilts series, this title is set during the Civil War, giving readers a look at the Union home front, with rallies, quilts for soldiers, fundraisers and the ladies who make up the Elm Creek Sewing and Quilting Circle... We seldom think beyond the battles and generals, but the story of the home [front] is a compelling one. Although we might know how the big picture turned out, the individual stories presented here are rivetingly new.
Elm Creek Farm is located in a little valley in Pennsylvania, near the town of Water's Ford. Like the towns around it, most people are strong Unionists and the farm was once a stop on the Underground Railroad. Now the townsfolk are getting ready to send their men off to fight. The ladies' sewing circle has organized to send them off in style, with bunting decorating the buildings, a pageant, a parade, and speeches by the mayor and local ministers. Little do they know, but they will need those organizing skills a lot in the next few years. The group is varied — some immigrants, a free black woman, some feminists who believe that would should vote and control property — but they are united in their desire to support the troops.
When letters home describe the lack of supplies and decent food, the ladies rally to quilt blankets and to raise funds for bandages and other necessities. They also must take up the reins of the farms and businesses that the men left behind. Each woman in the circle may have a different strength, but together they are a moving force. And they don't intend to let the town fathers take over their efforts. As the war goes on, and the battles around Gettysburg devastate families and towns, we see the characters of the ladies as windows into the life and times of small-town Northern life.
After a small holiday novella featuring the Elm Creek Quilters, Chiaverini brings us a much more substantive story featuring a new and exotic location and a new style of quilting. Trying to recover from a marriage that has gone from bad to worse, Bonnie decides to spend the quilting off-season in Hawaii as a consultant for the new Aloha Quilt Camp in Maui. Claire, her college roommate, has retired to Hawaii with her retired military husband, Eric, and has been running a quilt shop. Now she has also purchased a bed-and-breakfast and wants to add a quilt camp. The novel offers a wonderful introduction to Hawaii and the unique tradition of Hawaiian quilting. Bonnie meets the heartbreak of her nasty divorce head-on and learns more about life and forgiveness than she ever imagined possible. In the process, she renews an old friendship and makes some wonderful new ones. Chiaverini also introduces tantalizing hints of what will come next for the original Elm Creek Quilters. She continues to expand her cast of interesting and inspirational characters while imparting a wealth of knowledge about the craft of quilting.
— Judy Coon, Booklist
The Aloha Quilt
With quiet intelligence and dry wit, Jennifer Chiaverini explores the delicate relationships between women--mothers and daughters, sisters, and friends. The world she creates in The Quilter's Apprentice is rich with the textured, complicated lives of memorable characters engaged in the hard business of ordinary life. Chiaverini tells an involving story of strong women who sustain and nourish each other, and of the young woman who comes to find her own strength and identity, both within this affirming circle and outside it.
— Charlotte Holmes, author of GIFTS AND OTHER STORIES
The Quilter’s Apprentice
Jennifer Chiaverini's first novel is a heartwarming story of relationships that, like pieces of a quilt, can be connected with discord or with harmony. You'll discover friendship here, and you'll learn a thing or two about quilting, too.
— Sandra Dallas, author of THE PERSIAN PICKLE CLUB
The Quilter’s Apprentice
Local Author Stitches Together Intriguing Novel
— John Nichols, The Capital Times
The Quilter’s Apprentice
Jennifer Chiaverini brings a new depth and maturity to THE RUNAWAY QUILT, her best book yet. Whether you believe quilts were used to signal passengers on the underground railroad, you'll know that the original residents of Elm Creek Manor used the products of their hearts and hands to aid runaway slaves.
— Sandra Dallas, author of THE PERSIAN PICKLE CLUB and ALICE'S TULIPS
The Runaway Quilt
Chiaverini combines patchwork quilts, the season of giving, and friendships into an uplifting Thanksgiving tale filled with the holiday spirit and good storytelling.
Chiaverini's fifth and best Elm Creek Quilts novel again stitches together a patchwork of American life... The novel's high point is the poignantly detailed description of the flu epidemic of 1918. Less historical but equally touching is Eleanor's aging mother's arrival at the horse farm. Chiaverini's...gift for visual imagery (Abigail going down with the Titanic; Eleanor's quilts recast as wearable art) and gentle humor (a museum exhibit's explanation of one quilt's origins) blend seamlessly into prose that, like the needlework she portrays, proves intricate, lovely, comforting and uniquely American.
— Publisher's Weekly
The Quilter’s Legacy
Quilts are more than blankets; they are story, memory, tears and legacy woven into patterns. Jennifer Chiaverini, the author of a series of Elm Creek Quilts novels, has expanded her literary legacy with this heartwarming story with a message: 'You can give someone the riches of the world, but it is an empty gesture if you withhold the gift of yourself.' Blocks of an unfinished quilt and secrets and tears that have haunted the Bergstrom family for generations all come spilling out when a younger relative insists on bringing the Christmas decorations down from the attic. Together, Sylvia and Sarah learn about the gift of self. This is a book that can be enjoyed in an evening, savored over hot chocolate and shared with any quilters you know.
— Winston-Salem Journal
The Christmas Quilt