Praise for the Elm Creek Quilts Series

Especially good winter reading.

— Detroit Free Press
Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker

Chiaverini’s latest offering is another in her series of novels intended for the holiday season. To follow The Christmas Quilt (2005), The New Year’s Quilt (2007), and a novel leading up to Thanksgiving (The Quilter’s Kitchen, 2008), she needed to get a little more inventive this time. The Quilter’s Holiday concerns a tradition taking place the day after Thanksgiving. The quilters’ circle gathers at the Elm Creek manor for a daylong marathon to create holiday decorations or gifts. The group pauses in their work for a scrumptious potluck lunch of dishes made from Thanksgiving leftovers. This year, in the midst of an early snowstorm, they also renew an old cornucopia tradition. Each quilter inserts a quilt block into an antique cornucopia, representing something for which they are especially thankful. Although the novel is a continuation of the long-running Elm Creek series, it may also be read as a stand-alone story evoking the holiday spirit. Longtime fans of the series will learn more of the quilters’ backstories and get delightful hints of what will follow in subsequent novels. A must for series fans

— Judy Coon, Booklist
A Quilter’s Holiday

Chiaverini, author of the Elm Creek Quilts novels, delivers a rich holiday tale that predates last year's Master Quilter. Sylvia Compson, nee Bergstrom, 77, is determined to make it the dullest holiday ever at Elm Creek Manor, to which she returned, a year and a half ago, after 50 years of estrangement. Her Bergstrom relatives are gone; her memories of Christmas past are fraught. But young Sarah McClure, Sylvia's partner in the quilting camp that's brought Elm Creek back to life, wants to spend Christmas with Sylvia -- and she wants it tinsel strewn. Home is here now, not with the mother who dislikes Sarah's husband, Matt. Sylvia reluctantly agrees to visit the trove of ornaments in the attic. As the women discover an unfinished Christmas quilt, a mixed bag of memories spills out along with the feathered star blocks: strudel making in the Depression; tree trimming during World War II; memories of a sister, Claudia, who forfeits Sylvia's love until it's too late. Reconciliation and redemption: of course. But it's not won cheaply -- there's no saccharine in this sweet story.

— Publisher's Weekly
The Christmas Quilt

This volume in the now long-running Elm Creek Quilts series goes back to finish a story begun in The Runaway Quilt (2002). Joanna, runaway slave and quilter, traveled the Underground Railroad to Elm Creek Farm in 1859, only to be captured and forcibly returned to Virginia. Sylvia Compson has learned part of Joanna’s story through the journal of her great-great aunt Gerda Bergstrom and related historicalresearch. Now, the discovery of a bundle of Joanna's old letters reopens the mystery of what happened to the former slave. This story concentrates on Joanna and the Civil War years but also extends to her family and descendents. Once again clues unearthed from styles of quilting and fabrics used in different quilts help Sylvia and her friends track down what really happened during a remote period in history and help drive home Chiaverini’s point that women’s history adds a vital layer to our understanding of the past. This is an outstanding series of novels about a fascinating craft. Quilting, in the hands of Chiaverini, allows us to explore human relationships in all their complexity.

— Booklist
The Lost Quilter

Chiaverini has created a wonderful novel with her extensive research — not only on Kate Chase, but also on the battles on the senate floor and out in the field.

— RT Book Reviews
Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival

I marvel at the craft of the work, the quiet architecture which allows the story to carry the load. Like the quilts described, the novel itself is carefully pieced together and each piece feels, sounds and is fat with history and meaning. This is a quiet, beautiful novel, full of gentle wisdom and genuine humility. It is a rare work these days.

— Percival Everett, author of FRENZY and WATERSHED
The Quilter’s Apprentice

The Quilter's Apprentice is a novel that is sure to cause some buzz in the quilting bees. Quilting propels the plot and colors the background of this first novel by Jennifer Chiaverini. It is obvious that the author practices and loves quilting herself, as her many references to the art and social context of quilting are accurate and realistic. Best of all, the conclusion ties all of the story's threads together as only a quilter could.

— Judy Martin, quiltmaker, designer, author
The Quilter’s Apprentice

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.

— Bunny Callahan, RT Book Reviews
The Union Quilters

For readers who enjoyed Jan Karon's "Mitford" series, The Quilter's Apprentice is a must read. Sarah McClure, a newcomer to a small college town, takes a temporary position at Elm Creek Manor, helping its reclusive owner Syliva Compson prepare her family estate for sale. As payment for her work, Sylvia teaches Sarah to quilt, while telling about the hardships of growing up during World war II. As the two women become friends, Sylvia helps Sarah face her own family struggles. Together, they learn the value of family, friendship and forgiveness.

— Leah Robarts, Abilene Reporter-News
The Quilter’s Apprentice

Chiaverini writes a heartfelt story of Christmases past and present.

— Library Journal
Christmas Bells