Praise for the Elm Creek Quilts Series
The Union Quilters is Jennifer Chiaverini’s newest novel, the 17th in her popular Elm Creek Quilts Series.
It takes a step back in history to the remarkable women who lived in Elm Creek Valley in Pennsylvania during the Civil War. The reader meets ancestors of some contemporary characters created by this author who skillfully blends quilting and history.
She will appear at 7:30 p.m. March 4 at the Tattered Cover Highlands Ranch for a reading, questions and answers and signing.
It’s not necessary to read the earlier books to enjoy this one. It’s a complete tale in itself, starting with the colorful endpapers that illustrate special quilt blocks these women used. Several of Chiaverini’s earlier books were set during the Civil War and characters reappear here to continue their stories. Some, for instance hosted runaway slaves in the Underground Railroad network.
The Union Quilters takes place in a rural Pennsylvania valley — and with northern soldiers in the thick of battle, in a rustic hospital and more. She has obviously spent untold hours in researching the accounts of life at that time and historical detail is woven in with character development. (She writes that she lives in Madison, Wis., and has access to the fine university library there.)
Families are left with the women in charge when men leave for war. They decide to build a meeting house where they can work together, raise money to help their soldiers and host educational programs. Capable women that they are, they determine to operate it themselves, to the consternation of the mayor and town council.
Though each has an individual story, they sew and knit and quilt and gather food to send to the men at war. And to socialize and lend each other support.
Each character represents a way of thinking, a facet of political thought of the time and for those who have read other novels in the series, there may be connecting threads. The situation of the one black family tells another piece of the town’s story, as does that of the German-born husband who doesn’t believe in war.
The Union Quilters is well-crafted and will interest historical fiction buffs as well as quilters. Those who are new to the series will probably next want to look up earlier titles with various settings and timelines.
Expect demand from fans of this best-selling gentle series.
— Library Journal
A Quilter’s Holiday
Some of the most compelling characters you'll ever want to meet.
— Green Bay Press-Gazette
The Master Quilter
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.
The Lost Quilter
Glows with the love of quilts, the importance of family, and the value of friends to share our joys and sorrows with.
— Kathryn Smith, Anderson Independent-Mail
As I read Round Robin, I felt I was a member of the Elm Creek Quilters . . . and even shed a few tears. The situations the characters experience are right on the mark. What a delight to find a book so up-to-date with women's personal issues, and working through them in the security of close friendship.
— Harriet Hargrave, Quilter and Author
The latest in the Elm Creek Quilt series explores the lore surrounding the use of quilts to signal runaway slaves traveling the Underground Railroad. Sylvia Compson, owner of Elm Creek Farm and the last of the Bergstrom family line, is intrigued when a quilting student shows her a quilt that complicates the family legend of her ancestors' involvement in the Underground Railroad. She finds old quilts hidden away in the attic, accompanied by a memoir written by Gerda, the spinster sister of the Bergstrom patriarch. The quilts and the memoir raise questions about the Bergstrom family's history that trouble and intrigue Sylvia. Chiaverini switches between passages in Gerda's memoir and current-day events at Elm Creek Farm, including genealogical and historical research, taking the reader back and forth between the present and the past to reveal a long-forgotten family secret. Fans of the three previous Elm Creek Quilts novels will enjoy this latest installment.
The Runaway Quilt
No contemporary figure quite compares to Kate Chase Sprague, the protagonist of Jennifer Chiaverini's historical novel Mrs. Lincoln's Rival... Previously best known for her Elm Creek Quilts series, Madison novelist Chiaverini began a sequence of popular historical novels set during the Civil War last year with Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker, based on Elizabeth Keckley, a free black businesswoman who became a confidante to Mary Todd Lincoln, and continued with The Spymistress, inspired by Elizabeth Van Lew, who spied for the Union behind Confederate lines in Richmond, Va. In addition to simply being fascinating stories, these novels go a long way in capturing the texture of life for women, rich and poor, black and white, in those perilous years.
You can put away your stitching for a few hours and still feel like you're quilting with Round Robin, the second novel about the Elm Creek Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini. Her book lets you join a group of innovative quilters and hear their stories ... As the story progresses, the author lets the round robin quilt the Elm Creek Quilters are making as a surprise for Sylvia illustrate each quilter's approach to her current life situations ... You'll feel you've joined a small quilting group. You'll no doubt find similarities to people you've known and gain comfort in their resolutions while enjoying the progress of the quilt. The most distressing part will be wishing Elm Creek Manor really did exist so that you could sign up for a weeklong quilting getaway!
— Terri Pauser Wolf, American Patchwork & Quilting
Set in California during Prohibition, Chiaverini's newest Elm Creek Quilts novel (after The Union Quilters) follows Rosa Diaz Barclay as she flees her abusive, bootlegger husband, John, in search of a better life with her true love, Lars Jorgensen, and a cure for the mysterious disease that's already claimed four of her children, and threatens to kill the others--two of which were fathered by the troubled Lars. Finding work at a now-illegal vineyard in Sonoma Valley, the couple get caught in a web of cops, mobsters, and farmers trying to survive, all the while struggling to care for their kids, iron out their own relationship, and enjoy the region they've come to love. Chiaverini does an excellent job of describing the lush landscapes of California wine country, while simultaneously painting a touching portrait of the difficulties faced by farming families who must tend to one another, as well as the earth. Agent: Maria Massie, Massie Lippincott McQuilkin. (Feb.)