Praise for the Elm Creek Quilts Series

The Quilter's Apprentice is a story of forgiveness, friendship, and letting go of the past. It is a beautiful first novel by Jennifer Chiaverini that crosses generations and, once read, should be passed to mothers and sisters and friends... The Quilter's Apprentice will take you on a journey that will introduce you to two remarkable women and shows us all that we can reach across generations and find friendship as well as learning from each other.

— Carolyn McCutcheon, Borders Staff Reviews
The Quilter’s Apprentice

A couple of surprise openings at the artists' retreat familiarly known as Elm Creek Quilts brings a host of intriguing candidates.

— Library Journal
Circle of Quilters

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.

— Sonya Ellingboe, Highlands Ranch Herald
The Union Quilters

The lives of four women and one man are much improved by quilting in the eighth installment of the Elm Creek Quilts series. Elm Creek Quilt Camp, housed in the Pennsylvania manor house belonging to founder Sylvia Compson, is looking for two new instructors to join its family. Out goes the advertisement, and soon a gaggle of quilters respond-the reader is privy to the trials and tribulations of five, each quilter linked by their interview at Elm Creek. First in line is Maggie, who, inspired by a dusty old quilt found at a garage sale, embarks on a lifelong journey to research the quilter's life. Now a quilter herself, as well as lecturer and author, Maggie would be a prestigious addition to Elm Creek-and just in time, as she's about to be downsized from her day job. Karen Wise is next interviewed in an encounter that would make any mother cringe with sympathy. A stay-at-home mom, Karen is feeling restless, inadequate and just plain tired of baby talk all day. Childcare problems arise, forcing Karen to bring the boys along, with alternately hilarious and disastrous results. Anna shows up next, with a plate full of cookies in the shape of quilting blocks. An appropriate gift, for not only is Anna a chef by trade, all of her quilts are depictions of food. Anna's tale focuses on her rotten relationship with boyfriend Gordon, an academic who thinks of her as a lunch lady and her quilting as antiquated woman's work. Russell is the sole male applicant, and much of his experience in the world of quilting is dominated by his feelings of exclusion. Brought to quilting after the death of his wife (in his grief, he finishes her last quilt), Russ becomes an artist, exhibiting his pieces in galleriesand lecturing on technique. Lastly is Gretchen's touching story of a life of hardship and unpaid loyalty, offset by the joy and companionship quilting has brought. Apparently quilting makes the world a better place. Diehard fans may want more than mere cameos from their favorite characters, but overall, a pleasant addition to the series.

— Kirkus Reviews
Circle of Quilters

A debut tale of two women, one young, one old, who learn to craft new lives and mend old ones as they sew a quilt...Nicely stitched together (and fun for quilters)

— Kirkus Reviews
The Quilter’s Apprentice

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

Steeped in rich period detail and gentle romance, this seventh entry in Chiaverini's "Elm Creek Quilts" series wonderfully captures the courage of the Underground Railroad supporters and the runaways who risked everything to find freedom.

— Library Journal
The Sugar Camp Quilt

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

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

Chiaverini's Elm Creek novels are an original series and a fabulous addition to the genre. Her latest is a true delight, complete with fascinating characters from all walks of life. Readers will enjoy this novel and its well-written descriptions of the craft of quilting.

— Romantic Times
Circle of Quilters