Pieced together more like a quilt than a driving narrative, Chiaverini's 13th novel centered around the quilting circle of Elm Creek, Pa., finds change afoot. Chapters center on the circle's various members, with a focus on backstory. First-time readers are thus not left out in the cold as Judy and her husband, Steve, prepare to leave for new jobs and lives in Philadelphia; Summer begins grad school in Chicago while boyfriend Jeremy's graduate work keeps him near Elm Creek Manor; … Bonnie isn't sure she wants to reinvent the quilt shop destroyed by vandals; and newcomers Gretchen Hartley and Anna Del Maso join the staff of the quilting camp. The section dealing with Gwen's detective work aimed at discovering the creator of a quilt rescued from a church basement lost and found is the most powerful and poignant in Chiaverini's latest patchwork confection.
— Publlisher’s Weekly
I enjoyed the way Chiaverini deftly stitched the lives of these two women together. That she chose patchwork and quilting to help tell the story was a special bonus. Tell Sarah and Sylvia I'd quilt with them any day!
— Ami Simms, author of HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR QUILTING STITCH and INVISIBLE APPLIQUE
In this sequel to The Quilter's Apprentice, Chiaverini, a quilter herself, has pieced together an even more beautiful story. A tale of love, courage, friendship, hope, and determination, it concerns the Elm Creek Quilters some time after this group has become professionally viable. Still focusing on Sylvia Compson and Sarah McClure, the action includes others in the group who share friendship while dealing with individual problems involving their children and spouses. Sarah still faces her difficult relationship with her mother, while Sylvia must resolve issues of loneliness and illness before she can love again. The Round Robin quilt of the title serves to bind together the women of Elm Creek Manor, who finally learn that the fabric of life consists of many tiny stitches, sometimes poorly connected. Women readers in particular will be touched and charmed. Highly recommended.
— Library Journal
STARRED REVIEW. “Chiaverini’s accomplishment is her remarkable ability to build dramatic tension…a completely compelling novel.”
“Fans of historical fiction are in for a real treat with Jennifer Chiaverini’s latest novel, Fates and Traitors… Based on lesser-known details of the infamous assassin’s family life, this compelling, dynamic account of the tragic Civil War years transports readers to the heart of Washington, DC during one of its most electrifying time periods…Booth himself, the details of the Civil War and its politics come alive as the varying perspectives merge into one mind-blowing script…Chiaverini’s spectacular narrative brings the past to vivid life.”
Chiaverini delivers another satisfying Elm Creek Quilts story in the latest title in this excellent series. “Quiltsgiving,” held after Thanksgiving for Elm Creek campers, is tied this year to Project Linus, the organization that makes blankets for critically ill children. Updates on the recurring characters, including Sarah and Sylvia, are present but take a backseat to the engrossing stories of six women attending the retreat. A young woman uses the camp for a college service project while recovering from a leg injury. A librarian camper recounts her fight to keep her branch open amid censorship and budget cuts. Others deal with loss, including one woman who missed out on a job at Elm Creek. This volume features the series at its best, with warm, fully realized characters and powerful themes. The Project Linus and quilting details provide a nice overlay but do not overpower the story, making it enjoyable even for nonquilters. Debbie Macomber fans will enjoy this series.
Jennifer Chiaverini has made quite a name for herself with her best-selling Elm Creek Quilts series. From the Civil War to the roaring ‘20s to contemporary settings, these novels have offered suspense, romance and, at times, in-depth looks into the social, political and cultural differences that helped shape a nation. In the latest Elm Creek Quilts novel, The Union Quilters, readers are introduced to Dorothea Granger—beloved wife of Thomas—as she stands in her kitchen, swallowing her tears, watching the man she loves prepare to cross Pennsylvania to enlist in the Union army in 1861. Dorothea is a true leader in her small town: She’s constantly helping other families, running the sewing circle and even using her home as a station on the Underground Railroad. But having to keep the tears from her eyes as Thomas departs is almost impossible. Constance Wright and her boys live in the small town of Elm Creek as well. Her husband, Abel, is also packing to join the men on their march into battle, but Abel has an obstacle the others do not. He’s African American, and the Union has yet to let men of color wear the blue uniform and stand up for their rights. Among the other residents in town are Gerda Bergstrom, a slightly bitter woman who’s in love with a man she can never have, and her sister, Anneke, whose own husband refuses to join the fight, choosing instead to stand by his opinion that you should never kill your fellow man. Like the quilts that are created by these fantastic ladies’ hands, Chiaverini’s storylines are seamlessly united. Between the sewing circle becoming an organization that will do all they can to support their noble fighting men to the in-depth accounts of frightening battles to the vivid look at the intense prejudice that existed in a world teetering on the cusp of freedom, every moment of this story is truly unforgettable. Chiaverini has once again written an intense and beautiful book—so much so that readers will almost hear the hollow echo of the fife and drum as they immerse themselves in every compelling page.
Chiaverini stitches together a series of lightly interlocking contemporary vignettes in an intriguing way…A gentle exploration of tragedy, hope, the power of Christmas, and the possibility of miracles.
Chiaverini writes a heartfelt story of Christmases past and present.
— Library Journal
STARRED REVIEW. “Wonderfully evoking the times and places that Booth knew, Chiaverini’s work makes for enthralling reading…Readers who enjoy historical fiction, especially dealing with the Civil War, as well as fans of the author, will find this winning novel difficult to put down.”