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
While searching for decorations on Christmas Eve, Sarah finds a lovely unfinished Christmas quilt. Elm Creek master quilter Sylvia knows the quilt's history and narrates several tales of holidays past, recalling how many times the quilt had been pulled out of storage to be completed, only to be forgotten until next year as a family drama unfolded. Eventually, the quilt was put away for good, not unearthed for over 50 years. Will this be the year it is finally finished, under happy circumstances? With eight books in the “Elm Creek” series, libraries should plan on demand for Chiaverini's latest, but even readers unfamiliar with the series will enjoy this charming story of love and family.
— Library Journal
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.
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
Chiaverini returns to the quilters of Elm Creek Manor and introduces several new characters in her sweet latest novel (after Sonoma Rose). When Sylvia asks the participants in Quiltsgiving, a post-Thanksgiving weeklong get-together, why they quilt and why they give, their answers point to personal tragedies and triumphs, reminding readers of the powers of generosity and friendship. Jocelyn recent lost her husband in a tragic accident, and she channels her energies into jeeping his after-school programs alive. Linnea wants to keep the public library where she works open to all visitors, but a lack of funding and political squabbling make it difficult. Michaela is recovering from a leg injury sustained during a sabotaged cheerleading tryout, and she fears her future is jeopardized. Despite the particulars of each obstacle or victory, each woman finds encouragement in one another, and as they quilt, the stitch together their strendths to cope with individual struggles. Chiaverini's themes of love, loss, and healing will resonate with many, and her characters' stories are inspiring.
“In her latest novel, Fates and Traitors, Jennifer Chiaverini once again demonstrates her masterful ability to bring history to life. Thoroughly researched, expertly crafted, this book takes readers from the glittering state rooms of the Lincoln White House to the packed houses of John Wilkes Booth’s Washington theater scene to the seedy boarding rooms of the conspiring murderers. With her varied and well-drawn ensemble of female narrators, Chiaverini spins a rich and suspenseful tale, shedding new light on America’s most notorious assassin—and the women who loved him.”
— Allison Pataki, New York Times Bestselling author of Sisi: Empress On Her Own
Coming September 13, 2016: Fates and Traitors
[In] the fifth installment in Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilts series, … the author explores Sylvia's maternal heritage and the women's suffrage movement, alternating between the past and the present. Sylvia is busy planning her wedding to Andrew Cooper and attempting to overcome the resistance of his children, who fear that the seven-year age difference and Sylvia's stroke some years earlier will leave their father in a tenuous situation. What connects the past and the present is Sylvia's odyssey to find her mother's quilts, which had been sold during Sylvia's estrangement from her sister, Claudia. The journey to find the quilts, the detective work of tracking them down, and the family lore behind them illustrate how quilts develop a history beyond that of their maker. Series fans will enjoy this latest installment.