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
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.
Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker is a wonderful novel…Jennifer Chiaverini has researched her history well, and writes elegantly and formally. The perspective is third-person and emphasizes the historical and real over image and gossip. The novel paints a broad picture of what it must have been like to live in America during that age, and revisits the lives of the remaining members of the former First Family after the assassination and the election of the 17th President, Andrew Johnson. We learn of the scandals and motives behind the events that ended the long, very dear friendship between Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley, and also a great deal about the First Lady and the Lincoln children in the years following the President’s death…Any reader interested in President Lincoln, Civil War history, or historical fiction should love this book.
One of 5 Must-Read Books This December: “[Enchantress of Numbers] is a fascinating look at how science and art do not stand at opposite ends of the spectrum, but rather—at their best—work together, and bring us toward a new, undreamed-of future.”
Best New Books to Read in December: “While Lovelace may not have received the credit she was due in her own time period, Chiaverini’s novel stands as a fitting ode to one of the greatest women in the history of science.”
[Jennifer Chiaverini] hits all the right emotional notes in this heartwarming story.
“In her richly detailed Enchantress of Numbers, Jennifer Chiaverini presents a vivid portrait of Ada’s too-short life while illuminating the significance of her professional accomplishments…Enchantress of Numbers expertly balances scenes in royal salons and English country houses with Ada’s reflections on the mathematical principles…Chiaverini’s latest will appeal to readers who enjoy 19th-century historical fiction and want a glimpse into the dawn of a technological revolution.”
Chiaverini spins a bunch of compelling yarns and expertly weaves them together.
— Kirkus Reviews
Fans of Jennifer Chiaverini’s Elm Creek Quilts novels will find much to appreciate in her latest effort, the Winding Ways Quilt. Readers are in store for big changes as this season’s quilting camp comes to a close, with longtime member Judy leaving for a great new job and Summer planning to leave for graduate school in Chicago (for real this time). Bonnie is trying to decide how to move forward after her marriage and her quilt shop ended up in shambles, while Gwen prepares for her best friend and her daughter to leave. And new friends are joining this warm quilting circle, including Anna, the master chef, and Gretchen, the new quilting teacher. All the while group matriarch Sylvia is hard at work on a multipaneled Winding Ways quilt, which beautifully illustrates the comings and goings of members of her quilting family. Readers who have not read the numerous previous Elm Creek Quilt books would not feel lost if this were the first one they picked up. Though the Winding Ways Quilt is 13th in the series, it focuses largely on the backstory of the quilters, explaining what brought them to quilting and to Elm Creek Quilts, and how their relationships with each other have changed and deepened through the years. There’s also an important lesson or two about forgiveness and how to move on, from tragedy or just from change. That these women all happen to be quilters makes this story no less entertaining for people who are not quilters. Women who enjoy any kind of crafts will identify with the passion and enthusiasm Chiaverini’s characters have for quilting. Best-selling author Chiaverini has a loyal following of readers who want to know everything that’s happening in the world of the Elm Creek Quilters. She’s also designed a line of fabrics based on her novels. Odds are good that this latest Elm Creek adventure will bring Chiaverini even more devoted readers who can’t wait to find out what happens next.
“With the popularity of the book and movie Hidden Figures and the recent education thrust toward science and math, Chiaverini, best known for her Civil War-era novels featuring mostly unrecognized women, turns her keen eye for detail to another forgotten heroine: Ada Byron King, Countess of Lovelace, the first computer programmer. This fascinating portrait of Lord Byron’s only legitimate child is not only a picture of a time and place, but of a woman struggling with her nature, passion and desire for learning. Chiaverini’s novel…is both inspirational, touching and memorable.”
—RT Book Reviews