I marvel at the craft of the work, the quiet architecture which allows the story to carry the load. Like the quilts described, the novel itself is carefully pieced together and each piece feels, sounds and is fat with history and meaning. This is a quiet, beautiful novel, full of gentle wisdom and genuine humility. It is a rare work these days.
— Percival Everett, author of FRENZY and WATERSHED
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.”
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 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
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.)
Expect demand from fans of this best-selling gentle series.
— Library Journal
A compelling fictional account of Keckley’s life.
Chiaverini’s eye for detail coupled with an ability to breathe life into her characters ensures an engrossing period piece that does not fail to both entertain and inform. Fans of Civil War fiction and readers who enjoyed the author’s other historicals will find this title absorbing.
— Library Journal
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
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.