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Be glad in the Lord and rejoice! Psalm 32:11



Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Union Quilters: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel by Jennifer Chiaverini


Jennifer Chiaverini is known for her wonderful novels centered around the ladies of the Elm Creek Quilters, both past and present.



In her new book, "The Union Quilters,” Jennifer looks at the founding ladies of the quilting group, women left behind in the harrowing times of the Civil War and how they showed their strength and compassion during the struggles and hardships faced at home during the arduous war.


In 1862, war has come knocking at the door of the community of Water's Ford, Pennsylvania and as Union supporters the local men rally to answer the call to enlist. As their men march off to their unknown fates, the women of Elm Creek Valley are determined to contribute their share to the war effort and turn their sewing and quilting skills from home use to crafting quilts and other necessary items that are so desperately needed by their menfolk.

The ladies of Water’s Ford each face widely varying, yet common fears as the Civil war that is tearing their country apart rages on. Constance Wright’s husband Abel is an accepted member of the community, and a skilled rifleman, but is turned away from enlisting simply because he is black. Dorothea’s pregnant sister-in-law Charlotte Granger is worried about her husband Dr. Jeremy Granger, who sends comforting regular updates on the men from home to his wife, but also sends more detailed letters to his former love, Gerda Berstrom, causing ill-will and strife among the two women.

Anneke Bergstrom must face whispers from the town since her husband refused to enlist, preferring to stay out of the fray, and Dorothea Granger Nelson worries about her educated schoolmaster husband Thomas who carried her Dove In The Window quilt into battle with him, not realizing that she was pregnant with their second child.



A patriotic project to supply new hospitals in Washington with quilts bands the women together, and the project turns into an opportunity for them to show they are capable to run their lives, their families and their community with great success. Though tension and worry reign over the small community, the women do their best to support one another and hold their families together until their men come marching home.

The seventeenth book in the Elm Creek Quilts series, “The Union Quilters” is a deeper look at the original group of women who began the quilting group. With a sharp eye to detail and historical fact, Chiaverini has combined the stories of the women left behind during war with how the art of quilting allowed the women to cope to create an intriguing story that is timely with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War approaching.

In my opinion, this novel is one of Chiaverini’s best works to date.

About The Author:



Jennifer Chiaverini lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin.

A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she is also a former writing instructor at Penn State and Edgewood College.

In addition to the sixteen volumes of the Elm Creek Quilts series, she is the author of four volumes of quilt patterns inspired by her novels, as well as the designer of the Elm Creek Quilts fabric lines from Red Rooster Fabrics.


My thanks to the publisher and author for the review copy of this book. I was not compensated for my opinions.


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