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In this latest Elm Creek Quilts novel, "New York Times"-bestselling author Chiaverini delivers a powerful story of a remarkable group of women coping with changing roles and the extraordinary experiences of the Civil War. In 1862 Water's Ford, Pennsylvania, abolitionism is prevalent, even passionate, so the local men rally to answer Mr. Lincoln's call to arms. Thus the women of Elm Creek Valley's quilting bee are propelled into the unknown.
- ISBN-13: 9780525952039
- ISBN-10: 0525952039
- Publisher: Dutton Books
- Publish Date: February 2011
- Page Count: 342
- Reading Level: Ages 18-UP
Series: Elm Creek Quilts Novels (Dutton Hardcover)
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2010-12-13
- Reviewer: Staff
In her true-to-form latest, Chiaverini (The Aloha Quilt; etc.) goes back to the Civil War era as the men go off to fight and the women of Elm Creek Valley support the Union troops. While the women struggle with their own problems, updates from the front amplify tensions as the war comes closer to home, leading some to tragedy and others to heartbreaking revelations. Among the many developments, Dorothea sends husband Thomas off to war with her favorite quilt; Constance's husband, Abel, seeks a way to serve a Union that won't enlist him because he's black; Gerda pines for Jonathan, who brings his medical skills to the front; and Gerda's brother, Hans, refuses to fight because he is a pacifist. Chiaverini does a good job balancing the experiences of the women at home and the men on the front, though, oddly, the quilting is all but absent. There's enough exposition to welcome new readers without bogging down the tale, resulting in a reliably heartwarming and accessible story. (Feb.)
The Civil War in Elm Creek
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.