Jennifer Chiaverini is a bestselling New York Times author of historical fiction. She is best known for her “Elm Creek Quilts” series, as well as the quilt patterns based on her books. “Quilt,” “Country Woman,” and “Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks” have all included Chiaverini’s quilt patterns. Her short fiction has appeared in “Quilters Newsletter” and “Quiltmaker.” She earned her master’s degree in English and literature from the University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame.
Her time in Chicago influenced her decision to set two of her novels there. “The Quilter’s Apprentice,” her first novel, was the first in the “Elm Creek Quilts” series. The novels have been praised for their ability to capture the texture of life. It shows black and white, wealthy, and impoverished women during different historical periods.
Chiaverini aspired to be a writer since she read Natalie Babbitt’s “Tuck Everlasting.” The book was recommended to her by her children’s librarian.
The family dynamic is a recurring theme in her novels, both historical and modern. She talks about how the people we care about can be our biggest cause of regret and insecurity and at the same time our greatest source of strength. One of the things she hopes readers gain from her books is a deeper understanding of quilting’s history and heritage.
Jennifer currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband and two children.
Jennifer Chiaverini Books in order
Elm Creek Quilts
- The Quilter’s Apprentice (1999)
- Round Robin (2000)
- The Cross-Country Quilters (2001)
- The Runaway Quilt (2002)
- The Quilter’s Legacy (2003)
- The Master Quilter (2004)
- The Sugar Camp Quilt (2005)
- The Christmas Quilt (2005)
- Circle of Quilters (2006)
- The Quilter’s Homecoming (2007)
- The New Year’s Quilt (2007)
- The Winding Ways Quilt (2008)
- The Quilter’s Kitchen (2008)
- The Lost Quilter (2009)
- A Quilter’s Holiday (2009)
- The Aloha Quilt (2010)
- The Union Quilters (2011)
- The Wedding Quilt (2011)
- Sonoma Rose (2011)
- The Giving Quilt (2012)
- The Christmas Boutique (2019)
- The Quilter’s Ghost (2015)
- The Fabric Diary and The Runner’s Quilt (2016)
- The Spymistress (2013)
- Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker (2013)
- Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival (2014)
- Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule (2015)
- Christmas Bells (2015)
- Fates and Traitors (2016)
- Enchantress of Numbers (2017)
- Resistance Women (2019)
- Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters (2020)
- The Women’s March (2021)
- Marie Benedict‘s The Personal Librarian follows J. P. Morgan’s personal librarian. She was one of the most powerful women in New York despite the secrets she kept.
- Martha Hall Kelly’s Lilac Girls series features Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish adolescent. As she is lured deeper as a courier for the resistance movement, she finds her carefree youth fading.
See also: Mary Alice Monroe Books in Order.
Most recommended books
- The Lost Quilter (Elm Creek Quilts, #14) (4.18 Goodreads score)
- The Runaway Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts, #4) (4.13 Goodreads score)
- The Quilter’s Legacy (Elm Creek Quilts, #5) (4.11 Goodreads score)
- The Sugar Camp Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts, #7) (4.08 Goodreads score)
- Circle of Quilters (Elm Creek Quilts, #9) (4.07 Goodreads score)
Her awards include Fresh Fiction Box Not To Miss, Selection, and The Christmas Boutique.
The next Jennifer Chiaverini book is titled Switchboard Soldiers. The expected publication date is July 19th, 2022. The book takes place during World War II and follows the women of the U.S. Army Signal Corps.
The Quilter’s Apprentice (1999)
When Sarah McClure and her husband, Matt, move to Waterford, Pennsylvania, she hopes to make a fresh start in the small college town. Unable to find a job both practical and fulfilling, she takes a temporary position at Elm Creek Manor helping its reclusive owner Sylvia Compson prepare her family estate for sale and after the death of her estranged sister. Sylvia is also a master quilter and, as part of Sarah’s compensation, offers to share the secrets of her creative gifts with the younger woman. During their lessons, the intricate, varied threads of Sylvia’s life begin to emerge. It is the story of a young wife living through the hardships and agonies of the World War II home front; of a family torn apart by jealousy and betrayal; of misunderstanding, loss, and a tragedy that can never be undone. As the bond between them deepens, Sarah resolves to help Sylvia free herself from remembered sorrows and restore her life—and her home—to its former glory. In the process, she confronts painful truths about her own family, even as she creates new dreams for the future.
Round Robin (2000)
The Elm Creek Quilters have begun a Round Robin quilt, created by sewing concentric patchwork borders to a central block, as a gift for their beloved fellow quilter Sylvia Compson. But even as the quilt is passed from friend to friend, its eloquent beauty increasing with every stitch, the threads of their happiness begin to unravel. As each woman confronts a personal crisis, a painful truth, or a life-changing choice, the quilt serves as a symbol of the complex and enduring bonds between mothers and daughters, sisters and friends.
The Cross-Country Quilters (2001)
These five women arrive at Elm Creek Manor hoping to find in their quilt lessons an escape from the problems they left at home. Julia, an aging starlet, has pinned her hopes to a plum role in a historical epic whose director is under the mistaken impression that Julia already knows how to quilt. Megan is a successful engineer who has won prizes for her miniature quilt designs. The one challenge she has yet to master is single motherhood. Donna, a mother of two, must hasten to teach her daughter independence and self-esteem—lessons she, too, must take to heart. Grace is a renowned curator of antique quilts, whose creative flair is waning for reasons she is unwilling to reveal—even to her closest friends. Vinnie, the senior member of the group, is a sunny soul with a tragic past. Her overwhelming desire is to bring happiness into the lives of those she loves.Although the Cross-Country Quilters share a common creative goal, as the year goes by their bonds are tested by the demands of daily life. But despite differences in age, race, and background, the friends’ love for quilting and affection for one another unite them in a patchwork of caring and acceptance. The quilt they make reminds them of an everlasting truth—friends may be separated by great distance, yet the strength of their bond can transcend any obstacle.
The Runaway Quilt (2002)
Alerted to the possibility that her family had ties to the slaveholding South, Sylvia scours her attic and finds three quilts and a memoir written by Gerda, the spinster sister of clan patriarch Hans Bergstrom. The memoir describes the founding of Elm Creek Manor and how, using quilts as markers, Hans, his wife, Anneke, and Gerda came to beckon fugitive slaves to safety within its walls. When a runaway named Joanna arrives from a South Carolina plantation pregnant with her master’s child, the Bergstroms shelter her through a long, dangerous winter — imagining neither the impact of her presence nor the betrayal that awaits them.The memoir raises new questions for every one it answers, leading Sylvia ever deeper into the tangle of the Bergstrom legacy. Aided by the Elm Creek Quilters, as well as by descendants of others named in Gerda’s tale, Sylvia dares to face the demons of her family’s past and at the same time reaffirm her own moral center.
The Quilter’s Legacy (2003)
When precious heirloom quilts hand-stitched by her mother turn up missing from the attic of Elm Creek Manor, Sylvia Bergstrom Compson resolves to find them. From scant resources—journal entries, receipts, and her own fading memories—she pieces together clues, then queries quilting friends from around the world. When dozens of leads arrive via the Internet, Sylvia and her fiancé embark on a nationwide investigation of antique shops and quilt museums.Sylvia’s quest leads her to unexpected places, where offers of assistance are not always what they seem. As the search continues, revelations surface about her mother, who died when Sylvia was only a child. As Sylvia recovers some of the missing quilts and accepts others as lost forever, she reflects on the woman her mother was, and mourns the woman she never knew. For every woman who has yearned to know the untold story of her mother’s life, and for every mother who has longed to be heard, The Quilter’s Legacy resonates with heartfelt honesty as it reveals what tenuous connections bind the generations, and celebrates the love that sustains them.
The Master Quilter (2004)
The Elm Creek Quilters are as surprised as anyone when their beloved matriarch, Sylvia Bergstrom Compson, marries her sweetheart, Andrew, at a festive holiday gathering at her ancestral home on Christmas Eve. Eager to celebrate the union, her friends decide to create a beautiful wedding quilt to warm the newlyweds’ home and hearts.A secret with such good intentions, they reason, couldn’t possibly do anyone harm. But although the quilting retreat established at Elm Creek Manor is a place where quilters share their creativity, their challenges, and their dreams, somehow in their haste to find a way to honor the wisdom, skill, and devotion of their favorite master quilter, they forget that sometimes secrets drive friends apart instead of drawing them closer. As financial troubles, relationship struggles, and unexpected opportunities beyond Elm Creek Quilt Camp test the bonds of friendship, the quilters must find a way to stitch together more than Sylvia’s Bridal Sampler to make a happy ending.
The Sugar Camp Quilt (2005)
Set in Creek’s Crossing, Pennsylvania, in the years leading up to the Civil War, the novel follows Dorothea Granger’s passage from innocence to wisdom against the harrowing backdrop of the American struggle over slavery. She discovers that a quilt she has stitched for her uncle Jacob with five unusual patterns of his own design contains hidden clues to guide runaway slaves along the Underground Railroad. The heroic journey she undertakes leads to revelations about her own courage and resourcefulness—newfound qualities that may win her the heart of the best man she has ever known.
The Christmas Quilt (2005)
When Christmas Eve comes to Elm Creek Manor, the tenor of the holiday is far from certain. Sylvia Bergstrom Compson, the Master Quilter, has her own reasons for preferring a quiet, even subdued, Christmas. Her young friend Sarah McClure, however, takes the opposite view and decides to deck the halls brightly. As she explores the trunks packed with Bergstrom family decorations that haven’t been touched in more than fifty years, Sarah discovers a curious Christmas quilt. Begun in seasonal fabrics and patterns, the quilt remains unfinished.Sylvia reveals that the handiwork spans several generations and a quartet of Bergstrom quilters—her great aunt, her mother, her sister, and herself. As she examines the array of quilt blocks each family member contributed but never completed, memories of Christmases past emerge.At Elm Creek Manor, Christmas began as a celebration of simple virtues—joy and hope buoyed by the spirit of giving. As each successive generation of Bergstroms lived through its unique trials—the antebellum era, the Great Depression, World War II—tradition offered sustenance even during the most difficult times. For Sylvia, who is coping with the modern problem of family dispersed, estranged, or even forgotten, reconciliation with her personal history may prove as elusive as piecing the Christmas Quilt.
Circle of Quilters (2006)
When Elm Creek Quilts announces openings for two new teachers, quilters everywhere are vying to land the prestigious post. The impending departure of two founding members means untold changes for the Elm Creek Quilters. As they begin the interview process, a single question emerges: Who can possibly take the place of beloved colleagues and friends?”We must evaluate all of the applicants’ qualities,” advises Master Quilter Sylvia Compson. “Our choice will say as much about us as it says about who we decide to hire.” Who merits a place among the circle of quilters? Will it be Maggie, whose love of history shines through in all her projects; Anna, whose food-themed quilts are wonderfully innovative; Russ, the male quilter with a completely original style; Karen, a novice teacher whose gifts for language complement her deep understanding of the quilters’ mission; or Gretchen, the soulful veteran whose craft is inspired by quilting tradition?
The Quilter’s Homecoming (2007)
When young bride Elizabeth Bergstrom Nelson sets off with her husband, Henry, from her family home of Elm Creek Manor in Pennsylvania to start a new life in the unfamiliar terrain of southern California, they are in for quite a surprise.Expecting to assume ownership of Triumph Ranch, the couple instead learns that their deed is a fake, and that they must work for the rightful proprietors to earn their keep.Resourceful Elizabeth trades her trousseau—including the fine quilts stitched by her Bergstrom relatives—for the practical goods the Nelsons need to survive and finds friendship with California native Rosa Diaz Barclay.When Elizabeth discovers a mysterious cache of quilts made by a member of the Diaz family that reveals a misplaced legacy of love, land, and ancestral ties, it becomes clear that only by stitching the rift between the past and the future can the inhabitants of Triumph Ranch hope to live in peace alongside history.
The New Year’s Quilt (2007)
As each holiday season approaches, some revel in welcoming the New Year ahead; others quietly mourn the passing of time gone by. “We can’t hold on to the past,” says Master Quilter Sylvia Compson, “but we can keep the best part of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ in our hearts and in our memories, and we can look forward to the future with hope and resolve.” As Sylvia, a late-in-life newlywed, has discovered, love can enter our lives at any age. Yet before she can truly delight in her present happiness, she must face the sorrow hidden in her past — her own role in the tragic circumstances that left her estranged from her sister, Claudia, until it was too late to make amends. Vowing not to repeat the mistake with her new daughter-in-law, Amy, who opposed Sylvia’s marriage to her father, Andrew, Sylvia must convince Amy that family is more precious than pride. As Sylvia takes up a quilt for the season, begun and abandoned over six years, she recalls the New Year’s Eve festivities of her youth at Elm Creek Manor as a member of the Bergstrom family. She titles the quilt “New Year’s Reflections,” after her belief that year-end reflections precede resolutions. The quilt blocks she chooses commemorate the wisdom that no one can ever be truly alone if she keeps the memory of those she loved and those who loved her alive in her heart.
The Winding Ways Quilt (2008)
Quilters have flocked to Elm Creek Manor to learn from Master Quilter Sylvia Compson and her expert colleagues. There’s Sarah, Sylvia’s onetime apprentice who’s paired her quilting accomplishments with a mind for running the business of Elm Creek Quilts; Agnes, who has a gift for appliqué; Gwen, who stitches innovative art quilts; Diane, a whiz at the technicalities of quick-piecing; and Bonnie, with her encyclopedic knowledge of folk art patterns. But with Judy and Summer, two other founding members of the Elm Creek Quilters, departing to pursue other opportunities, will the new teachers be able to fill in the gaps created by the loss of their expertise—and more important, their friendship?”When I think of all the different paths I could have followed in my life, all the twists and turns that could have led me anywhere,” muses incoming teacher Gretchen, “it’s something of a miracle that I ended up here, surrounded by loving friends.”But what of friends departed? As Sylvia contemplates a tribute to the partnership of the Elm Creek Quilters, she is reminded of a traditional quilt pattern whose curved pieces symbolize a journey. Winding Ways, a mosaic of overlapping circles and intertwining curves, would capture the spirit of their friendship at the moment of its transformation.
The Quilter’s Kitchen (2008)
Anna Del Maso had known that she wanted to be a chef since she was in the seventh grade. “Somehow everything in my life ends up being about food,” she realizes, as she begins the latest of her food-themed quilts. Her twin passions have converged in a brand-new position as head chef for Elm Creek Quilts, Waterford, Pennsylvania’s popular quilting retreat.As she joins the circle of quilters at historic Elm Creek Manor, Anna is eager to preserve the manor’s culinary heritage, dating to 1858, while also celebrating the new favorites of their many guests. Yet as Master Quilter Sylvia Bergstrom Compson well knows, the manor’s kitchen, last updated in the 1940s, can’t create food that compares to the state-of-the-art quilting instruction for which Elm Creek Quilts is renowned.A full renovation of the kitchen must be completed by the start of the new camp season. Though the task is daunting, Anna is assured in her belief that “A kitchen is the heart of a home.” As she and Sylvia begin to dismantle the old to make way for the new, Sylvia’s reminiscences remind them both of just how many of the manor’s traditions have involved food and celebrations. Whether the feast is one of the holiday menus prepared and enjoyed by generations of Bergstroms, or one of the Welcome Banquets and Farewell Breakfasts that have become hallmarks of Elm Creek Quilt Camp, there is a story for every recipe, and a recipe for every story.
The Lost Quilter (2009)
That quilter was Joanna, a fugitive slave who traveled by the Underground Railroad to reach safe haven in 1859 at Elm Creek Farm.Though Joanna’s freedom proved short-lived — she was forcibly returned by slave catchers to Josiah Chester’s plantation in Virginia — she left the Bergstrom family a most precious gift, her son. Hans and Anneke Bergstrom, along with maiden aunt Gerda, raised the boy as their own, and the secret of his identity died with their generation. Now it falls to Sylvia — drawing upon Gerda’s diary and Joanna’s quilt — to connect Joanna’s past to present-day Elm Creek Manor.Just as Joanna could not have foreseen that, generations later, her quilt would become the subject of so much speculation and wonder, Sylvia and her friends never could have imagined the events Joanna witnessed in her lifetime. Punished for her escape by being sold off to her master’s brother in Edisto Island, South Carolina, Joanna grieves over the loss of her son and resolves to run again, to reunite with him someday in the free North. Farther south than she has ever been, she nevertheless finds allies, friends, and even love in the slave quarter of Oak Grove, a cotton plantation where her skill with needle and thread soon becomes highly prized.Through hardship and deprivation, Joanna dreams of freedom and returning to Elm Creek Farm. Determined to remember each landmark on the route north, Joanna pieces a quilt of scraps left over from the household sewing, concealing clues within the meticulous stitches. Later, in service as a seamstress to the new bride of a Confederate officer, Joanna moves on to Charleston, where secrets she keeps will affect the fate of a nation, and her abilities and courage enable her to aid the country and the people she loves most.The knowledge that scraps can be pieced and sewn into simple lines — beautiful both in and of themselves and also for what they represent and what they can accomplish — carries Joanna through dark days. Sustaining herself and her family through ingenuity and art during the Civil War and into Reconstruction, Joanna leaves behind a remarkable artistic legacy that, at last, allows Sylvia to discover the fate of the long-lost quilter.
A Quilter’s Holiday (2009)
For the Elm Creek Quilters, the day after Thanksgiving marks the start of the quilting season, a time to gather at Elm Creek Manor and spend the day stitching holiday gifts for loved ones. This year, in keeping with the season’s spirit of gratitude, Master Quilter Sylvia Bergstrom Compson Cooper is eager to revive a cherished family tradition. A recent remodeling of the manor’s kitchen unearthed a cornucopia that once served as the centerpiece of the Bergstrom family’s holiday table. Into it, each Bergstrom would place an object that symbolized something he or she was especially thankful for that year. On this quilter’s holiday, Sylvia has invited her friends to continue the tradition by sewing quilt blocks that represent their thankfulness and gratitude.As each quilter explains the significance of her carefully chosen block, stories of love and longing for family and friends emerge—feelings that are also expressed in the gifts they work on throughout the day.As an early winter storm blankets Elm Creek Manor in heavy snow, the quilters find new meanings in their best-loved traditions and new reasons to be thankful. A Quilter’s Holiday is a story of holiday spirit, in its truest, most generous sense.
The Aloha Quilt (2010)
A welcome escape comes when Claire, a beloved college friend, unexpectedly invites her to Maui to help launch an exciting new business: a quilter’s retreat set at a bed and breakfast amid the vibrant colors and balmy breezes of the Hawaiian Islands. Soon Bonnie finds herself looking out on sparkling waters and banyan trees, planning quilting courses, and learning the history and intricacies of Hawaiian quilting, all the while helping Claire run the inn.As Bonnie’s adventure unfolds, it quickly becomes clear that Claire’s new business isn’t the only excitement in store for her. Her cheating, soon-to-be ex-husband decides he wants her stake in Elm Creek Quilts, which threatens not only her financial well-being but her dearest friendships as well. Luckily she has the artistic challenge of creating her own unique Hawaiian quilt pattern to distract her—and new friends like Hinano Paoa, owner of the Nä Mele Hawai‘i Music Shop, who introduces Bonnie to the fascinating traditions of Hawaiian culture and reminds her that love can be found when and where you least expect it.
The Union Quilters (2011)
In 1862, the men of Water’s Ford, Pennsylvania, rally to President Lincoln’s call while Dorothea Granger marshals her friends to “wield their needles for the Union.” Meanwhile, Anneke Bergstrom hides the shame she feels for her husband’s pacifism; gifted writer Gerda Bergstrom takes on local Southern sympathizers in the pages of the Water’s Ford Register; and Constance Wright struggles to help her husband gain entry to the Union Army-despite the color of his skin. As the women work, hope, and pray, the men they love confront loneliness, boredom, and danger on the battlefield. But the women of the sewing circle also forge a new independence that will forever alter the patchwork of life in the Elm Creek Valley.
The Wedding Quilt (2011)
Sarah McClure arrived at Elm Creek Manor as a newlywed, never suspecting that her quilting lessons with master quilter Sylvia Bergstrom Compson would inspire the successful and enduring business Elm Creek Quilts, whose members have nurtured a circle of friendship spanning generations.The Wedding Quilt opens as the wedding day of Sarah’s daughter Caroline approaches. As Sarah has learned, a union celebrates not only the betrothed couple’s passage into wedlock, but also the contributions of those who have made the bride and groom the unique people they are. Thus Sarah’s thoughts are filled with brides of Elm Creek Manor past and present-the traditions they honored, the legacies they bequeathed, and the wedding quilts that contain their stories in every stitch.A wedding quilt is a powerful metaphor: of sisterhood, of community, of hope for the future. The blocks in Caroline’s wedding quilt will display the signatures of beloved guests. As the Elm Creek Quilters circulate amid the festive preparations with pens and fabric in hand, memories of the Manor-and of the women who have lived there, in happiness and in sorrow-spill forth, rendering a vivid pastiche of family, friendship, and love in all its varieties.
Sonoma Rose (2011)
As the nation grapples with the strictures of Prohibition, Rosa Barclay lives on a Southern California rye farm with her volatile husband, John, who has lately found another source of income far outside the federal purview.Mother to eight children, Rosa mourns the loss of four who succumbed to the mysterious wasting disease that is now afflicting young Ana and Miguel. Two daughters born of another father are in perfect health. When an act of violence shatters Rosa’s resolve to maintain her increasingly dangerous existence, she flees with the children and her precious heirloom quilts to the mesa where she last saw her beloved mother alive.As a flash flood traps them in a treacherous canyon, only one man is brave-or foolhardy-enough to come to their rescue: Lars Jorgenson, Rosa’s first love and the father of her healthy daughters. Together they escape to Berkeley, where a leading specialist offers their only hope of saving Ana and Miguel. Here in northern California, they create new identities to protect themselves from Rosa’s vengeful husband, the police who seek her for questioning, and the gangsters Lars reported to Prohibition agents-officers representing a department often as corrupt as the Mob itself. Ever mindful that his youthful alcoholism provoked Rosa to spurn him, Lars nevertheless supports Rosa’s daring plan to stake their futures on a struggling Sonoma Valley vineyard-despite the recent hardships of local winemakers whose honest labors at viticulture have, through no fault of their own, become illegal.
The Giving Quilt (2012)
At Elm Creek Manor, the week after Thanksgiving is “Quiltsgiving,” a time to commence a season of generosity. From near and far, quilters and aspiring quilters—a librarian, a teacher, a college student, and a quilt-shop clerk among them—gather for a special winter session of quilt camp, to make quilts for Project Linus. (In real life, Chiaverini has long been active in this charitable organization, dedicated to providing handmade quilts and blankets to children in need.)Each quilter, ever mindful that many of her neighbors, friends, and family members are struggling through difficult times, uses her creative gifts to alleviate their collective burden. As the week unfolds, the quilters respond to Sylvia’s provocative question in ways as varied as the life experiences that drew them to Elm Creek Manor. Love and comfort are sewn into the warm, bright, beautiful quilts they stitch, and their stories collectively consider the strength of human connection and its rich rewards.Featuring not only well-loved characters but also intriguing newcomers, The Giving Quilt will remind us all: Giving from the heart blesses the giver as much as the recipient, and while giving may not always be easy, it is always worthwhile.
The Christmas Boutique (2019)
Just weeks before Christmas, severe wintry weather damages the church hall hosting the Christmas Boutique—an annual sale of handcrafted gifts and baked goods that supports the county food pantry. Determined to save the fundraiser, Sylvia Bergstrom Compson offers to hold the event at Elm Creek Manor, her ancestral family estate and summertime home to Elm Creek Quilt Camp.In the spirit of the season, Sylvia and the Elm Creek Quilters begin setting up market booths in the ballroom and decking the halls with beautiful hand-made holiday quilts. Each of the quilters chooses a favorite quilt to display, a special creation evoking memories of holidays past and dreams of Christmases yet to come. Sarah, a first-time mother expecting twins, worries if she can handle raising two babies, especially with her husband so often away on business. Cheerful, white-haired Agnes reflects upon a beautiful appliqué quilt she made as a young bride and the mysterious, long-lost antique quilt that inspired it. Empty nesters and occasional rivals Gwen and Diane contemplate family heirlooms and unfinished projects as they look forward to having their children home again for the holidays.But while the Elm Creek Quilters work tirelessly to make sure the Christmas Boutique happens, it may take a holiday miracle or two to make it the smashing success they want it to be.
The Quilter’s Ghost (2015)
On a brisk and blustery Halloween night, Sylvia and the Elm Creek Quilters gather at Elm Creek Manor, where Sylvia’s sister-in-law, Agnes, shares an unsettling story from Bergstrom family history, a mystery that defies logical explanation. Could it be that the gray stone walls of Elm Creek Manor shelter the restless spirit of one of Sylvia’s ancestors?
The Fabric Diary and The Runner’s Quilt (2016)
Jennifer Chiaverini. In “The Fabric Diary,” the new owner of a Manhattan bed-and-breakfast discovers a mysterious scrapbook of fabric swatches, compelling her to discover the connection between a beautiful antique quilt and the original owners of her historic brownstone. “The Runner’s Quilt” tells the heartwarming story of a young mother who discovers fitness and fulfillment by becoming a runner—and by making a special quilt for a new friend.
The Spymistress (2013)
Born to slave-holding aristocracy in Richmond, Virginia, and educated by Northern Quakers, Elizabeth Van Lew was a paradox of her time. When her native state seceded in April 1861, Van Lew’s convictions compelled her to defy the new Confederate regime. Pledging her loyalty to the Lincoln White House, her courage would never waver, even as her wartime actions threatened not only her reputation, but also her life.Van Lew’s skills in gathering military intelligence were unparalleled. She helped to construct the Richmond Underground and orchestrated escapes from the infamous Confederate Libby Prison under the guise of humanitarian aid. Her spy ring’s reach was vast, from clerks in the Confederate War and Navy Departments to the very home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.Although Van Lew was inducted posthumously into the Military Intelligence Hall of Fame, the astonishing scope of her achievements has never been widely known. In Chiaverini’s riveting tale of high-stakes espionage, a great heroine of the Civil War finally gets her due.
Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker (2013)
In a life that spanned nearly a century and witnessed some of the most momentous events in American history, Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley was born a slave. A gifted seamstress, she earned her freedom by the skill of her needle, and won the friendship of First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln by her devotion.A sweeping historical novel, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker illuminates the extraordinary relationship the two women shared, beginning in the hallowed halls of the White House during the trials of the Civil War and enduring almost, but not quite, to the end of Mrs. Lincoln’s days.
Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival (2014)
Beautiful, intelligent, regal, and entrancing, young Kate Chase Sprague stepped into the role of establishing her thrice-widowed father, Salmon P. Chase, in Washington society as a Lincoln cabinet member and as a future presidential candidate. For her efforts, The Washington Star declared her “the most brilliant woman of her day. None outshone her.”None, that is, but Mary Todd Lincoln. Though Mrs. Lincoln and her young rival held much in common—political acumen, love of country, and a resolute determination to help the men they loved achieve greatness—they could never be friends, for the success of one could come only at the expense of the other…
Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule (2015)
In 1844, Missouri belle Julia Dent met dazzling horseman Lieutenant Ulysses S Grant. Four years passed before their parents permitted them to wed, and the groom’s abolitionist family refused to attend the ceremony.Since childhood, Julia owned as a slave another Julia, known as Jule. Jule guarded her mistress’s closely held twin secrets: She had perilously poor vision but was gifted with prophetic sight. So it was that Jule became Julia’s eyes to the world.And what a world it was, marked by gathering clouds of war. The Grants vowed never to be separated, but as Ulysses rose through the ranks—becoming general in chief of the Union Army—so did the stakes of their pact. During the war, Julia would travel, often in the company of Jule and the four Grant children, facing unreliable transportation and certain danger to be at her husband’s side.Yet Julia and Jule saw two different wars. While Julia spoke out for women—Union and Confederate—she continued to hold Jule as a slave behind Union lines. Upon the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Jule claimed her freedom and rose to prominence as a businesswoman in her own right, taking the honorary title Madame. The two women’s paths continued to cross throughout the Grants’ White House years in Washington, DC, and later in New York City, the site of Grant’s Tomb.
Christmas Bells (2015)
In 1860, the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow family celebrated Christmas at Craigie House, their home in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The publication of Longfellow’s classic Revolutionary War poem, “Paul Revere’s Ride,” was less than a month hence, and the country’s grave political unrest weighed heavily on his mind. Yet with his beloved wife, Fanny, and their five adored children at his side, the delights of the season prevailed.In present-day Boston, a dedicated teacher in the Watertown public school system is stunned by somber holiday tidings. Sophia’s music program has been sacrificed to budget cuts, and she worries not only about her impending unemployment but also about the consequences to her underprivileged students. At the church where she volunteers as music director, Sophia tries to forget her cares as she leads the children’s choir in rehearsal for a Christmas Eve concert. Inspired to honor a local artist, Sophia has chosen a carol set to a poem by Longfellow, moved by the glorious words he penned one Christmas Day long ago, even as he suffered great loss.
Fates and Traitors (2016)
John Wilkes Booth, the mercurial son of an acclaimed British stage actor and a Covent Garden flower girl, committed one of the most notorious acts in American history—the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. The subject of more than a century of scholarship, speculation, and even obsession, Booth is often portrayed as a shadowy figure, a violent loner whose single murderous act made him the most hated man in America. Lost to history until now is the story of the four women whom he loved and who loved him in return: Mary Ann, the steadfast matriarch of the Booth family; Asia, his loyal sister and confidante; Lucy Lambert Hale, the senator’s daughter who adored Booth yet tragically misunderstood the intensity of his wrath; and Mary Surratt, the Confederate widow entrusted with the secrets of his vengeful plot.
Enchantress of Numbers (2017)
The only legitimate child of Lord Byron, the most brilliant, revered, and scandalous of the Romantic poets, Ada was destined for fame long before her birth. But her mathematician mother, estranged from Ada’s infamous and destructively passionate father, is determined to save her only child from her perilous Byron heritage. Banishing fairy tales and make-believe from the nursery, Ada’s mother provides her daughter with a rigorous education grounded in mathematics and science. Any troubling spark of imagination—or worse yet, passion or poetry—is promptly extinguished. Or so her mother believes. When Ada is introduced into London society as a highly eligible young heiress, she at last discovers the intellectual and social circles she has craved all her life. Little does she realize how her exciting new friendship with Charles Babbage—the brilliant, charming, and occasionally curmudgeonly inventor of an extraordinary machine, the Difference Engine—will define her destiny.
Resistance Women (2019)
After Wisconsin graduate student Mildred Fish marries brilliant German economist Arvid Harnack, she accompanies him to his German homeland, where a promising future awaits. In the thriving intellectual culture of 1930s Berlin, the newlyweds create a rich new life filled with love, friendships, and rewarding work—but the rise of a malevolent new political faction inexorably changes their fate.As Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Party wield violence and lies to seize power, Mildred, Arvid, and their friends resolve to resist. Mildred gathers intelligence for her American contacts, including Martha Dodd, the vivacious and very modern daughter of the US ambassador. Her German friends, aspiring author Greta Kuckoff and literature student Sara Weitz, risk their lives to collect information from journalists, military officers, and officials within the highest levels of the Nazi regime.For years, Mildred’s network stealthily fights to bring down the Third Reich from within. But when Nazi radio operatives detect an errant Russian signal, the Harnack resistance cell is exposed, with fatal consequences.
Mrs. Lincoln’s Sisters (2020)
In May 1875, Elizabeth Todd Edwards reels from news that her younger sister Mary, former First Lady and widow of President Abraham Lincoln, has attempted suicide. Mary’s shocking act followed legal proceedings arranged by her eldest and only surviving son that declared her legally insane. Although they have long been estranged, Elizabeth knows Mary’s tenuous mental health has deteriorated through decades of trauma and loss. Yet is her suicide attempt truly the impulse of a deranged mind, or the desperate act of a sane woman terrified to be committed to an asylum? And—if her sisters can put past grievances aside—is their love powerful enough to save her? Maternal Elizabeth, peacemaker Frances, envious Ann, and much adored Emilie had always turned to one another in times of joy and heartache, first as children, and later as young wives and mothers. But when Civil War erupted, the conflict that divided a nation shattered their family. The Todd sisters’s fates were bound to their husbands’ choices as some joined the Lincoln administration, others the Confederate Army.Now, though discord and tragedy have strained their bonds, Elizabeth knows they must come together as sisters to help Mary in her most desperate hour.
The Women’s March (2021)
Twenty-five-year-old Alice Paul returns to her native New Jersey after several years on the front lines of the suffrage movement in Great Britain. Weakened from imprisonment and hunger strikes, she is nevertheless determined to invigorate the stagnant suffrage movement in her homeland. Nine states have already granted women voting rights, but only a constitutional amendment will secure the vote for all.To inspire support for the campaign, Alice organizes a magnificent procession down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC, the day before the inauguration of President-elect Woodrow Wilson, a firm antisuffragist.Joining the march is thirty-nine-year-old New Yorker Maud Malone, librarian and advocate for women’s and workers’ rights. The daughter of Irish immigrants, Maud has acquired a reputation—and a criminal record—for interrupting politicians’ speeches with pointed questions they’d rather ignore.Civil rights activist and journalist Ida B. Wells-Barnett resolves that women of color must also be included in the march—and the proposed amendment. Born into slavery in Mississippi, Ida worries that white suffragists may exclude Black women if it serves their own interests.On March 3, 1913, the glorious march commences, but negligent police allow vast crowds of belligerent men to block the parade route—jeering, shouting threats, assaulting the marchers—endangering not only the success of the demonstration but the women’s very lives.
Return to Elm Creek (2004)
Get reacquainted with your favorite characters from the Elm Creek Quilts series while browsing through a dozen brand-new quilts designed by best-selling author Jennifer Chiaverini.
More Elm Creek Quilts (2008)
11 timeless quilts inspired by the author’s best-selling novels, with more than 30 blocks and favorite character sketches. Read about your favorite Elm Creek Quilts novels The Sugar Camp Quilt, Circle of Quilters, The Quilter’s Homecoming, and The New Year’s Quilt. Complete instructions and full-sized patterns for each quilt, plus a chapter on quilting basics.