Saturday, August 20, 2011

Review: The Union Quilters by Jennnifer Chiaverini

  The Union Quilters
(Elm Creek Quilts Book #17)
Author:  Jennifer Chiaverini
Genre:  Historical Fiction, Fiction
Published:  February 2011
ISBN:  0525952039  
Publisher:  Dutton Adult
Source:  Purchased


With The Union Quilters, 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. Constance Wright, married to Abel, a skilled sharpshooter courageous enough to have ventured south to buy his wife's freedom from a Virginia plantation, knows well her husband's certainty that all people, enslaved and free, North and South, need colored men like him to fight for a greater purpose. Sisters-in-law Dorothea Nelson and Charlotte Granger wish safe passage for their learned husbands. Schoolmaster turned farmer Thomas carries Dorothea's Dove in the Window quilt with him. Charlotte's husband, Dr. Jonathan Granger, takes more than a doctor's bag to his post at a field hospital. Alongside the devotion of his wife, pregnant with their second child, Jonathan brings the promise he made to his unrequited love, Gerda Bergstrom: "My first letter will be to you."

Together with the other members of the circle, the women support one another through loneliness and fear, and devise an ingenious business plan to keep Water's Ford functioning. That plan may forever alter the patchwork of town life in ways that transcend even the ultimate sacrifices of war.
I am a huge fan of the Elm Creek Quilts books and I loved this book!  Although this one doesn't fall into the same category as the majority of the series is set in modern day Pennsylvania, this is set during the Civil War era.

We meet many characters that have been introduced in many of the other stories - The Grangers, The Nelsons and the Bergstrom family.  With this story, these characters take centre stage, rather then a backseat to the modern day characters.

"Union Quilters" a group of women who help raise money to build a community centre and send badly needed to supplies to their troops.  Through out the story, we get glimpses of letters from husbands and wives back and forth during the war.

While this probably isn't one of my favorite books in the Quilter's series it wasn't my least favorite either.  I enjoyed reading more about the Bergstroms and how their lives were affected by the Civil War.  How they participated in the Underground Railroad and used their skills to bring in money for the community.

This would be one I would recommend to those who enjoy Historical Fiction - or quilting related stories.


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