The Union Quilters – A Beautiful Look at History!
This author let’s just say, ‘had me at hello’ a very long time ago. The Civil War being my favorite time of American history, the romantic and enticing way that Jennifer tells her tales, hooked me immediately. (Especially with The Wedding Quilt. For anyone who has not read that, go read that right now!)
The best-selling ‘Elm Creek Quilts’ series has gone from the Civil War to the ‘Roaring 20s’ to contemporary settings, and with each one the reader is offered novels of suspense, romance and ‘extra‘ fodder that delves into the world of social, political and cultural differences that helped shape a nation.
In this latest ‘gift,’ we stand beside Dorothea Granger, the beloved wife of Thomas, as she stands in her kitchen swallowing her tears. She is watching her soul mate readying himself to cross Pennsylvania in order to enlist in the Union army in 1861.
This is one of those strong, courageous women who is actually a leader in her small town. From helping and supporting her neighbors and leading the sewing circle, she even opens her home as a station on the Underground Railroad. But losing her husband to his courage and loyalty is something that crushes her very soul.
Also in elm Creek is Constance Wright. She, too, watches her soul mate, Abel, pack his thing to join the men on their march into battle. This, however, is a much scarier situation, seeing as that Abel is African American, and the Union has yet to let men of color wear the blue uniform and stand up for their God-given rights.
There are others within the town with their own attitudes and issues. Gerda Bergstrom, for one, is a slightly bitter woman who’s in love with a man she can never have. Her sister is dealing with a husband who believes that you should never kill your fellow man so has decided to deal with the wrath of his town and sticks to his guns – refusing to join his neighbors in the fight for freedom.
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 men who are risking their lives out there in the world; to the in-depth looks at the frightening battles and intense prejudice that existed in a world teetering on the cusp of freedom, every single moment of this story is truly unforgettable.
This author has once again written a compellingly beautiful book. Her power and skill with words literally makes it so that the reader hears the hollow echo of the fife and drum as their nation becomes united. (Penguin/Plume; ISBN: 978-0-452-29760-9)
Until Next Time,