"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 . . . Truly unforgettable." –BookPage
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.
About The Union Quilters
The New York Times bestselling author of the Elm Creek Quilts series joins the Dutton list with a Civil War-era tale of love and sacrifice behind Union lines.
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.
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"Jennifer Chiaverini’s strength is not only writing strong female characters, but also placing them in interesting lives and times." — New York Journal of Books
"Fascinating . . . We seldom think beyond the battles and the generals, but the story of the home [front] is a compelling one. Although we might know how the big picture turned out, the individual stories presented here are rivetingly new." — Romantic Times