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The Union Quilters
Jennifer Chiaverini
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The Union Quilters (Elm Creek Quilts #17)

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  2,131 ratings  ·  374 reviews
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.
594 pages
Published 2011 by Dutton
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Bonnie (Words at Home Blog)
Right away The Union Quilters struck me as more of a stand alone historical fiction novel then an Elm Creek Quilts novel. Since I love historical fiction this is just fine (and lovely, and perfect) by me! If anything I would compare this book to The Sugar Camp Quilt by Chiaverini (hands down my favourite book in the series) as it wasn’t quite as light as the other Elm Creek Quilts books. The actual quilting theme was secondary in this novel and I found that the story really was focused upon the ...more
May 04, 2011 Joanna rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of historical fiction particularly the Civil War era
This is definitely one of the better Elm Creek Quilters books although totally set in the past with no mention of Sylvia, Sarah and the other present day quilters.

I have read some of the other reviewers who thought that the descriptions of the battles, conditions in the field hospitals and other aspects of the war were too harshly portrayed. Not at all. Compared to what it probably really was like this was portrayed as a cake walk. Abraham Lincoln remarks, "If there is a place worse than hell,
I listened to the talking book from the New Mexico Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. I'm so blessed by this program. I've always enjoyed books by this author and was delighted by this one as well. The characters are rich and aptly depicted. The history lesson was excellent. It is set during the Civil War. As I listened my husband often remarked how realistic this was. The center of the story is the ladies of the sewing circle and their families and friends. As always I look forwa ...more
Laura Ballard
When I am in the mood for something fast and easy, I love to catch up on the Elm Creek Quilts series. THis one was great in that I had just ready another Civil War story. Someday I will learn to quilt .....
In 1862 Water’s Ford, Pennsylvania is a busy place. Most of the men are off to war to fight for the Union. The woman are rallying to support the cause. They are holding fundraisers, sending bandages, food and supplies. They are using their needles to make quilts to send to hospitals. The also create a very special quilt that will reach out well beyond Water’s Ford.

Gerda Bergstrom takes on Southern sympathizers in the pages of the local newspaper. Anneke Bergstrom deals with her husband pacifist
Ariel Uppstrom
I've been on a Civil War kick and thought this would fit right in. The story followed a few members of quilting circle and their husbands and family during the Civil War. This unique group of women felt empowered to help the men of their down when the joined up by sewing quilts, knitting socks, and participating in fundraisers. Eventually, their endeavors led them to create a hall that they were able to maintain in their own name instead of it being overtaken by the all male town council. One of ...more
Mollie Matusick
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Handicrafts are great. Sadly they are becoming lost arts and people move to things like digital design. But I am one of the people keeping them alive by practicing them. Another way that they are being kept alive is by the serge of popular novels that center around knitting clubs and quilters. We've all spotted them in book stores and at libraries and I've been reading a few that have been catching my eye. Most of them are light and fluffy, like Harlequin but if you trade sex for needlework. And ...more
This is the only book in the Elm Creek series that I haven't especially liked. It was confusing to start out since it had been awhile since I had read any of the other books that were about Gerda, Hans and Anneka so I had a hard time remembering who all the other characters were. There was also a ton of information about the Civil War. It was interesting to read some of the very vivid details but I just wasn't expecting this to read so much like a history book. I also found myself really disliki ...more
In this book The Union Quilters by Jennifer Chiaverini, the author gives a perspective of the Civil War from the perspective of a group of women and their menfolk, all residents of the small community of Water's Ford, Pennsylvania. Although the accounts of experiences in battles and imprisonment are interesting, I found the author's depiction of hte individual experiences fascinating. She describes through the experiences of a black man and his family the obstacles and prejudices that freeborn b ...more
As a quilter I have enjoyed Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilters novels which revolve around a group of women who are drawn to each other because of their love of quilting and willingness to help others with quilting and with life’s challenges. The books are set in beautiful rural Pennsylvania and the original books sometimes refer to the history of the area. Along the way Jennifer Chiaverini spends more time writing about quilters in the past rather than the original group of women. The Uni ...more
This book had me poking my Civil War-buff husband constantly, asking him if the details, settings and attitudes *really* happened. Although I am just as much of a history nut as he is, his grasp of this era is beyond me. So he was surprised at how this "fiction" novel could set up these real events without making them seem just convenient plot devices--a criticism that generally steers him away from historical fiction in general, and makes *me* wish I'd just read a good nonfiction treatment of t ...more
I'm sorry but this story is just not that interesting. I thought I would enjoy it because I am a quilter. But it seems more geared to a civil war history buff. There were so many dates mentioned and news type information rather than story line.
I had to read the first chapter twice to get all the characters straight in my head. There were more than a dozen adult characters mentioned in the first chapter and then the children. It was just too much.
I also felt that the character, Gerda is unlike
Jennifer Chiaverini is definitely moving onto new ground - exploring different characters - Sylvia Compton's progenitors, back at the time of the Civil War. I like character studies and usually find myself very drawn to her characters. However, this book spends way too much time discussing military strategy and gives you plenty of potent images of the horror of war. And for the first time ever in Chiaverini's books, I didn't find her characters very likable. They were certainly flawed in pretty ...more
Carol S.
If you love quilting as much as I do, you will love reading Jennifer Chiaverini's Elm Creek Quilt Series of novels. I've read most of her books and enjoyed them all. The Union Quilters is a second story focused on the Civil War. The first of this historical time period is "The Runaway Quilt". While the women work, hope, and pray at home, the men they love confront loneliness, boredom, and harrowing danger on the bloody battlefields of Virginia ad Pennsylvania. Anxious for news the women share pr ...more
I decided to read this book because I like the Elm Creek Quilts series. And most of the time, I prefer if the story sticks more to quilting than this one did. Also, I have never enjoyed anything about the Civil War time period. I don't like reading about it in fiction or non-fiction and, except for Gone with the Wind, don't like movies about it. This book, while not enough to overcome a lifetime aversion, was the first book about this time period I have enjoyed. It brought home how much people s ...more
Though I have read a few other books written by this author, I was very dissapointed with this one. As the sequal book to "The Sugar Camp Quilt", I was looking forward to the continuation of the story. However, not only did she she sort of switch main characters and skip about 12 years forward from the last book, but the content was more mature than my preference; a short but ill-liked marital scenaro, and a slave child posed as an illegitement child fathered by a married man and the brother of ...more
Ann Amadori
I really liked parts of this story but some of the military parts seemed to drag. The one thing that annoyed me was the continual description of Jonathan's integrity. I did not find his treatment of his wife and Gerda honorable at all.
This book in the series focuses on the civil war and the way it affects the various people in Water's Ford (as Creek Crossing has been re-baptized to try to obscure a scandal). The theme is hardly one for levity, and indeed, this book is quite harsh at times. The stubbornness of the various characters in the story, which allows them to carry on but also to continue foolishly on the wrong course at times, makes them very human, even if they are not always very endearing. The insight into the war ...more
Another great historical installment of the Elm Creek Quilters series.
I am reading this aloud for a listening service (radio).
This book is a continuation of the mini-series in the collection of the Elm Creek Quilts (#4, #7, #14).
This story is told from the point of view of the women who sent men off to fight for the Union in the Civil War. The heartache, the loneliness and the constant fear of what's to come was really brought to life. But this was not a depressing book. It was amazing to read how much these women supported each other and loved each other. It's also a great book about how much can be accomplished when
Jodie Toohey
The story provided a good history lesson of the Civil War. I enjoyed the letters that arrived home to the Elm Creek Valley from the enlisted men, although they got a bit a long at times. The story contains many characters and it took many pages before I could learn who they were enough to keep them straight.

Other than the typical plot lines one would expect to find in a book covering the Civil War of who lived and who died, the book contained additional intriguing plot twists. The story seemed
Alright, I have to say that although this book was reasonably well written, it was not even close to being one of the enjoyable ones of the Elm Creek Quilts series. No worries, if you haven't read the other ones this one won't be too hard to read, it diverges from the others more than any other of the books and would be easy to read on its own, with only a few little details being missed.

The Civil War is upon them and Anneke, Gerda, and the other ladies must watch as those they love enlist and j
Finally finished! So much of this book is dry as dust. Reads like a recitation on the civil war; too much "tell me" with not enough "show me" especially with the characters. I really only found a few paragraphs where I could tell what the character was truly feeling.

"But she could not overcome the dull lethargy that had settled upon her in the wake of -- death. (avoiding a spoiler) She could not bear to hear again how her husband was a hero, that he had died for a noble cause, and that her own s
This book is labled as part of the Elm Creek Quilt series, but can be read as a stand alone.
The story takes place during the Civil War. The lives of the soliders during the battles, the wives who are home running the farms and raising money to help out the 49th Pennsylvania Volunteers and the 6th United States Colored Troop. The woman, known as the Union Quilters, build a community center in town, make quilts and knit articles for the men they love and other soliders. How the women handle the ne
One of the reasons I love Chiaverini's books so much is that she infuses history into a stellar plot line. Her characters are the pulse of the story. Having said that, I think "The Union Quilt" lost that element of her writing. Since Chiaverini does not write chronologically, it's been quite some time since we have seen these particular characters in her books. She spent very little time reminding us of who these characters were that I had a hard time following in the beginning. Plus, I don't th ...more
I haven't received my copy yet, just received notice I had won. 03/15/12
Received my copy last night and so excited to get started. will have to wait a bit though, I have 11 plus my current read in front. 3/22/12
Started 5/6/12
Finished 5/8/12

The Civil War has started and the Union army is asking for volunteers. The small community of Elm Creek is preparing to send away some of their men to fight. There are some that go willingly, others that want to serve but aren't allowed because they are colore
This is the 17th book in the series and is a historical novel, set at the time of the beginning of the Civil War. While the community is primarily in support of the war, there are some divisions. Free men of color are refused from the call up to arms, and this frustrates Abel, although his wife, Constance, is glad that he is there to support and protect his family. Anneke struggles with her husband's pacifism and is embarrassed that they may be seen as supporters of the rebels. As the men leave ...more
Christine Rebbert
This is the latest in this series that I've been following for a long time. It's set in the past, Civil War times, and deals with how the ancestors of the present-day Elm Creek Quilters supported each other and their loved ones fighting in the war. Chiaverini has clearly done a LOT of research -- my husband is a big Civil War buff and could confirm little details like where Lincoln had lunch on the day of the Gettysburg address, etc. -- and I have suggested to him that he might even like to read ...more
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Jennifer Chiaverini is the author of ten Elm Creek Quilts novels and An Elm Creek Quilts Sampler and An Elm Creek Quilts Album, as well as Elm Creek Quilts and Return to Elm Creek, two collections of quilt projects inspired by the series, and is the designer of the Elm Creek Quilts fabric lines from Red Rooster fabrics. She lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin.
More about Jennifer Chiaverini...

Other Books in the Series

Elm Creek Quilts (1 - 10 of 20 books)
  • The Quilter's Apprentice (Elm Creek Quilts, #1)
  • Round Robin (Elm Creek Quilts, #2)
  • The Cross-Country Quilters (Elm Creek Quilts, #3)
  • The Runaway Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts, #4)
  • The Quilter's Legacy (Elm Creek Quilts, #5)
  • The Master Quilter (Elm Creek Quilts, #6)
  • The Sugar Camp Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts, #7)
  • The Christmas Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts, #8)
  • Circle of Quilters (Elm Creek Quilts, #9)
  • The Quilter's Homecoming (Elm Creek Quilts, #10)
Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker The Quilter's Apprentice (Elm Creek Quilts, #1) The Runaway Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts, #4) The Quilter's Legacy (Elm Creek Quilts, #5) Round Robin (Elm Creek Quilts, #2)

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