Published September 2013 by Penguin Group
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for this review
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.
|Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley|
The book is well researched and I enjoyed the inside look at life in the White House during the Civil War and the Lincoln family. Mary Todd Lincoln was a complex woman and Chiaverini does an excellent job making her much more than the caricature she so often comes off as. The political backdrop of the story is well done as is Chiaverini's portrayal of life in Washington City for the slaves flooding into the city following the Emancipation Proclamation.
|Mrs. Lincoln in a gown made by Elizabeth Keckley|
the full tour.
Jennifer Chiaverini is the author of the New York Times bestselling Elm Creek Quilts series, as well as five collections of quilt projects inspired by the novels. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives with her husband and sons in Madison, Wisconsin.
Ms. Chiaverini is well known for her Elm Creek novels about quilts. Ms. Keckley did make a quilt out of the remnants from the dresses she made for Mrs. Lincoln and Ms. Chiaverini has included the details of this quilt in the novel It's one of the details of the book that was all the more interesting for being true.
|Quilt made by Elizabeth Keckley|