Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini
New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini illuminates the extraordinary friendship between Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, a former slave who won her freedom by the skill of her needle, and the friendship of the First Lady by her devotion.
In Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, novelist Jennifer Chiaverini presents a stunning account of the friendship that blossomed between Mary Todd Lincoln and her seamstress, Elizabeth “Lizzie” Keckley, a former slave who gained her professional reputation in Washington, D.C. by outfitting the city’s elite. Keckley made history by sewing for First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln within the White House, a trusted witness to many private moments between the President and his wife, two of the most compelling figures in American history.
In March 1861, Mrs. Lincoln chose Keckley from among a number of applicants to be her personal “modiste,” responsible not only for creating the First Lady’s gowns, but also for dressing Mrs. Lincoln in the beautiful attire Keckley had fashioned. The relationship between the two women quickly evolved, as Keckley was drawn into the intimate life of the Lincoln family, supporting Mary Todd Lincoln in the loss of first her son, and then her husband to the assassination that stunned the nation and the world.
Keckley saved scraps from the dozens of gowns she made for Mrs. Lincoln, eventually piecing together a tribute known as the Mary Todd Lincoln Quilt. She also saved memories, which she fashioned into a book, Behind the Scenes: Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House. Upon its publication, Keckley’s memoir created a scandal that compelled Mary Todd Lincoln to sever all ties with her, but in the decades since, Keckley’s story has languished in the archives. In this impeccably researched, engrossing novel, Chiaverini brings history to life in rich, moving style.
About The Author
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.
Civil War Fashion: The Keckley Quilt
This is not the first, nor will it be the last book, that I have read by Jennifer Chiaverini. This story is a about the relationship between Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley.
Lizzie was very skilled with a needle and became very much in demand in Washington DC. She offered to be almost exclusive to Mrs Lincoln, and they formed a very personal relationship. We travel with them through the beginning of the Civil War and beyond the assassination.
I felt like I was living right there, as the author brings to life the War. We wait as President Lincoln goes to the telegraph office for war updates, and we listen as they are reported. We are there for the various Cabinet Members as they come to the White House. We also are there during the grief and hard times.
What I find most interesting is the fact that this is all based on a true story. I found this http://www.lkwdpl.org/wihohio/keck-el....
If you read one historical book this year, this should be your pick. How much Lizzie accomplished in her lifetime, starting out as a slave, who earned enough money to buy her freedom.
I received this book through the publisher Dalton Adult and Net Galley, and was not required to give a positive review.
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