This book is also available as an ebook, as well as an audio book.
Jennifer Chiaverini departs from her New York Times bestselling Elm Creek Quilts series to debut her first stand-alone novel, MRS. LINCOLN’S DRESSMAKER. This compelling historical novel unveils the private lives of the Lincolns from the time of their rise to White House glory, through the President’s shocking assassination and its tumultuous aftermath, until the end of Mary Todd Lincoln’s troubled life—all told from the perspective of the First Lady’s most trusted confidante and friend, her dressmaker Elizabeth Keckley. A New York Timesbestseller, MRS. LINCOLN’S DRESSMAKER (Plume / September 24th / $16.00) is now available in paperback from Plume.
The Lincolns have been immortalized in countless works, but Keckley’s story has really been told only once—and that was in her own controversial memoir, published in 1868. Meticulously researched as well as highly imaginative, MRS. LINCOLN’S DRESSMAKER brings an all but forgotten piece of history back to life.
Born into slavery, Elizabeth Keckley earned freedom for herself and her son by the skill of her needle. She moved to Washington, DC, where she quickly made a name for herself as the city’s most talented dressmaker. It didn’t take long for Washington’s political and social elite to take notice of her intricate designs, flawless needlework, and the flattering fit of her dresses. After moving into the White House, Mrs. Lincoln called upon Keckley to be her personal modiste—but she soon became much more. A devoted friend, Keckley supported Mrs. Lincoln through political scandal, the loss of a child, her husband’s assassination, and her eventual descent into poverty.
Chiaverini is no stranger to creating poignant and relatable historical fiction; her long-standing Elm Creek Quilts series has hit the New York Times bestseller list fourteen times. She is often praised for her ability to create complex characters and powerful story lines that bring history to life in her novels.
An engaging story of strength and perseverance, MRS. LINCOLN’S DRESSMAKER illuminates the remarkable friendship between a First Lady and an extraordinary freedwoman.
My take on Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker:
Elizabeth Keckley was an expert seamstress, born a slave working in St. Louis she is able to purchase the freedom of not only herself but her son George as well.After a brief stint in Baltimore where she couldn't find a job she moves to Washington City,and had only been there a few months when Abraham Lincoln is elected president.By then her sewing skills had caught the attention of the upper crust of society and she found herself busy sewing for socialites as well as political families. When she gets the chance to become the dressmaker for Mary Todd Lincoln their relationship soon blossoms into friendship allowing us to witness thru the eyes of Elizabeth one of the most important times in US history!
History comes to life within the pages of this book. I had never heard of Elizabeth (Lizzy) Keckley and found her story quite interesting. A slave who was able to purchase not only her freedom but her sons as well is quite interesting. She married, but her husband was basically a drunk and a liar so she decided that they would live apart, and when she left St. Louis she left him behind. She does later learn that he has died.Her seamstress skills were learned by sewing for slaves,and she puts that talent to work for some very influential people of that time,including Jefferson Davis' family. The story flows smoothly allowing the reader to see the major upheaval that it going on in the country. With plenty of historical detail it is easy to see that the author certainly did her research. Overall anyone who enjoys Civil War history will certainly enjoy this story. An interesting look at the friendship that developed between two very different ladies. Not only do we get a real look at the Civil War but we also see these women as human who had worries, suffering and heartache. I enjoyed this book so much that I have downloaded Ms. Kreckley's memoir and plan on reading it soon.
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.
Connect with Jennifer on her website,elmcreek.net, and on Twitter @jchiaverini.