Book Review: The Union Quilters

By 1862, most of the men of Water’s Ford, Pennsylvania have joined the Union army leaving friends, family, wives and children behind. Far from sitting idly, the women are busy supporting the war effort every way they can, whether it’s holding fundraising rallies, rolling bandages or gathering provisions. Members of the Elm Creek Valley Quilters use their considerable talents to create warm works of art while supporting each other through this difficult time. Abel Wright yearns to join the fight that would free follow blacks from the shackles of slavery but the Union army will not accept a colored man and his wife is secretly happy to have him safe at home.

Anneke Bergstrom, a stanch Union supporter is having more then a little difficulty with her husband Hans’s equally firm pacifist beliefs. Anneke feels as though she must work twice as hard for the cause to counter the perception that Hans is a coward. The
men write descriptive letters home telling of life on the battlefront which the women share with each other while stitching the quilts that will find their way to field hospitals. As the story unfolds, it’s clear that whether safe at home or engaged in battle, everyone is attempting to come to terms with a brutal war.

Unlike other books in the Elm Creek Quilts series, this stand-alone story focuses more on the battles both at home and with the Confederates then on quilting. Heavily steeped in Pennsylvania and Civil War history, this may not appeal to those looking for a light read but it is an engrossing, well-written tale of a group of women supporting each other and their men.  

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