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Extended Audio Sample Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker: A Novel Audiobook, by Jennifer Chiaverini Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,607 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jennifer Chiaverini Narrator: Christina Moore Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2013 ISBN: 9781470335892
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In Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, New York Times bestselling author 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, DC, 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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[An] absorbing stand-alone historical novel. Taking readers through times of war and peace as seen through the eyes of an extraordinary woman, the author brings Civil War Washington to vivid life through her meticulously researched authentic detail. Chiaverini’s characters are compelling and accurate; the reader truly feels drawn into the intimate scenes at the White House.”

    Library Journal

  • “A welcome historical.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A compelling fictional account of Keckley’s life.”


  • “Readers of the Elm Creek Quilt series who have enjoyed Chiaverini’s narrative jaunts into Civil War and Underground Railroad history will be interested in Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker—and there is even a little bit of quilting in the story. This is also a good choice for readers of Christian historical fiction, as both Elizabeth’s and Mr. Lincoln’s faiths are important elements in shaping their characters.”


  • “Chiaverini has drawn a loving portrait of a complex and gifted woman.”

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch

  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jackee Hyla | 2/9/2014

    " I love historical fiction and the subject was so intriguing, but the book just didn't live up to it's description. I can't remember the last time it took me this long to get through a book. It was painful. The end was a bit redeeming, but overall I didn't like it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie | 2/7/2014

    " I enjoyed this storyline and learning more about these historical characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julieb | 2/6/2014

    " How great to find the Amazon Kindle (free download) of Keckley's Behind the Scenes book. Enjoying reading the actual account of her intimate relationship with the Lincoln family. The comments on the blog at the Lincoln Library website also add depth to the story written by Jennifer Chiavernini, one of my favorite writers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Meeko1971 | 2/5/2014

    " Although I wanted to love this book, I just can't. It lagged in spots and then skipped over informations I wanted. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Liz | 1/19/2014

    " I really, really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't get in to it. I felt like the author was trying to write a history book with an occasional visit with the main characters. Which is not how I like my fiction. I think it could have been a great story if there was more depth to the characters. I finally just gave up and stopped reading when I realized I was skipping over entire paragraphs. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Wendy | 1/19/2014

    " I kept waiting for something to happen. The author has over 20 other books about quilts and this was the first historical fiction, so a bit dull in style "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amber | 1/16/2014

    " Amazing!!!!! Would not be surprised to see this made into a movie!!! A must read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 R | 1/16/2014

    " I thought this was poorly written, great idea for a story but was disappointed. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kimberly | 1/8/2014

    " I thought this was a well written and interesting historical fiction, and I'm glad I picked it up at the library on a whim. If you like historical fiction and/or are interested in the life of the Lincoln family then this book is for you. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Edna | 12/6/2013

    " Discovery of home life of the Lincoln's during the war and Mary's struggle after the assassination told in a folksy way. Enjoyed the views of Lincoln's and life of a former slave in Washington during the war. Well researched and told. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Terisa | 12/6/2013

    " Very dry, really didn't know who the characters were or there place in the book. I didn't make it past page 50 and I had to end the torture. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 9/19/2013

    " The best thing about this book was that I learned quite a bit about Mary Todd Lincoln and her life in the White House and after she left. I know it was historical fiction, not nonfiction, which doesn't make everything in it true, but it was a very enjoyable read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Helen | 9/10/2013

    " This book is different from others I have read by Jennifer Chiaverini. I loved learning about the history and enjoyed Chiaverini's perspective. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leslie Hutchings | 9/3/2013

    " A little too long and Mrs Lincoln was a real whiner. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leslie Mitchell | 6/18/2013

    " I was glued to this story! This time period really came alive for me in this book. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Mariann Ryckman | 4/30/2013

    " Disappointing. Read more like a history book than a historical novel, listing off dates and battles or another biography of Mary Lincoln. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Janice | 4/2/2013

    " This book covers an interesting topic and I learned a lot about Elizabeth Keckley and Mrs. Lincoln but I didn't like the style of writing. Since it was a novel, it could have been presented in a more interesting manner. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Beth Dollar | 1/29/2013

    " Like one of the previous readers I saw Lincoln. I thought the book was interesting and gave a different perspective. It was correct historically as far as it can be determined. "

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About the Author
Author Jennifer Chiaverini

Jennifer Chiaverini is the author of the New York Times bestselling Mrs. Lincon’s Dressmaker, The Spymistress, Mrs. Lincoln’s Rival, and the Elm Creek Quilts series. She has also written numerous collections of quilt patterns inspired by her novels, and her quilt patterns have been featured in publications such as Country Woman, Quiltmaker, and Quilt. A former professor of writing at Edgewood College and Penn State, she lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin.

About the Narrator

Christina Moore is an actress and Earphones Award–winning audiobook narrator. As an actress, she is best known for her roles in the television series That ’70s Show, Hawthorne, and 90210. She is a founding member of Bitches Funny, an all-female sketch group that has performed in New York City and Los Angeles.