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Extended Audio Sample Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker: A Novel, 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 Moor Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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 by 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 by 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 by 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 by 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. "

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