New York Times best-selling 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.
©2013 Jennifer Chiaverini (P)2013 Recorded Books
This was one of the best historical books I have read! Great history with a terrific story
Long time audio book listener, allowing me to get mundane things accomplished while my mind soars.
Listen and enjoy. This is an intimate connection to the Lincoln Whitehouse and African American history during and after the Civil War period. it is an excellent historical piece of literature.
The opening of this book grabbed my attention, but it drug downhill from there. The end result is a description of a petulant Mrs. Lincoln taking advantage of a servant/confidante. The narrator uses odd voice tones for male characters, esp Mr. Lincoln which distracts from the story.
The story is well written and delivered!
I had forgotten some history. Mrs. Lincoln was a very interesting person who suffered terribly from horrific loses. I hope she realized that friend's like Elizabeth are unique!
A wonderful well written and researched book. The details are rich and you can almost smell and hear the sounds of that terrible time in our nation's history. I would have liked to have met both her and Mr. Lincoln.
I thought the narrator did an awesome job with the characters in the book. It really did make me feel like I was there. I really want to go back in time and give Elizabeth a hug.
Blue Mesa Jan
Presented is an intimate portrait of the inspiring Elizabeth Keckley and a thought-provoking view into the lives of Mary Todd Lincoln & the President. I loved this book. The narrator was superb.
Interesting perspective from the view of a supposedly free black woman. I always love history books with a personal component.
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