Jennifer Chiaverini is a popular author among local readers, and with good reason. She has penned the successful Elm Creek Quilt books, a series focusing on the lives and struggles of the women who run and visit a quilting retreat called Elm Creek Manor. Written with warmth and heart, the series resonates with many readers,
Now Mrs Chiaverini has begun writing historical fiction with the same warmth and depth of character. Her first foray was titled Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker and explored the life of Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley, Mrs. Lincoln's personal dressmaker. The second book by Jennifer Chiaverini is in the same vein and is titled Mrs. Lincoln's Rival and is today's Port Pick. This story explores the fascinating rivalry between Mary Todd Lincoln and Kate Chase Sprague, a woman determined to propel her man to the White House. Kate Chase Sprague was the second daughter born to the second wife of Salmon P. Chase, an ambitious lawyer eventually elected as Secretary of the Treasury in Lincoln's cabinet. After Mr. Chase's third wife passed away, his daughter Kate took up the role of organizing her father's social life - quite a feat in high society in the mid-1800s. She eventually married wealthy William Sprague, governor of Rhode Island. Everyone attended the wedding, including President Lincoln. However, Mary Todd Lincoln was not in attendance. Author Chiaverini has chosen to focus on the political rivalry between these two fascinating women - Kate Chase Sprague and Mary Todd Lincoln - and how the personal and social lives of these women influenced the political scene of the time. Narrated from the third person point of view, the story officially ends as Mary Todd Lincoln leaves the White House, but an afterward fills the reader in on the reset of Kate Chase Sprague's life.
You can get the book reviewed here and more great titles to watch, read, listen to, or play with at the Port Library at 1718 N. Hersey in Beloit. This is director Rachel Malay saying, "Thanks for checking us out!"
Mrs. Lincoln's Rival by Jennifer Chiaverini
ISBN: 9780525954286, 432 pages.