Welcome to author spotlight! A new series where we showcase favorite authors and learn more about their creative process, workspace, inspiration and upcoming projects.
This month, we are celebrating the work of Wisconsin resident and New York Times bestselling author, Jennifer Chiaverini. She is the author of several historical novels and the Elm Creek Quilts series, as well as six collections of quilt patterns inspired by her books. Although she is busy writing and on book tours, she enjoys quilting, baking bread and playing Wordle in her spare time. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Chicago, she lives with her husband and two sons in Madison, Wisconsin.
In 2016, the library had the honor of hosting Chiaverini for a talk about her then new novel Fates and Traitors: A Novel of John Wilkes Booth.
Place your holds for Chiaverini’s much anticipated new novel, Switchboard Soldiers! It is a historical novel about women of the U.S. Army Signal Corps who played an essential role in achieving World War II allied victory by operating telephone switchboards.
Until you’re able to get your copy of Switchboard Soldiers, check out some of Jennifer’s earlier work to pass the time.
- Resistance Women (2019)
After Wisconsin graduate student Mildred Fish marries brilliant German economist Arvid Harnack, she accompanies him to his German homeland, where a promising future awaits. In the thriving intellectual culture of 1930s Berlin, the newlyweds create a rich new life filled with love, friendships, and rewarding work—but the rise of a malevolent new political faction inexorably changes their fate.
- Enchantress of Numbers (2017)
Mother-daughter tension sets the stage for this closely researched portrait of Ada Lovelace, the only legitimate daughter of poet Lord Byron. Arguably the first person to conceive of computer programming—an idea inspired by watching looms—Ada should have been lauded for her contributions to mathematics and technology. Yet her mother’s, her husband’s, and her society’s ideas about appropriate behavior for women suppressed her genius.
- Fates and Traitors: A Novel of John Wilkes Booth (2016)
A riveting work of historical fiction following the notorious John Wilkes Booth and the four women who kept his perilous confidence.
- Mrs. Grant and Madame Jule (2015)
This novel imagines the inner life of Julia Grant, beloved as a Civil War general’s wife and the First Lady, yet who grappled with a profound and complex relationship with the slave who was her namesake–until she forged a proud identity of her own.
- Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker (2013)
Presents a fictionalized account of the friendship between Mary Todd Lincoln and her dressmaker Elizabeth Keckley, a former slave.
- The Spymistress (2013)
Pledging her loyalty to the North at the risk of her life when her native Virginia secedes, Quaker-educated aristocrat Elizabeth Van Lew uses her innate skills for gathering military intelligence to help construct the Richmond underground and orchestrate escapes from the infamous Confederate Libby Prison.