Jennifer Chiaverini's 5 Fall Faves

Best books of 2013, Best paperbacks of 2013Today's guest: Jennifer Chiaverini Why we love her: She is a wonderful storyteller!

Her latest: Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker (Out in paperback September 24th!)

The scoop: New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Chiaverini’s compelling historical novel unveils the private lives of Abraham and Mary Lincoln through the perspective of the First Lady’s most trusted confidante and friend, her dressmaker, Elizabeth Keckley.

In a life that spanned nearly a century and witnessed some of the most momentous events in American history, Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley was born a slave. A gifted seamstress, she earned her freedom by the skill of her needle, and won the friendship of First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln by her devotion. A sweeping historical novel, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker illuminates the extraordinary relationship the two women shared, beginning in the hallowed halls of the White House during the trials of the Civil War and enduring almost, but not quite, to the end of Mrs. Lincoln’s days.

Our thoughts: This book grabbed us from the first page and didn't let go. It's an engaging story that we think you will love!

Giveaway: TWO copies. Just leave a comment to be entered to win. We'll select the winners on Sunday, September 29th after 12pm PST.

Fun fact: She's the author of twenty-two novels!

Where you can read more about Jennifer: Her website, Facebook and Twitter.


Best books of 2013, Best paperbacks of 2013

1. Memory

I have many favorite fall memories, but on this cool Wisconsin morning I think first of one of our family traditions—driving out to a local farm to pick apples and pumpkins. I recall vividly the sweet taste of the fruit, the fragrance of windfall apples on the ground, the buzz of the bees in the sunshine, and the creak of the rusted handle of the red Radio Flyer wagon as I pull my sons through the orchard and pumpkin patch.

2. Favorite recipe

When the weather turns cooler, I crave all things gingerbread. Usually I try to eat healthy, but when I want to indulge, I make a batch of gingerbread muffins:


3 ¾ cups Hodgson Mill 50/50 Whole Wheat & White Flour 1 cup Brown Sugar 1 Tbsp Baking Soda 1 Tbsp Cinnamon 1 Tbsp Nutmeg 1 Tbsp Ground Ginger 1 ½ cups Land O Lakes Light Butter ¾ cup Egg Beaters (or 3 eggs) 1 cup Molasses 1 cup Hot Water 1 11.5 ounce bag Ghirardelli White Chocolate Chips, optional


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line muffin tin cups with paper liners.
  2. Combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger in a large bowl.
  3. Place butter in a medium-size, microwave-safe bowl and melt in the microwave. Stir in Egg Beaters, molasses, and hot water.
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the well. Mix just until ingredients are blended. Stir in white chocolate chips, if desired.
  5. Fill muffin tin cups ⅔ full. Bake for 18-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Makes 30 muffins.

3. Drink

If you want me to be very specific, my favorite drink was bottle of Achaval-Ferrer Quimera 2007 that I enjoyed with my husband and a few traveling companions at the Kingsmills Hotel in Inverness, Scotland. A marvelous wine shared with good friends in a beautiful setting—what more could I want from a drink? More generally, I like the occasional glass of red wine over dinner, and a strong English Breakfast tea with milk in the morning or on a rainy fall afternoon.

4. Activity/hobby

I love to run. My favorite racing distance is the half marathon, but I'm planning to run my first full marathon in November. I've long considered attempting a full marathon, but I've hesitated out of worry that I'd collapse before crossing the finish line. After the terrible bombing at Boston Marathon earlier this year, however, I resolved to commit myself to a full marathon as a tribute to the courage of those who were killed, injured, or lost loved ones. It's a small act of defiance and solidarity with other runners and those who cheer them on, to show that no one can take away our joy or destroy our community.

5. Writing inspiration

I take inspiration from the many strong, courageous women who have played significant—though often unsung—roles in American history.

Thanks, Jennifer!