Saturday 13 June 2020

Hist fic Saturday/Summer Read ~ A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier ☼

On Hist Fic Saturday

Let's go back in time to 1932 with one of my Summer read

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Borough Press 

My thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book

Violet is 38.

The First World War took everything from her. Her brother, her fiancé – and her future. She is now considered a ‘surplus woman’.

But Violet is also fiercely independent and determined. Escaping her suffocating mother, she moves to Winchester to start a new life –a change that will require courage, resilience and acts of quiet rebellion. And when whispers of another world war surface, she must live with a secret that could change everything…

What did I think about it..

Leaving her domineering mother and moving to Winchester is a huge step for Violet Speedwell, and even as she takes up employment as a typist in an insurance company, Violet realises that she has to do more to maintain her independence. Joining a group of ladies who embroider the intricate kneelers for Winchester Cathedral gives Violet the opportunity to make new friends and learn a new skill, and this enlightened companionship, amongst the embroiderers, allows Violet a certain amount of freedom and the independence she craves. I particularly enjoyed getting to know the lady 'broderers' of Winchester Cathedral and learned much about the different embroidery stitches and had to smile when Violet is advised, by her instructor, the indomitable Louisa Pesel, that the back of her work should be as neat as the front which is exactly what my needlework teacher once advised me! 

The eponymous single thread which runs throughout the story reiterates Violet's single status, as in the aftermath of the First World War, when there was such a devastating loss of young men, finding a husband for all the surplus women, like Violet, who had lost a fiancé  in the war, was never going to be easy. Gradually over the space of this beautifully written story, Violet's life is shared amongst us. We learn of her hopes and fears, we witness her gradual growth in confidence, and we become part of her journey to fulfillment

And just as Violet's tentative embroidery threads come together to form something truly beautiful, and unique, so the threads of the story stitch together a wonderful account of all the special relationships which weave, in intricate detail, the delicate pattern of  Violet's life. 

Twitter @Tracy_Chevalier


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