It is 1932, and the’ losses of the First World War are still keenly felt. Violet Speedwell, mourning for both her fianc’ and her brother and regarded by society as a’ surplus woman’ unlikely to marry, resolves to escape her suffocating mother and strike out alone.
A new life awaits her in Winchester. Yes, it is one of draughty boarding-houses and sidelong glances at her naked ring finger from younger colleagues; but it is also a life gleaming with independence and opportunity. Violet falls in with the broderers, a disparate group of women charged with embroidering kneelers for the Cathedral, and is soon entwined in their lives and their secrets. As the almost unthinkable threat of a second Great War appears on the horizon Violet collects a few secrets of her own that could just change everything’
Warm, vivid and beautifully orchestrated, A Single Thread reveals one of our finest modern writers at the peak of her powers.
My reading experience:
Firstly I would like to thank the author, Netgalley and the publisher for my free ARC.
Violet is one of those women who got left behind after the [Great] war. The male population heavily defeated and the loss of her fiancé has meant that she finds herself in her 30s and well into spinsterhood. It is 1932. With a criticising, uncompromising and compassionless mother stifling her every whim, Violet decides to move out and try living independently only to discover she is financially challenged more than she even thought. Life is rather a disappointment. However, Chevalier doesn’t leave our protagonist simpering and weak, she takes Violet on a journey of self discovery that brings her into a three dimensional character for the reader, and glorious technicolour in her own universe. Set against the backdrop of a country recovering from a Great War and plunging itself shortly into another, Violet becomes someone who can love her new friends, her new hobby as part of the Broderers’ and mostly, herself.
“A single thread can make quite a difference”
Tracy Chevalier never fails to bring a good story with depth and meaning, making the reader reflect on it and then go forwards with that reflection. An interesting theme of her books is an often lonely or isolated woman who learns about her own strength, courage and bravery. Chevalier is the author for all women.