A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London’s Flower Sellers by Hazel Gaynor with Excerpt and GIveaway
How could I resist this title with my love of all things historical? Please be sure to check out the other tour stops and don’t forget to enter the tour wide giveaway where you could win one of Three Print Copies of THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME by Hazel Gaynor.
A Memory of Violets
There was no way for me to resist this book from the synopsis alone: Hazel Gaynor is mixing up two eras in this historical fiction, all centering on characters that are not usually featured in historic fiction: the underclass.
Strikingly, with all of the economic changes and improvements in the late Victorian Era, society’s treatment and opportunities for the underprivileged and infirm, particularly women and children was not advancing at the same rate. With Flora and Rosie (aged 8 and 4) scrabling to sell watercress and violet posies near Covent Garden in 1876 to Tillie’s arrival at Mr. Shaw’s Home for Watercress and Violet Girls in 1921 options and the atmosphere haven’t greatly improved.
Flora and Rosie are Irish immigrant’s children, aged 8 and 4, struggling to survive against the odds. But Rosie disappears one day, setting a lifelong quest for Flora. Her arrival at Mr. Shaw’s home, and her life there as she sought to find her sister is one thread of the story.
Matlda or Tillie is just 21, leaving a sheltered and reasonably quiet, if loveless life in the Lake District. The offer of the position of house mother at Mr. Shaw’s home is daunting, but a challenge she finds preferable to the continued recriminations from her mother.
Gaynor skillfully weaves the two stories together after Tillie finds Flora’s journal with the tale of Rosie’s disappearance. Taking the quest on as her own as she explores and investigates, Along the way Tillie comes to grow and learn more of her own potential and capabilities even as the relationship with her employer grows.
Gaynor’s lovely crafting of descriptions, providing perspective and scenes that are not common in most fiction reads keep the reader’s interest, while providing a depth and emotional accessibility that is surprisingly unsentimental. While never stinting on the darker moments: child labor, poverty, prejudice and the struggles for equality and safety juxtapose with patrons of the home and owners of the most luxurious homes in the city. A lovely read that starts slowly to build the scene and moments and soon draws the reader in to the world, loathe to leave.
Title: A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers
Author: Hazel Gaynor
Genre: Historical Fiction
Published by: William Morrow
Published on: 3 February 2015
Source: Publisher Via Edelweiss
Audio Length: 10 Hours: 29 minutes
Get Your Copy: Amazon ♦ AllRomance ♦ iTunes ♦ Kobo ♦ Downpour ♦ IndieBound ♦ Book Depository ♦ Google
About the Book:
From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Hazel Gaynor comes a beautiful historical novel about Tilly Harper, a young woman who finds the diary of an orphaned flower seller who was separated from her sister in Victorian England, and her journey to learn the fate of the long lost sisters. Gaynor’s research into the events that inspire her novels is outstanding, and the world of the Victorian flower sellers on the streets of London in the late 1800s is utterly fascinating.
In 1912, twenty-one-year-old Tilly Harper leaves her sheltered home in the Lake District for a position as assistant housemother at Mr. Shaw’s Home for Watercress and Flower Girls in London. Orphaned and crippled girls wander the twisted streets with posies of violets and cress to sell to the passing ladies and gentleman, and the Flower Homes provide a place for them to improve their lives of hardship.
When Tilly arrives at Mr. Shaw’s safe haven, she discovers a diary that tells the story of Florrie, a young Irish flower girl who died of a broken heart after being separated from her sister Rosie. Tilly makes it her mission to find out what happened to young Rosie, and in the process learns about the workings of her own heart.
A copy of this title was provided via Publisher Via Edelweiss for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
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