Violet is considered a surplus woman, stuck in limbo as a spinster who lost her fiancé in the Great War. In order to find some meaning, she starts a new life in Winchester, living as a single woman. Through a chance encounter, she falls in with a group of broderers, women who embroider kneeling pads for worshippers at Winchester Cathedral, and finds herself joined together with an amazing group of women. This beautiful book resonated with me on a deep level.
An immersive, moving story of a woman coming into her own at the dawn of the Second World War, from internationally bestselling author Tracy Chevalier
1932. After the Great War took both her beloved brother and her fiancé, Violet Speedwell has become a "surplus woman," one of a generation doomed to a life of spinsterhood after the war killed so many young men. Yet Violet cannot reconcile herself to a life spent caring for her grieving, embittered mother. After countless meals of boiled eggs and dry toast, she saves enough to move out of her mother's place and into the town of Winchester, home to one of England's grandest cathedrals. There, Violet is drawn into a society of broderers--women who embroider kneelers for the Cathedral, carrying on a centuries-long tradition of bringing comfort to worshippers.
Violet finds support and community in the group, fulfillment in the work they create, and even a growing friendship with the vivacious Gilda. But when forces threaten her new independence and another war appears on the horizon, Violet must fight to put down roots in a place where women aren't expected to grow. Told in Chevalier's glorious prose, A Single Thread is a timeless story of friendship, love, and a woman crafting her own life.
About the Author
Tracy Chevalier is the New York Times bestselling author of nine previous novels, including Girl with a Pearl Earring, which has been translated into thirty-nine languages and made into an Oscar-nominated film. Born and raised in Washington, DC, she lives in London with her husband and son.
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Praise for A Single Thread:
"Set in the 1930s, Chevalier's new novel follows a woman whose fiance died in Wold War I and who finds a sense of community among the guild of needlewomen embroidering kneelers for the pews at one of Britain's great cathedrals."—New York Times Book Review
“In times of grave discomfort, Tracy Chevalier offers a welcome respite...with manners and chortle-inducing humor that would make Jane Austen proud.”—USA Today
"The plot, and Chevalier's delicate handling of Violet's love interest, is seamless...A Single Thread is a fascinating story about building something long-lasting by beginning with one small stich."—NPR
“The best-selling novelist has done a masterful job of depicting the circumstances of a generation of women we seldom think about: the mothers, sisters, wives and fiances of men lost in World War I, whose job it was to remember those lost but not forgotten.”—Associated Press
"This novel will stay with you for a long time, and may be Chevalier's best yet." —Irish Times
“A buoyant tale about the path to acceptance and joy—beginning, like all journeys, with one brave step.”—People
“A well-woven story of love…reading this is deeply pleasurable and the ending made me cry.”—The Times UK
“Chevalier excels at detailing the creative process, humanizing historical figures and capturing everyday life."—Publishers Weekly
"A Single Thread is a soft-spoken story with so much heart. The characters are lovely; they are people you want to know more about even after you have turned the last page. They all have their secrets, their fears and their faults. But they come together for each other when needed, and those threads make for a delightful read." —BookReporter
"Chevalier subtly weaves their captivating story toward a satisfying conclusion that makes A Single Thread into a singular sensation."—Washington Independent Review of Books
“Tracy Chevalier once again proves herself a reflective and generous crafter of smart, thoughtful popular fiction.”—Newsday.com
"A compelling portrait of women not lost but thriving against the odds.”—Kirkus Reviews
Praise for Tracy Chevalier:
"Chevalier is a master at foregrounding the small, dramatic stories of overlooked people from the past." —Geraldine Brooks, author of The Secret Chord
"A master of voices." —The New York Times Book Review
"Chevalier's ringing prose is as radiantly efficient as well-tended silver." —Entertainment Weekly
"Chevalier's signature talent lies in bringing alive the ordinary day-to-dayness of the past." —Elle
Praise for At The Edge of the Orchard:
"Sometimes, a book comes along that somehow ticks all the boxes. This is one of those books: The voices are rich and individual; the attention to detail impressive; the scent of apples, damp earth, and pines runs potently through the whole. A joy." —Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat
"With impeccable research and flawless prose, Chevalier perfectly conjures the grandeur of the pristine Wild West Robert encounters, the bawdiness of the period, and the commanding needs of the everyday adventurers—male and female— who were bold enough or foolish enough to be drawn to the unknown. She crafts for us an excellent experience."—USA Today
"Excellently researched . . . brings to life a seminal chapter in American history. . . . A compelling look at what was lost and gained in westward expansion." —People
"Chevalier's research is painstakingly detailed without weighing down the story . . . Chevalier has created a patchwork of stories . . . together they form a picture of lives wrested from an unforgiving land, but with a promise of renewal." —The Guardian
"A satisfyingly slow, character-driven historical novel about friendship, sexuality, and choices."—Real Simple