A Single Thread by Tracey Chevalier has to be not only one of my favourite pre-Christmas reads, but one of my overall favourite reads of 2020. Historical fiction at its best – utterly mesmerising.
One of the main reasons for this was that it was one of those books that you find yourself pressing into the hands of everybody you meet. I have recommended (and bought it!) for so many people over the last couple of months (particularly the festive season) that I have lost count!
Violet is 38.
The First World War took everything from her. Her brother, her fiance – 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…
I loved it all – the characters, the plotline, the context, the historical details – everything. Although probably most especially the characters. Violet was a quiet but strong central character and the nuances of her relationships with friends, family and love, stitched the tapestry of the story together. Each relationship was so different but so distinct and affected her in unique ways.
Chevalier covered many fascinating topics too – Winchester Cathedral, Bellringing, embroidery, 1930’s life, gender equality issues – the list is endless. Above all she perfectly and sensitively captured what it was like to be a single women at that time, and the underlying fear that accompanied you, like an unwelcome stranger, wherever you went.
I also learnt much about the fascinating and intricate art of Bellringing. I don’t think I’ll ever listen to church bells the same way again!
I especially enjoyed sharing this book with fellow readers. A friend talked about how inspiring Violets small life and daily acts of courage were, as well as memories of her own visit to Winchester Cathedral. And my mum has been inspired to start her own tapestry. I’ve now passed my copy onto my Gran (who is already a huge fan of Girl With a Pearl Earring) so can’t wait to hear what she thinks too. It’s so powerful when books create their own communities – that’s what reading is all about. I feel like Violet and the Embroiders 🙂
Absolutely loved it and cannot recommend enough.
Please do share in the comments a book you’ve read that you enthusiastically recommended to anyone who will listen, or a read that created it’s own little community – I’d love to hear your recommendations! If you don’t have a WordPress account and are therefore unable to reply in the comments then please do hop on over to twitter and reply to my tweet about this post 🙂
Finally, thank you to HarperCollins and Tracey Chevalier for sending me a reading copy in exchange for my honest review.
Meg Readz xx