Friday, June 19, 2015

A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor

"Mammy once told me that all flowers are beautiful, but some are more beautiful than others. "Same with babies," she said, 'cause I was after saying that little baby Rosie looked like a rotten old turnip, what with her face all purple and scrunched up. "All babies look like rotten old turnips at first," Mammy said. "She'll be all smoothed out by Lady Day. You wait and see." Opening paragraph

Synopsis:  The author of the USA Today and New York Times bestselling novel The Girl Who Came Home has once again created an unforgettable historical novel. Step into the world of Victorian London, where the wealth and poverty exist side by side. This is the story of two long-lost sisters, whose lives take different paths, and the young woman who will be transformed by their experiences.

In 1912, twenty-year-old Tilly Harper leaves the peace and beauty of her native Lake District for London, to become assistant housemother at Mr. Shaw’s Home for Watercress and Flower Girls. For years, the home has cared for London’s flower girls—orphaned and crippled children living on the grimy streets and selling posies of violets and watercress to survive.

Soon after she arrives, Tilly discovers a diary written by an orphan named Florrie—a young Irish flower girl who died of a broken heart after she and her sister, Rosie, were separated. Moved by Florrie’s pain and all she endured in her brief life, Tilly sets out to discover what happened to Rosie. But the search will not be easy. Full of twists and surprises, it leads the caring and determined young woman into unexpected places, including the depths of her own heart.

Review by Mirella Patzer

A Memory of Violets is set in London during the 1800's. It is a story of the enduring love between two sisters. Florrie and her little sister Rosie are young children who live in extreme poverty and sell flowers in some of the roughest markets in London. The first section of the book is heartwrenching and tragic as the sisters are separated and become lost to each other. This sets off a life-long quest on Florrie's part to find her sister and make amends for losing her. The two follow very different paths in life.

Years later, in 1912, Tilly Harper, takes a job in a school for flower girls. In her room she discovers Florries old diary. Intrigued, she seeks to answer some of the questions Florrie had about her sister's whereabouts

The author did a very good job of bringing their dire existence to life, stirring all kinds of emotions. This novel is a very vivid tale, rich with emotion, compelling characters, and wonderful twists and surprises throughout. I'll definitely read more books by this fabulous writer. I truly loved this book!

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