Title: A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London’s Flower Sellers by Hazel Gaynor
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Page count: 386
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Rating – 5/5
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.
Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London’s Flower Sellers. I’d like to give a big thank you to Hazel Gaynor and TLC Book tours for letting me have the chance to read and review this wonderful book for the tour!
This is a historical fiction story about two sisters that get separated, but find their way back to each other through twists of fate. It’s also a story about a young woman finding herself and a purpose by coming to terms with her past and taking control of her future.
Wow, I absolutely loved this book (and the beautiful book cover). Once I started reading it I could not put it down. There are so many things I love about it. I love the themes of perseverance and love so strong it even reaches across realms. This story was absolutely breath taking and beautiful. I found myself in tears while reading it. It was also interesting to read about the Flower Sellers, I had not previously heard of them so I liked learning about them and I loved that flowers played such a prominent part in the story from the naming of the Flower Houses to the names of some of the characters. The story itself is separated into sections of flowers, each with their own meanings that exemplify each section which I loved. I also loved that the language used in the writing is different depending upon the perspective of each chapter, I absolutely love when Historical Fiction novels are written this way, it makes the story more authentic and easier to imagine. It makes the characters more robust and real. At first it was hard for me to read Florrie’s style of speaking but when I started to get really into the story it just became second nature.
The romance subplot was very subtle and beautiful, it didn’t take away from the story of the sisters at all but was very sweet and just the right amount of romance for this book. There was also a supernatural element in this book that really surprised me and it actually had me in tears. This story was poignant and gripping…I highly recommend it. It is a real page turner indeed! It was at times moving, heartwarming and also heartbreaking!
About the Author
Hazel Gaynor is an author and freelance writer living in Ireland.
Her debut novel THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME (William Morrow/HarperCollins) was a USA Today and New York Times bestseller. Her second novel A MEMORY OF VIOLETS will be published in February 2015.
Hazel was the recipient of the 2012 Cecil Day Lewis award for Emerging Writers and was recently named as one of U.S. Library Journal’s Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015.
Hazel also writes a popular guest blog ‘Carry on Writing’ for national Irish writing website writing.ie. She also writes feature articles for the site and has interviewed authors such as Philippa Gregory, John Boyne, and Sebastian Faulks.
Originally from Yorkshire, England, Hazel has lived in Ireland for the past twelve years with her husband and two young children.
Hazel is represented by Michelle Brower of Folio Literary Management, New York.