Cover image for A memory of violets : a novel of London's flower sellers
Title:
A memory of violets : a novel of London's flower sellers
Author:
Gaynor, Hazel.
Personal Author:
Edition:
1st ed.
Publication Information:
New York : William Morrow, [2015]

©2015
Physical Description:
389 pages, 31 pages ; 21 cm
Summary:
"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."--Publisher's website.
General Note:
Includes P.S. Insights, Interviews & more.
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062316899
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

From the author of the USA Today bestseller The Girl Who Came Home comes an unforgettable historical novel that tells the story of two long-lost sisters--orphaned flower sellers--and a young woman who is transformed by their experiences

"For little sister. . . . I will never stop looking for you."

1876. Among the filth and depravity of Covent Garden's flower markets, orphaned Irish sisters Flora and Rosie Flynn sell posies of violets and watercress to survive. It is a pitiful existence, made bearable only by each other's presence. When they become separated, the decision of a desperate woman sets their lives on very different paths.

1912. Twenty-one-year-old Tilly Harper leaves the peace and beauty of her native Lake District for London to become assistant housemother at one of Mr. Shaw's Training Homes for Watercress and Flower Girls. For years, the homes have cared for London's orphaned and crippled flower girls, getting them off the streets. For Tilly, the appointment is a fresh start, a chance to leave her troubled past behind.

Soon after she arrives at the home, Tilly finds a notebook belonging to Flora Flynn. Hidden between the pages she finds dried flowers and a heartbreaking tale of loss and separation as Flora's entries reveal how she never stopped looking for her lost sister. 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.


Author Notes

Hazel Gaynor's debut novel, The Girl Who Came Home: A Novel of the Titanic, was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. A Memory of Violets is her second novel.

In addition to historical fiction, she writes a popular guest blog, Carry on Writing, for national Irish writing website writing.ie. She shares thoughts and experiences of the writing process and has interviewed a number of popular authors, including; Philippa Gregory, Sebastian Faulks, John Boyne and Cheryl Strayed.

Hazel received the 2012 Cecil Day Lewis award for Emerging Writers and was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

In 1876 London, two Irish sisters struggle to survive by selling flowers and watercress. Abused by their father and eventually orphaned, the girls have a heartbreaking existence, with little food to eat and nights spent huddled in doorways. But when the girls accidentally become separated, their lives are changed forever. Fast-forward nearly 40 years, to when young Tilly Harper leaves the green hills of the Lake District to work in London as a housemother at Mr. Shaw's Home for Watercress and Flower Girls. Founded as a refuge for orphaned and disabled flower girls, the home provides food, shelter, and a livelihood for its charges. Shortly after Tilly arrives, she finds a box containing former resident Flora Flynn's diary documenting her search for her missing sister. When Tilly decides to find out what happened to Rosie, her own life is transformed. Gaynor (The Girl Who Came Home, 2014) once again brings history to life. With intriguing characters and a deeply absorbing story, her latest is a fascinating examination of one city's rich history and the often forgotten people who lived in it.--Gladstein, Carol Copyright 2015 Booklist


Library Journal Review

In 1876 London, eight-year-old flower seller Florrie and her beloved little sister, Rosie, are separated during a disturbance near Covent Garden and, sadly, lost to each other forever. In 1912, Tilly Harper earns a position in Shaw's Homes for Watercress and Flower Girls, leaving her younger sister Esther behind with little regret. By chance Tilly is given Florrie's old room and finds a notebook filled with memories of Rosie. Gaining self-confidence, Tilly investigates what she believes happened to the missing girl; is she right? Although these stories take place some 30 years apart and show contrasting sibling dynamics, both focus on the intense bond between sisters. It's easy to appreciate the author's intricate connections built among the four girls, but it becomes almost too easy to guess what's coming. Verdict Historical details and the unique perspective of penniless, physically challenged young girls could make Gaynor's second historical novel (after The Girl Who Came Home) a good book club choice. A tidy ending and sweet romance will satisfy readers hoping to exhale a long, contented sigh as they finish the last page.-Stacey Hayman, Rocky River P.L., OH (c) Copyright 2015. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.