Book Review: A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

Book - A Single Thread

A Single Thread, like many of Tracy Chevalier’s novels, takes us back to a time before, when life for a young woman was far more challenging than it is now. Set in the early 1930s, the book is told from the perspective of Violet, a 38 year old woman who lost her fiancé in the First World War. She has lived with grief and loneliness for many years, and her future looks set: to remain unmarried and unwanted, as a companion to her suffocating mother.

Determined not to let this happen, Violet decides to move away and attempt a life of independence in nearby Winchester. Independence is not easy, though, in a world where women are expected to marry and have children, and she soon discovers that her small wage barely provides enough to pay for food and lodgings.

The local Cathedral becomes a sanctuary for Violet, where she encounters a group of women united in a monumental task: to embroider cushions, kneelers and other items for every pew, seat and corner of that great building. She joins them, wanting to leave her own mark in the world. But these friends are not all what they seem. Gossip and suspicion abound, and Violet is forced to make some difficult choices.

Sometimes we need a book to remind us how lucky we are, and how much has changed in the past 100 years. Life for a young woman has always been full of challenges, and it’s easy to forget how far we’ve come.

This is a book about courage and vulnerability, about taking small steps to make our way in the world.

Buy a copy of A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

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