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@Read E-pub õ A Single Thread ⚜ An immersive, moving story of a woman coming into her own at the dawn of the Second World War, from internationally bestselling author Tracy Chevalier After the Great War took both her beloved brother and her fianc , Violet Speedwell has become a surplus woman, one of a generation doomed to a life of spinsterhood after the war killed so many young men Yet Violet cannot reconcile herself to a life spent caring for her grieving, embittered mother After countless meals of boiled egg and dry toast, she saves enough to move out of her mother s home and into the town of Winchester, home to one of England s grandest cathedrals There, Violet is drawn into a society of broderers women who embroider kneelers kneeling cushions for the Cathedral, carrying on a centuries long tradition of bringing comfort to worshippersViolet finds support and community in the group, fulfillment in the work they create, and even a growing friendship with the vivacious Gilda But when forces threaten her new independence and another war appears on the horizon, Violet must fight to put down roots in a place where women aren t expected to grow Told in Chevalier s glorious prose, A Single Thread is a timeless story of friendship, love, and a woman crafting her own life Not for the first time have I read a book by this author and been intrigued by the subject matter but underwhelmed by the story This one was no exception The plight of the surplus women of the years after WWI has been fictionalised before and to better effect The embroidery project at Winchester Cathedral and the whole rigmarole of bell ringing were intriguing, though, and I am glad to have read this book for those alone, especially since I discovered at the end that the main character in t Not for the first time have I read a book by this author and been intrigued by the subject matter but underwhelmed by the story This one was no exception The plight of the surplus women of the years after WWI has been fictionalised before and to better effect The embroidery project at Winchester Cathedral and the whole rigmarole of bell ringing were intriguing, though, and I am glad to have read this book for those alone, especially since I discovered at the end that the main character in the embroidery element Louisa Pesel is based on a real person and that inspired me to research her life I thought the story linking all these themes, though, was lacklustre and short on subtlety I don t much care for being told what to think The price of her happiness no, not happiness the price of her freedom was the misery of at least four people It was a very high price indeed, and Violet resented having to calculate it in this way A man never did.The characters were rather one dimensional and I failed to engage, even with Violet whose situation in life should have moved meAn easy enough read, but not one I d much recommend.With thanks to Harper Collins, Borough Press via NetGalley for the opportunity to read an ARC In A Single Thread, Tracy Chevalier paints a richly detailed picture of history and social change in England in the inter war years, set in the beautiful location of Winchester, with its magnificent cathedral In a well researched character driven story, it is 1932, 38 year old Violet Speedwell is deemed to be one of the surplus women, a consequence of the huge numbers of men lost in WW1, women who are both pitied and feared She is still feeling the loss of her fiance and her brother in the w In A Single Thread, Tracy Chevalier paints a richly detailed picture of history and social change in England in the inter war years, set in the beautiful location of Winchester, with its magnificent cathedral In a well researched character driven story, it is 1932, 38 year old Violet Speedwell is deemed to be one of the surplus women, a consequence of the huge numbers of men lost in WW1, women who are both pitied and feared She is still feeling the loss of her fiance and her brother in the war, stifled by a difficult and suffocating mother She saves up, moving to Winchester, living an impoverished existence in a lodging house and working as a typist On a visit to the Cathedral, there is a ceremony for the broderers , her interest is captured by the embroidered kneelers She joins the group of women, that includes the real life Louise Pessel.As she immerses her life in embroidery, she finds so muchthan she could ever have expected She discovers an inner fulfillment, support, friendship and community, along with secets, whilst feeling drawn to a married bellringer, Arthur She becomesaware of who she is, and what she is good at Chevalier goes into incredible detail on the craft of embroidery and campanology, in a slow moving but involving narrative Violet is a strong, determined, flawed woman, resilient, as despite the challenges she and other women face, she is intent on shaping her life into what she wants it to be, refusing to be defined by others There are all the issues often associated with small communities, small minded individuals, gossip, judgementalism, and prejudice Amidst a horizon that hints of another world war, we are given a snapshot of this particular historical period, people and place, with beautiful descriptions of the location The novel touches on issues of the position of women, of sexuality, of being an unmarried mother, of the importance of friendships, of identity, family, of love and art This is not a book for those looking for a fast paced read, this isone to savour, and engage in the characters and the Winchester Cathedral community in the 1930s This is for those who love character driven historical fiction, particularly of this era Many thanks to HarperCollins for an ARC Violet inadvertently walks into the Winchester Cathedral during a ceremony for the broderers and is taken with the embroidered kneelers I was not and the first part of the book was a trudge for me I was bored I kept reading, though, because I admired how Violet asserted her independence and moves away from her constantly complaining mother I felt for her alone and barely making enough for room and breakfast, frequently skipping a meal and still after years is grieving the loss of her fia Violet inadvertently walks into the Winchester Cathedral during a ceremony for the broderers and is taken with the embroidered kneelers I was not and the first part of the book was a trudge for me I was bored I kept reading, though, because I admired how Violet asserted her independence and moves away from her constantly complaining mother I felt for her alone and barely making enough for room and breakfast, frequently skipping a meal and still after years is grieving the loss of her fiance, her brother in the Great War She was considered one of Surplus Women Surplus women is a phrase coined during the Industrial Revolution referring to a perceived excess of unmarried women in Britain Wikipedia The middle part of the book was better and I liked the descriptions of the bell ringing and Violet s growing relationships While I get what Chevalier seems to be portraying here, the challenges of these women in society in general, the workplace and even in their families, the delivery of the story fell short for me, felt a bit contrived at times In spite of this, I think it s worthy of three stars because as I mentioned I admired Violet and some of the other women in the broderers group, and their coming together in friendship made for a good ending I read this with Diane and Esil This has been rated higher by a number of reviewers, so we may be outliers here I received an advanced copy of this book from Viking through Edelweiss Despite having neither the temperament nor the talent to actively engage in the fiber arts, I have always had an interest in them My forays into the world of knitting and needlepoint have resulted in frustration and, I sheepishly admit, swearing like a sailor We have a world renowned art museum here which has many fine examples on display so I content myself with viewing textiles, tapestries and so on rather than actively taking part In this novel, embroidery needlepoint provides a spinster Despite having neither the temperament nor the talent to actively engage in the fiber arts, I have always had an interest in them My forays into the world of knitting and needlepoint have resulted in frustration and, I sheepishly admit, swearing like a sailor We have a world renowned art museum here which has many fine examples on display so I content myself with viewing textiles, tapestries and so on rather than actively taking part In this novel, embroidery needlepoint provides a spinster with a way to connect with other women and leave her mark upon the world in the form of decorative kneelers for the cathedral in Winchester Patterns of bell ringing at the cathedral also play a prominent role Although one incident rang false to me, this is a charming and delightful historical novel filled with women struggling to come into their own, forging a future, and casting off society s definitions of what it meant to be an independent, single female between the two world wars