Tuesday, February 17, 2015
A Memory of Violets - Hazel Gaynor
This weekend found me curled up with Hazel Gaynor's newest novel, A Memory of Violets.
A Memory of Violets is a historical piece set in a time frame I enjoy - actually two time frames - 1876 and 1912 England.
1876. Florrie, her younger sister Rosie and their mother are flower sellers on the mean streets of London. When their mother dies, eight year old Florrie attempts to look after her blind sister. But the fates have different plans....Rosie disappears in the blink of an eye....and Florrie desperately searches for her.
1912. Tilly Harper accepts a housekeeping position at the Training Home for Watercress and Flower Girls. It's a home for crippled, orphaned destitute flower girls saved from those same mean streets. When Tilly goes to unpack her clothes into the wardrobe, she finds an old wooden box, a journal and many pressed flowers.
Now, as readers, we're privy to both past and present as the chapters alternate. We can easily see the connections even as Tilly reads her way through the past. Knowing the outcome early on (although Gaynor threw in an extra serendipitous connection I didn't see coming) did not detract from my enjoyment of this historical piece at all. I was quite fascinated with the main premise of Gaynor's novel and found myself on the Internet looking up this up. On finishing the novel and reading the author's notes, I found that Gaynor had based her novel on what I had discovered. John Groom did indeed open a flower girl mission in the setting described. Many of the details of Gaynor's story pay homage to Groom.
A Memory of Violets is a gentle, sentimental, heartwarming read, comforting in its sedate pacing. Love, family and friends lost and found, all wrapped in the fragrance of flowers - and a wee bit of magic. Read an excerpt of A Memory of Violets.
In addition to writing historical fiction, |Gaynor also writes a popular guest blog, Carry on Writing, for national Irish writing website writing.ie, where she shares her thoughts and experiences of the writing process, and also offer tips and advice. Originally from Yorkshire, England, Gaynor now lives in Ireland with her husband, two young children and an accident-prone cat. You can keep up with Hazel Gaynor on Facebook, as well as on Twitter. See what others on the TLC book tour thought. Full schedule can be found here.