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A Single Thread

by Tracy Chevalier

Books of the Month Books with reviews by our Reader Review Panel Family Drama Historical Fiction Relationship Stories

LoveReading View on A Single Thread

A lovely, gentle exploration of a bygone time, yet there is a quiet strength to this compelling read. It is also one of those books that just may surprise you. Violet Speedwell, still suffering the loss of both her fiancé and brother in the First World War, moves to Winchester in search of a new life. Canvas embroidery, bellringing, the surplus of women after the war, expectations and the judgement of society, all sit alongside each other as Violet explores new thoughts and feelings. Tracy Chevalier writes with true eloquence, the descriptions bloom, the characters sing, and she allows you to ponder, to consider. Notes of caution and unease pierce the tale, with occasional moments of biting intensity. Violet is fascinating, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her. In the acknowledgements I found out about the character who actually did exist, and I now want to explore Winchester Cathedral. Expressive and beautifully readable, A Single Thread is an engaging and rewarding tale.

Liz Robinson

A Single Thread Synopsis

It is 1932, and the losses of the First World War are still keenly felt. Violet Speedwell, mourning for both her fiance and her brother and regarded by society as a `surplus woman' unlikely to marry, resolves to escape her suffocating mother and strike out alone.

A new life awaits her in Winchester. Yes, it is one of draughty boarding-houses and sidelong glances at her naked ring finger from younger colleagues; but it is also a life gleaming with independence and opportunity. Violet falls in with the broderers, a disparate group of women charged with embroidering kneelers for the Cathedral, and is soon entwined in their lives and their secrets. As the almost unthinkable threat of a second Great War appears on the horizon Violet collects a few secrets of her own that could just change everything...

Warm, vivid and beautifully orchestrated, A Single Thread reveals one of our finest modern writers at the peak of her powers.

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Closing date: 01/11/2020

People of Abandoned Character by Clare Whitfield is a Debut of the month. To celebrate its release we're working with Head of Zeus to give away 5 signed copies of the book! "This is one of those books where there is no perfect shining light of a character to attach yourself to, life is a struggle, at times a battle, just to survive. Compelling, thought-provoking, and powerful," Liz Robinson, Expert Reviewer This draw is open only for UK residents currently in the UK and is free to enter, multiple entries from the same email address will only be counted once. The draw closes on 1st November 2020. The winners will be notified as soon as possible.

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A Single Thread Reader Reviews

In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion some of our Reader Review Panel were also lucky enough to read and review this title. You can click here to read the full reviews.

A fascinating book and a real eye-opener! Full review

Sarah Webb

This is an easy book to read and I found it very hard to stop reading it. Overall, an excellent story, well written and compelling. Full review

Susan Wallace

A highly readable book which deserves to be a best-seller Full review

Pauline Braisher

A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier is a lovely historical tale of a young women trying to be independant in a male dominated world. Set in 1930's amongst bell ringing and needlecraft this unusual setting really works! Full review

Glenda Worth

A flawless, affective depiction of a woman’s struggle for independence in interwar Britain. Full review

Clare Wilkins

it is slow paced but beautifully written and historical facts well researched. This is about a group of women who in different circumstances may have made different choices. Beautiful descriptions of Winchester Cathedral and bell ringing which has given me greater insight into this ecclesiastical world. Full review

Jane Brown

Life is at a crossroads; where does Violet find wholeness? Alongside the 'Broderers' (embroiderers); she finds that life can become a rich tapestry; beginning with 'A Single Thread!' Full review

Peter Baiden

A really beautiful and enlightening story. I loved this book! Full review

Charlotte Walker

A beautiful tale to take you back to another time with a message that is as relevant today as then. Full review

Nikki Telling

This novel yells courage. It yells freedom. It yells independence. And standing along Violet, while she finds courage when you least expect to was a moment I will cherish. Full review

Ivana Atanasova

Thoroughly enjoyable, slow paced - but in a good way, and with some historical characters thrown in for good measure - fans of Tracy Chevalier, and any woman who has had to make her own way in the world, will appreciate this book. Full review


A Single Thread Press Reviews

Praise for A Single Thread:

`I loved it. So compelling and warm and subtle, and very moving' Bridget Collins, author of The Binding

`I enjoyed A Single Thread enormously. Tracy Chevalier wonderfully evokes the social climate of the nineteen thirties - this is the intriguing story of a young woman facing the conventions and prejudices of the day, told with a wealth of detail and narrative intensity' Penelope Lively

`A deceptively quiet, deeply touching novel. Like a 20th-century Jane Austen, Chevalier draws you in with a careful, beautiful, thread, leading to new and different kinds of happiness for women to whom historical circumstance and parochial mores have not been kind' Louisa Young, author of You Left Early and My Dear I Wanted to Tell You

`In these days and in this author's hands, all love is sacred. A compelling portrait of women not lost but thriving against the odds' Kirkus Reviews

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780008153847
Publication date: 29/10/2020
Publisher: The Borough Press an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9780008153816
Publication date: 05/09/2019
Publisher: The Borough Press an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780008153816
Publication date: 5th September 2019
Author: Tracy Chevalier
Publisher: The Borough Press an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 352 pages
Genres: Books of the Month, Reader Reviewed Books, Family Drama, Historical Fiction, Relationship Stories,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945), Historical fiction,

About Tracy Chevalier

Tracy Chevalier is the author of six previous novels, including the international bestseller Girl with a Pearl Earring, The Virgin Blue, Falling Angels, The Lady and the Unicorn, Burning Bright and Remarkable Creatures. Born in Washington, DC, she moved to London in 1984, where she lives with her husband and son. The film of Girl with a Pearl Earring, starring Colin Firth as Vermeer, was released in the UK in January. It was nominated for 10 BAFTAs and two Academy Awards. Photograph © Eammon McCabe

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