A Violet Season
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A Violet Season

3.75 of 5 stars 3.75  ·  rating details  ·  248 ratings  ·  61 reviews
A mother’s choices in a time of crisis threaten the one person she means to protect — her only daughter — and force her to make the boldest move of her life.

The violet industry is booming in 1898, and a Hudson Valley farm owned by the Fletcher family is turning a generous profit for its two oldest brothers. But Ida Fletcher, married to the black sheep youngest brother, has...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Simon & Schuster
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Violets were popular flowers in the late 1800s, and the two older Fletcher brothers owned a violet farm in the Hudson Valley. Their younger brother, Frank Fletcher, worked as a farmhand for them since he lost his inheritance in some youthful wrongdoing. In addition to working at the violet farm and doing household chores, Frank's wife, Ida, has been wet nursing to make extra money. Desperate for cash to pay back his brothers, Frank took their daughter Alice to New York City to work. Alice has no...more
Rebecca Huston
This is a compelling novel set in upstate New York at the turn of the twentieth century. There's family rivalry, lost love, and a hardscrabble life. Despite the depressing aspects of the story, I found this to be a very carefully researched and constructed novel with plenty of human interest to keep the reader motivated in finding out what happens next. There is a warning however, some of the story is rather dark and frank in content, so it is not for squeamish readers. All in all, this was a ve...more
Vera Marie
Sep 12, 2012 Vera Marie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women, those interested in history,
It took a while–-maybe 35 pages–-for A Violet Season to capture me. But once I was hooked, I could not put it down. Kathy Leonard Czepiel takes her time setting the stage for this historical novel, introducing all of the family members on a violet farm near Rhinebeck, New York in the late 19th century.

The conflict between husband and wife (Frank and Ida) lies nearly buried underneath their daily routines of hard work on the farm. Besides all the hand-laundry, cooking, cleaning, vegetable garden...more
Marianne Barone
I loved this book. The story centers around a mother and daughter in turn of the century 1900 upstate New York. It is wonderfully written with rich details. The plight of being a woman during those times was also a theme and reading this made me grateful for all the freedoms that we enjoy today.
I love books that teach me something, while catching me up in a story that makes me keep reading. This book taught me about quite a few subjects I had no idea about. How were violets harvested and sold in the time when giving your sweetheart a violet to wear was the fashion? How did women who lived in the 1890s feed their babies if they were unable to produce breast milk? (I had this problem with my newborn because I had severe anemia, but we have so many formula options in this age). What kind...more
Connie Mayo
Enjoyable historical fiction, and the plot had suspense. Plus you get to learn about the violet business - who knew that was a business?

As sometimes happens, I think this (female) author has painted the female characters (the mother Ida and the daughter Alice) very well, but less so with the male characters (the father Frank and also Joe). Since you do get inside the heads of the two female characters, that does give the author more room to explore their emotions, but I didn't always understand...more

Steeped in the rich history of pre-turn of the century violet farming, A Violet Season, explores the conflicts and pressures imposed on the Fletcher family, Hudson Valley violet farmers, who are trying to survive on a meager agrarian income.

Patriarch, Frank Fletcher has been relegated to a farm manager by his property owning brothers, and is bitter and angry at his demotion. His wife,Ida, in addition to working the farm and greenhouses, also works as a “w...more
Eileen Charbonneau
Heartrending and compelling. Wonderfully detailed, with pitch-perfect scenes. Details of late 19th century life wonderfully rendered. Flawed but loving relationship between a mother and daughter was my favorite aspect of a multi-dimentional novel.
Apr 02, 2013 Brittany marked it as to-read
I was supposed to receive this book through the First Reads giveaway program on Goodreads, but didn't.

August 14, 2012 - Still haven't received my copy.

April 1, 2013 - Nope. Still no copy.
Patty Mccormick
This book was released in 2012 and yes I read it as a real book, a paperback. I love the cover. I love anything purple and my birth month flower is the violet. It is Kathy Czepiel’s first book, hopefully not the last!! This book is a great historical fiction book set in the late 1800′s. It is a story that revolves around the Fletcher family and the family business of violet raising in the Hudson River Valley. We get a look at how hard the women worked in their everyday lives.

Alice has quit schoo...more
The story takes place in the late 1800's in the Hudson River valley. The Fletcher family has a violet farming business. The story revolves around Ida who is married to the younger brother of the family, Frank, and her teenaged daughter, Alice. Frank is the black sheep of the family for a prior transgression that hurt the family. His penance to pay back what he owes the family is both monetary and in no ownership of the family business. In order to get more money, he pushes his wife to work as a...more
Khris Sellin
Set in the fictional town of Underwood in the Hudson Valley in 1898, this is the story of Ida and Frank Fletcher and their family. Frank works in the violet industry, a family business run by his older brothers. Frank should have been in partnership with them but a misstep he made as a youth lost money for the family and has made him the black sheep, and now he is working to pay off his debt to them. Ida works alongside him there and takes in extra work to bring in income, and now has become a w...more
Alexandra Grabbe
Anyone who likes historical fiction should get a copy of Kathy Leonard Czepiel’s first novel. A Violet Season transported me a century back in time. The story is set in New York State, north of Poughkeepsie, where I attended college. I had no idea the area once produced violets, or even that violets were fashionable. Czepiel’s late 1890s felt spot on. Ida, the heroine, raises her many children on a farm. Her husband Frank’s family is in the violet business. To supplement income, Ida takes in bab...more
I was anxious to read this book because it was written by a friend of my daughter. Kathy Czepiel has written a great first novel! The setting is the Hudson Valley, the time begins in 1898. Ida is married to a violet farmer who is embittered by his exclusion to the same business rights and profits that his brothers benefit from in the violet business. The situation has created a cold, mean man. Ida suffers in a loveless marriage and can only hope that life will take a better turn for her daughter...more
Darn, I think I'm a fan of historical fiction -- who woulda thunk? With the Nor'easter, I had the time to read this book in large chunks and savor the narrative. The prose was smooth and effectively transported me to the late 1800s violet industry in the Hudson Valley. The Poughkeepsie News blurbs and an interview with a Ms. Vreeland for The Women of Albany County about growing up during the violet heyday set the tone and hooked me. (Who even knew there was a violet heyday? Though, those repress...more
A compelling tale of the plight of women from working class backgrounds at the turn of the century in NY's Hudson Valley.

This novel had a little bit of everything: intrigue, unrequited romance, family drama and secrets, as well as fascinating history about violet farming. I was unaware what a popular and lucrative farming endeavor this was just a couple hours away from where I live.

This was a well done first novel. The history was gently woven into the story which isn't always the case with hi...more
(Lonestarlibrarian) Keddy Ann Outlaw
A mixed bag for me. Slow to start, then towards the middle more engaging as the subjagation of women around the turn of the 20th century is clearly brought to life. A boor of a man whose anger infects every facet of his life totally ruins the life of his wife and daughter. Don't want to get into spoilers, so won't specify the plot elements involving the daughter, Alice. Ida, her mother is a wet nurse, in additon to the family's laundress, cook, etc. Alice is also expected to pitch in at peak tim...more
Great read!

War, violet farming, and women's suffrage provide the context for the unfolding of a story about the relationships between women, with particular focus on a mother, Ida and her daughter, Alice. What emerges are the demands and limitations of these women in supporting their families while adhering to societal codes and expectations that almost seem a separate character intent on securing their subjugation.

From the very beginning of the novel, the reader is immersed in the richly envi...more
Dec 22, 2012 Christine rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Historical fiction
Recommended to Christine by: Goodreads win
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan Kane
Really hard to put down! It also had an interesting take on mother daughter relationships in a time where women couldn't protect themselves, more or less their daughters.
Kathleen Granger
Fascinating yet painful account of abuse in Victorian era. Gripping.
Cheryl Lee
I learned some history from this.
Gabi Coatsworth
I loved this novel about life in the late 19th century. I read it by flashlight and candlelight due to Hurricane Sandy, and this may have enhanced the feeling of the period that's so well evoked by the author. I could see, smell and hear the New York City and Hudson Valley 1899. The two main characters, Alice and Ida, realistically reflect the issues and problems facing women at that time, against a background of the family business, growing violets. Yet I wsasn't reading for the issues, just wa...more
This book began as an innocent read. The struggles of life on a violet farm and the strained family dynamics made it a good read. Then over half way thru it quickly turned into a story I wasn't expecting. A couple of pretty graphic scenes that were out of place with the innocence of the rest of the writing. I loved the ending but didn't appreciate the crassness in a couple of places. The topic was definitely not innocent, but it should have been toned down for this particular book, to match the...more
John Thomas
This is a beautifully written, wonderfully researched, and moving book. The story grabbed me immediately and still hasn't let me go, though I finished reading the book a couple of weeks ago

Author Kathy Leonard Czepiel has managed to tell a vibrant, compelling tale while also weaving in allusions to issues of women's rights, social justice, and the power of the family. It's a deeply satisfying, thought provoking, page turner.

Highly recommended!

I can't wait for Kathy Leonard Czepiel's next book!
This book was super. I enjoyed it very much.
I would be willing to bet that this topic was as hard to write about as it was to read, if not more so. So many parts of this book were so open and realistic that I easily imagined people I am close to as the characters, and found myself giving reactions as if they actually WERE people I knew. A heart-wrenching story about women trying to find their place in the world around the turn of the century.
Written in deep, beautiful prose, A Violet Season created a slow build with an ending that was not tied up so neatly in a bow. Normally, I find this frustrating, but this conclusion was actually satisfying. The setting is close to where I grew up in New York State and the author is a colleague's wife, both reasons for me to give this book a try. I'd love to see what Kathy Czepiel has in store next!
Although I don't think this book is a 5 star book, I'm going to give it 5 stars because I loved reading about the Hudson Valley! It was a lovely book. I enjoyed learning about the history...historical fiction is a great way to learn about our past in a non-boring way. Thank you Kathy Leonard Czepiel for writing a facinating, well written book. I look forward to your next book.
A Violet Season delivers the perfect balance of historical detail, carefully crafted characters, and rich narrative. Heart-pounding at times, heartbreaking at others, A Violet Season's imagery and undercurrent of societal unrest does justice to an earlier time and sheds light on the challenges we face today. This book is a real triumph ... debut novel or not.
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Kathy Leonard Czepiel is the author of A Violet Season (Simon & Schuster), named one of the best books of 2012 by Kirkus Reviews. The novel, set on a Hudson Valley violet farm in 1898-99, has been hailed by Robert Olmstead as "fully imagined and beautifully written." Czepiel's short fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Cimarron Review, Indiana Review, and CALYX. She is...more
More about Kathy Leonard Czepiel...
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