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The Violet Hour

3.06  ·  Rating Details ·  710 Ratings  ·  141 Reviews
A pitch-perfect, emotionally riveting debut novel about the fracturing of a marriage and a family – from an award-winning young writer with superb storytelling instincts.

Life hasn’t always been perfect for Abe and Cassandra Green, but an afternoon on the San Francisco Bay might be as good as it gets. Abe is a rheumatologist, piloting his coveted new boat. Cassandra is a sc
Hardcover, 354 pages
Published July 16th 2013 by Scribner (first published July 1st 2013)
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Katherine Owen, an international best-selling author has quoted about infidelity as:

“There are all kinds of ways for a relationship to be tested, even broken, some, irrevocably; it’s the endings we’re unprepared for.”

Katherine Hill, an American author, who's debut book, The Violet Hour, focuses on the subject of infidelity and mid-life crisis in a couple's married life. Honestly, after reading the book, I felt like, OMG! What the hell! The synopsis says something, whereas the story speaks about
Mar 22, 2017 Bonnie rated it it was amazing
The Violet Hour is a debut novel about the fracturing of a marriage and a family. Abe and Cassandra Green have their ups and downs, but always manage to keep their marriage intact. Abe is a rheumatologist and Cassandra is an artist. Their beautiful daughter, Elizabeth, is heading to Harvard in the fall. One day after Abe has bought a sloop and they are out on the water, they plunge into a terrible fight over Cassandra's infidelity and Abe dives out of the boat and heads for shore. This love stor ...more
Carolyn Huckabay
Apr 30, 2013 Carolyn Huckabay rated it it was amazing
Some novels are like Christmas gifts, bubble wrapped, placed in a box, embellished with patterned tissue paper, wrapped with thick paper and tied up with a tidy bow. They're self-contained units of entertainment with a beginning, middle and end, their presentation crafty, their parts intact, their ends tied up neatly. But some novels, like The Violet Hour, are more like snow globes. You never really know what's going on with those people and places inside the bubble — all you see is what happens ...more
Another dysfunctional family! I seem to be on a run of these family books for a while now. It does make me feel lucky to be part of a normal family, and that our problems are ordinary compared to those that these families deal with. Especially this one, considering I have no clue what motivates any of them to do what they do. They also commit the mistake of being boring as well as unlikeable, and sitting through 350 pages of this particular family was a pain.

Abe and Cassandra are the middle gene
Jun 22, 2013 Jennifer rated it it was ok
Originally published on my blog:

The Violet Hour had a promising beginning. The first chapter was lovely and contained a great set-up. After that things went a little haywire for this reader.

I did enjoy the characters and some aspects of this story. Sadly, there were just too many things happening at once.

Funeral homes, sculpture, medicine, sailing, siblings, and adultery were all covered in this book. On their own, those are great topics worthy of a story. But, t
May 22, 2013 Stacie added it
Shelves: fiction
I started this book yesterday and have no desire to go back and read anymore. My favorite character and the only one I thought that had any redeeming qualities has already died so I have even less of a desire to get back to it. Not every book needs to be super fast paced but this one is so slow. Not my cup of tea. Gave up on it.

Received it from NetGalley
Rebecca Foster
Beautifully written but strangely forgettable. Family members descend on Howard Fabricant’s Bethesda, Maryland funeral home for his 80th birthday party in late August 2005 – but the festivities take on a very different hue when Howard falls from the roof of the sauna he’s building and dies instantly. In an ironic twist, the undertaker becomes, as it were, the undertaken. Considering the chaos brought about by Hurricane Katrina at the same time, though, this one family’s losses fall into proper p ...more
Bonnie Brody
Jul 17, 2013 Bonnie Brody rated it really liked it
The Violet Hour has a very interesting beginning. Abe and Cassandra, a married couple, are sailing off the coast of California for the day. Their college-bound daughter, Elizabeth, is with them. Abe finds out that Cassandra is having an affair and a huge tumultuous fight ensues. Abe jumps off the boat and swims to shore. They divorce shortly afterwards.

Fast forward several years. Abe and Elizabeth have not spoken since the divorce and Elizabeth is in her last year of medical school. Cassandra's
Liz Barnsley
Oct 24, 2013 Liz Barnsley rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A compelling tale of human relationships and emotions, Katherine Hill’s “The Violet Hour” is a slow moving yet emotional tale of a rather dsyfunctional family. Telling the story of Abe and Cassandra Green, their lives, their marriage, their daughter, this is a classic family drama that ebbs and flows between events that influence and change them.

What I liked about this one is that it is not focussed on any one thing, more a selection of the ups and downs of life that change who we are. Told from
Jaime Boler
Mar 20, 2013 Jaime Boler rated it it was amazing

Katherine Hill begins her intimate and utterly beguiling first novel, The Violet Hour, on a boat. This leisure cruise ultimately charts the course of Hill’s novel. What we assume will be a fun excursion on the San Francisco Bay for Abe and Cassandra Green and their daughter, Elizabeth, leads to the end of a marriage. Hill then progresses the narrative forward from 1997 to 2005, an eight-year progression into the future that seems strange at first but then becomes clear. It is just the distance
Freddi Karp
May 02, 2013 Freddi Karp rated it it was amazing
"The Violet Hour" stayed with me long after I finished reading it. Yes, I wanted to "know" what happened next....but I have an imagination, I can puzzle through that question. No, what lingered beyond the pages were the questions implicitly raised about family. How family creates us. How we evolve with and without our family. And, how we change them. This compact but rich story does many things but Hill's use of evocative language and sharp observations to present several generations of fire-br ...more
David Goldfarb
Oct 12, 2013 David Goldfarb rated it it was amazing
A good jumping off reference point for Katherine Hill's stirring first novel would be the novels of Jonathan Franzen. Like Freedom or The Corrections, The Violet Hour is a tightly woven multi-generational, multi-perspective novel whose characters don't always reflect our best national traits: sometimes narcissistic and self-absorbed, frequently unaware of their privilege, and always mired in the pettiness of their own lives. But while Franzen's authorial tone frequently degrades to a misanthropi ...more
Dec 20, 2013 Julia rated it it was amazing
The mundane and routine components of daily life can obscure or unveil the temperament of an individual, or perhaps transform them. In "The Violet Hour," the imperfect characters evolve in their relationships to one another and their understanding of themselves. Primarily taking place in Maryland during the same week as Katrina devastated New Orleans, this story of family, loss, tragedy and love skips into the past, providing understanding of the history and motivations of the many complicated c ...more
Aug 31, 2013 Sarah rated it really liked it
More of what I like; family drama, inner monologues of a person's past, their regrets and there musings on the present and of course the faint taste of scandalous behavior.
This book was an easy read but not without depth. We learn about the marriage and fall of Cassandra and Abe Green with the backdrop being her father's death that has brought, 8 years divorced Abe back on the scene.
We learn about their daughter Elizabeth and how she's navigated through the world with her parents apart.
There is
Jul 17, 2013 Megan rated it it was amazing
This book got better and better as I read it. The prose was a pleasure, the plot was satisfying, and the characters are neither cloyingly heroic nor utterly despicable-- they're just real people with nuanced histories and eccentricities. Reading the story of the Greens is like peering into the world of the family that's been living across the street from you for decades. You are surprised and sometimes even dismayed by their thoughts and behavior, but then you forgive them because they are near ...more
Apr 29, 2013 Paula rated it it was ok
I received this copy from NetGalley.

The first chapter/ introduction held such promise for the book and the rest was bleh. The story starts with the end of a marriage and then moves both forward and backward explaining the ins and outs of this particular marriage, relationships familial, romantic, and such and how family quirks influence them.

Oct 02, 2013 Janice rated it really liked it
This was a REAL book about REAL people and REAL relationships. All people and relationships are not pretty, fun, easy, carefree, and romantic. Solid characters who you could believe in and feel their pain, aloneness, isolation, loss, etc.. - worth a read with hot tea!
Oct 08, 2013 Dave rated it it was amazing
I must say that I'm a little confused by some of the negative reviews that I've read for this book--perhaps these folks were expecting Twilight or a different type of book, but this was a very satisfying read for me.

This novel deals in human relationships: messy and dangerous, sure, but also our best hope of finding grace in our lives. Many of the relationships in this novel are not healthy ones, but the author has sufficient skill to make this dysfunction interesting and instructive without vee
Mar 27, 2014 Kathy rated it really liked it
This book is about a modern family written in a non linear fashion. By this, I mean it goes backward and forward in time, showing how the characters got to where they are today (which is at Grandpa's funeral in Maryland).

They were not "likeable" per se, but who would be, if we were realistically written about? Probably no one! It showed each character with all their flaws hanging out and all their strengths as well.

I thought it was well written and real to life .....I mean no "happily ever after
Jo Stafford
Jan 05, 2014 Jo Stafford rated it it was amazing
I was given an advance reading copy of this book when I saw the author speak at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

I absolutely loved this book, its so beautifully written. The characters are complex and engaging and there is a real depth to the story. I like how the ending isn't 'the end' of any parts of the story really, the book is a snapshot of a time in the characters lives and there is so much more of their lives left for you to imagine.

I don't read a lot of fiction, but this was wonderfu
Sep 20, 2013 Priya rated it really liked it
The book's plot surrounds 3 main figures who individually, and collectively, work through feelings of vulnerability, separation and lost love. The author's writing makes these subjects entirely compelling and the story is beautifully written. This is the author's first work and I look forward to her next book.
Wesley Ratko
Apr 30, 2013 Wesley Ratko rated it really liked it
A tightly constructed, elegantly written debut novel about three generations of women, Hill's story centers around a family's loss and the tendency we have to follow in our parents' footsteps, no matter how hard we may try not to. The author has an uncanny knack for seeing the world through different sets of eyes and for realistically flawed characters. I eagerly await her next book.
Mike Marvel
May 09, 2014 Mike Marvel rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyed it. Read it between "The Goldfinch" and "The Corrections" and it flowed as nicely for me as those. I liked the characters and the prose, though I am not silly enough to conflate the characters' likability with the book's likability.
Anton DiSclafani
Aug 12, 2013 Anton DiSclafani rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. Elegant, haunting, and totally addictive. The way Hill deals with time is stunning.
Oct 17, 2013 Aurora rated it really liked it
I loved this book. Beautiful, evocative writing and richly-drawn characters. A wonderful debut by Katherine Hill.
Aug 05, 2013 Janet rated it it was ok
I gave this one a good shot reading about 130 pages but I just couldn't get into it. I didn't care for the story or any of the characters.
Aug 23, 2013 Andrea rated it did not like it
Renita D'Silva
Sep 23, 2016 Renita D'Silva rated it liked it
A beautifully observed, sensitively portrayed story of a marriage and a family in crisis.
Robin Wright
Dec 05, 2013 Robin Wright rated it it was amazing
This slice-of-life novel is very well written and the first by author Katherine Hill. I will be watching for more novels by her.
Nathaniel Popkin
Oct 23, 2013 Nathaniel Popkin rated it really liked it
This review was originally published on Art Attack/

Most of the way through the first scene of her debut novel The Violet Hour, Katherine Hill has expertly—deftly—brought her characters and the reader to the edge. The characters are the three members of the Green family: Abe, a rheumatologist, his wife Cassandra, an artist, and their 18 year old daughter Elizabeth, who is off to Harvard in the fall, “a family rendered in its most essential, basic parts: mother, father, child.”

Hill has
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Katherine Hill is the author of The Violet Hour A Novel, (Scribner 2013). Her writing has been published in many venues including AGNI, The Believer, Bookforum, Colorado Review, The Common, The Guardian, n+1, The Paris Review Daily, Philadelphia Stories, Poets & Writers, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Wall Street Journal Speakeasy, and Word Riot. Currently an assistant editor at Barrelhouse, ...more
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