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A Violet Season

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  398 ratings  ·  84 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
Paperback, 272 pages
Published July 10th 2012 by Simon Schuster
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Average rating 3.74  · 
Rating details
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Connie G
Mar 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Aug 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 gar
Feb 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Marianne Barone
Aug 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 24, 2013 rated it liked it

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
Connie Mayo
Dec 13, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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. ...more
Eileen Charbonneau
May 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
I am from the Hudson Valley, and Ms Czepiel got the setting dead on. I love reading a book and picking up local place names and descriptions, and hearing familiar family names used for characters. As a local historian, the author got the period details of 1898 right. The violet industry was a brief but intense business in the area. She researched how it was done, and deftly inserted that into the story. Even details on doing laundry, or the feel of sewing on a treadle sewing machine, added to t ...more
Melissa T
This book was very slow to start and didn't really hold my attention in the beginning. Once it got going, I felt that there was a big lack of character development, and that the story itself could have been better developed. The main reason for Alice's father's actions isn't even explained until over halfway through the book, just hinted at. And many of the rest of the character relationships are strained which makes the interactions toward the end all that much more unbeliveable.

This is a painf
Carmela devito
Jul 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Ida and husband Frank work on a violet farm in the Hudson Valley region of New York State. Struggling financially Ida takes on the added responsibility of nursing babies for women unable to do so. Unknown to Ida, Frank takes their oldest daughter Alice, to New York City to work as a housemaid in a house of ill repute. The ladies of the house take a liking to Alice and try to protect her from the seedier side of life in the house. Growing concerned as she has not heard from Alice in some time, Id ...more
Jocelyn Leigh
Jun 21, 2019 rated it it was ok
"Society had assigned women a single wage-earning occupation: getting a husband."
"A man who cared only for the future of his sons was a danger to his daughters."
"Your best revenge is to refuse to play the part they've given you.
Athena Hailey
Aug 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Took atleast 20 pages to get my attention, but after that i couldn't bring myself to put it down. Great quick read. ...more
Kris Johnson
Feb 11, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: book-group-book
History of life in the late 1800s in the Hudson Valley -- on a violet farm-- interesting.
three stars due to lack of depth in the plot and characters.
An easy read - and worth the read.
Patty Mccormick
Sep 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Lindsay Heller
This book was really interesting and thanks to my dear friend for buying it and carting it all the way to Switzerland to give it to me. And my apologies for taking a year to read it. I have long been interested in the Hudson Valley area, but didn't know the history of violet growers working out of the area at the turn of the century. This book deals with violets, but mostly with the growers.

Ida Fletcher's husband Frank has been under the thumb of his brothers since a mistake he made in his yout
Khris Sellin
Oct 25, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 20, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Alexandra Grabbe
Oct 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 17, 2012 rated it liked it
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
May 12, 2015 rated it liked it
I picked up this book out of curiosity going on with the title and book cover design. I would always assume that no such publishers would put such lovely efforts on the cover if the story wouldn’t be as charming as the cover would be. Hence, I gave it a try.

There’re lots of reason to like Ms. Czepiel’s creation. The more-or-less 250 paged book was filled with things seemingly fully imagined life during the closure of the 19th century.

From the story of an unfair land inheritance between the Fletc
[Shai] Bibliophage
My Rating: 4.5

I was not expecting that I will finished this novel within 24 hours. This well-written historical fiction novel is really a page turner. I was also quite surprised that Czepiel did her research well about the Violet industry, wet nursing and prostitution during that era.

I just hate how women were treated during those years. We are like second class citizen because the way some men value us. The characters of Alice and her mother Ida standing from their own battles shows how women c
An enjoyable story about a mother and her children and a controlling, violent husband and father.
Ida is the mother of several children, and works as a wet nurse to make more money. Her hubby Frank is a mean man who behaves musteriously. Ida never seems strong enough to confront him, even after he brings home a baby and has no information on it's parents. Then when he goes to New York for a festival highlighting the violets they grow in a family business, he shows up at home with another random
Mar 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
(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
Dec 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Dec 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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.
Jessica White
May 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
I just finished A Violet Season by Kathy Leonard Czepiel. It was a slow but good read. I don't know if I would classify it Christian or Mainstream. Certainly the characters are 'Christian' but you don't really see the hand of God moving in it. Nothing is attributed to Him. Nothing the characters do comes from any direct word or prompting. In addition, there are a few graphic scenes which would fall outside the CBA guidelines, but they really add to the experience of one of the characters as she ...more
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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. Kathy's free videos for book clubs appear here on Goodreads and weekly on YouTube at Better Book Clubs ( Her short fiction has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Cimarron Review, Indiana Review, and CALYX, and she ...more

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