Melinda's Reviews > A Memory of Violets: A Novel of London's Flower Sellers

A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor
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bookshelves: 2015

Quite a meaningful story of sisters, embracing love, extraordinary kindness and altruism.

Alternating between the present and the past – London 1912 and London 1876 we read of two young women and their individual stories of their relationship with their sisters ensnarled in misfortune. Parallel, contrasting the stories reveal the bonds and unfastening of sisters.

Gaynor’s extensive research cannot go unnoticed as she delves into the disparity of the wealthy and impoverished coexisting in Victorian London. Introducing the reader to London’s flower girls – crippled and orphaned children selling violets and watercress as a means of survival as they make their home on the filthy harsh streets. These castaway girls steal your heart becoming a fascinating fixture in the compelling narrative. As Gaynor reveals more of these young ladies and of the historical facts you find yourself heartbroken and jubilant.

A majority of the story serves Florrie and Rosie – we understand the insurmountable loss Florrie underwent, however, the reader cannot escape Florrie’s lamentations of losing her sister, redundancy bordering annoying given the fact we learn fairly early on Rosie’s outcome.

All the characters warmed my heart, I found myself drawn to Tilly the most. Her curious nature, her yearn to solve the mystery as Florrie’s diary speaks to her, the fragrance of violets pushing her to learn of what became of little Rosie. Learning of Tilly’s background as well as her cloudy relationship with her sister was needless to say affecting.

A wonderful story revealing the harshness and softness of society, fascinating historical facts skillfully woven into a compelling narrative along with endearing characters.
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Reading Progress

October 7, 2014 – Shelved
February 1, 2015 – Started Reading
February 5, 2015 – Finished Reading

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