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

A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor
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it was ok

The one real strength in this book is the description of the London streets, the evocative imagery of flower sellers and the trials they went through.

This book suffers from several enormous problems, however. While I won't give away the plot, the concept of "plot twist" is abandoned in favor of some of the most improbable coincidences I've ever read. I just remember shaking my head in disgust. You can use coincidence once, even twice, and get away with it - but five or six times, and it's just ridiculous.

The book is set between alternating points of view - the older from the 1876 POV of a flower seller, Florrie, who at the tender age of eight becomes responsible for the full support of her blind four-year-old sister, Rosie. This is the emotional heart of the book - Rosie rings true.

Unfortunately, Rosie has to share the book with Tilly, who becomes the 1912 POV of a young housemother journeying to London. Tilly just can't stop tripping over coincidence, and it's hard to like her in spite of it. We hear a lot about her relationships with the girls under her care - but just briefly, and never anything like an anecdote, just that Tilly is growing to understand things about these women. We don't get the treat of actually seeing her interact with them - they're more like wallpaper. Tilly has a sister as well - and apparently their relationship isn't great. Not that the reader gets to witness it - after a lot of "dramatic" buildup, we meet her sister, and in that one conversation, there's absolutely no drama, just a quick capitulation. We never get to see them interact afterwards - just a weak metaphor about taking down a wall.

There's also a weak romance for Tilly, but there's so little interaction between the characters that it's not exactly a dramatic point in the book.

Verdict: Despite some good writing, Ms. Gaynor needs to flesh out her characters a little more before sending her next novel to her editor.
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Reading Progress

December 12, 2014 – Shelved
March 18, 2015 – Started Reading
March 19, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Kim (new) - rated it 3 stars

Kim Yes, I agree whole-heartedly with your review!


message 2: by Mayda (new)

Mayda Thanks for the review. Too many good books to spend time reading a poorly written one.


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