A Single Thread
FROM THE GLOBALLY BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING
‘Bittersweet … dazzling’ Guardian
‘Deeply pleasurable … the ending made me cry’ The Times
‘Told with a wealth of detail and narrative intensity’ Penelope Lively
Violet is 38.
The First World War took everything from her. Her brother, her fiancé – and her future. She is now considered a ‘surplus woman’.
But Violet is also fiercely independent and determined. Escaping her suffocating mother, she moves to Winchester to start a new life –a change that will require courage, resilience and acts of quiet rebellion. And when whispers of another world war surface, she must live with a secret that could change everything…
‘Bittersweet … dazzling’ Guardian
‘Tracy Chevalier shows once again her ability to illuminate ordinary lives and to pay attention to those most often ignored … movingly examines hidden depths beneath quiet exteriors’ Sunday Times
‘Writing with quiet but devastating empathy, Tracy Chevalier pinpoints Violet’s predicament as a single woman, her unexpected emotional crisis and her struggle to give her life depth and meaning. I loved it’ Daily Mail
‘A well-woven story of love … Chevalier has such a sure eye for details, whether she is describing the loveliness of the cathedral or the dismal interior of a 1930s boarding house. Reading this is deeply pleasurable’ The Times
‘I enjoyed A Single Thread enormously. Tracy Chevalier wonderfully evokes the social climate of the nineteen thirties – this is the intriguing story of a young woman facing the conventions and prejudices of the day, told with a wealth of detail and narrative intensity’ Penelope Lively
’Tracy Chevalier’s quietly moving story of a woman finding freedom in the 1930s is a gem’ Stylist
‘Evocative and beautifully written’ Sunday Express Magazine
‘I loved it. So compelling and warm and subtle, and very moving’ Bridget Collins, author of The Binding
‘Evocative, beautifully written’ Daily Mirror
‘Beautifully written … utterly immersive’ Red
‘Atmospheric … wonderful’ Good Housekeeping
‘I loved it! Enchanting and full of hope. Absolutely needed in this political climate’ Laura Purcell, author of The Silent Companions
‘A fierce and moving book about the great courage of a small life’ Sadie Jones
‘It’s a chance encounter that sets Violet on an unexpectedly rewarding path in this pleasant, leisurely paced novel’ i Paper
‘Absorbing, empathetic, poignant’ Daily Mail
About the author
Tracy Chevalier is the author of ten novels, including At the Edge of the Orchard, Remarkable Creatures and Girl with a Pearl Earring, an international bestseller that has sold over five million copies and won the Barnes and Noble Discover Award. Born in Washington DC, in 1984 she moved to London, where she lives with her husband and son.
Chevalier (Girl with a Pearl Earring) celebrates the embroiderers of Winchester Cathedral in this appealing story of a 38-year-old spinster who learns needlecraft from real-life embroidery pioneer Louisa Pesel. In 1932, Violet Speedwell is what newspapers of the day call a surplus woman: unmarried and likely to remain so. Working as a typist in Winchester, Violet visits the cathedral, where she admires the intricate canvas embroidery on the kneelers, cushions, and other accessories. She joins the Winchester Cathedral Broderers Group and, after an unpromising start, becomes proficient under the mentorship of group founder Louisa Pesel. A fellow embroiderer introduces Violet to Arthur Knight, a 60-year-old married bell-ringer who, like Violet, has suffered the death of a loved one. Arthur protects Violet from a stalker and takes her to the bell tower to show her the ropes. Violet's confidence grows as she learns to handle a needle, her mother, and her own desires. Chevalier excels at detailing the creative process, humanizing historical figures and capturing everyday life. With its bittersweet romance and gentle pace, Chevalier's latest may be less powerful than her best novels, but it vividly and meticulously shows how vision, teamwork, and persistence raise needlecraft from routine stitching to an inspirational and liberating art.