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A single thread
2019
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Summary
"A buoyant tale about the path to acceptance and joy--beginning, like all journeys, with one brave step."-- People

"The best-selling novelist has done a masterful job of depicting the circumstances of a generation of women we seldom think about: the mothers, sisters, wives and fiances of men lost in World War I, whose job it was to remember those lost but not forgotten."--Associated Press

One of the New York Public Library's Best of 2019 | Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2019 ( TIME ) | Best Books of Fall ( PopSugar ) | 5 Books Not To Miss ( USA TODAY ) | 50 Best Books of the Year ( GOOD HOUSEKEEPING ) | One of the New York Post 's Fall Novels Everyone's Talking About | 13 Fall Best New Books Written by Women ( Parade ) | One of the New York Times Book Review's New & Noteworthy | One of Chicago Sun Times' "Books Not to Miss" | One of Real Simple 's Best Books of 2019 So Far

1932. After the Great War took both her beloved brother and her fiancé, Violet Speedwell has become a "surplus woman," one of a generation doomed to a life of spinsterhood after the war killed so many young men. Yet Violet cannot reconcile herself to a life spent caring for her grieving, embittered mother. After countless meals of boiled eggs and dry toast, she saves enough to move out of her mother's place and into the town of Winchester, home to one of England's grandest cathedrals. There, Violet is drawn into a society of broderers--women who embroider kneelers for the Cathedral, carrying on a centuries-long tradition of bringing comfort to worshippers.

Violet finds support and community in the group, fulfillment in the work they create, and even a growing friendship with the vivacious Gilda. But when forces threaten her new independence and another war appears on the horizon, Violet must fight to put down roots in a place where women aren't expected to grow. Told in Chevalier's glorious prose, A Single Thread is a timeless story of friendship, love, and a woman crafting her own life.
Trade Reviews
Booklist Review
Violet Speedwell's life is not what she would have wished. The Great War took her fiancé, and now, in 1932, she's a 38-year-old surplus woman. Rather than martyr herself to caring for a toxic mother, Violet moves to Winchester to work. She joins the cathedral broderers, women whose needlework glorifies the church. She finds community and is soon drawn to one of the cathedral bell-ringers. Best-selling Chevalier presents women suffering spinsterhood as embarrassing at best, shameful at worst, to themselves and others. Violet's lack of a husband is her defining feature, conveying the difficulty of building an independent life as a meager salary keeps her threadbare, cold, and constantly hungry. She is pitied and disregarded, and even female friendships, including with a lesbian couple, are problematic. Chevalier's appealing characterization of similarly unwed yet indomitable Louisa Pesel, world traveler and first president of the Embroiderers' Guild of England, provides a marked contrast in contentment and purpose. Chevalier is strongest when describing artistic pursuits, from stitchery to ringing church bells, and that is where the novel both educates and engrosses.--Bethany Latham Copyright 2010 Booklist
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