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A Memory of Violets In , twenty year old Tilly Harper leaves the peace and beauty of her native Lake District for London, to become assistant housemother at Mr Shaw s Home for Watercress and Flower Girls For years, the home has cared for London s flower girls orphaned and crippled children living on the grimy streets and selling posies of violets and watercress to surviveSoon after she arrives, Tilly discovers a diary written by an orphan named Florrie a young Irish flower girl who died of a broken heart after she and her sister, Rosie, were separated Moved by Florrie s pain and all she endured in her brief life, Tilly sets out to discover what happened to Rosie But the search will not be easy Full of twists and surprises, it leads the caring and determined young woman into unexpected places, including the depths of her own heart 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 r 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 relike 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 littlebefore sending her next novel to her editor This is a heartwarming and a heart wrenching novel Set in the early 1900 s it highlights the misfortune of the children, many homeless, that populated London Many were crippled, ill used by those in their small hovels, and others had no one They sold flowers to survive, to eat or to stop them from getting a beating at home for not bringing back enough money Albert Shaw, based on the very real John Grooms, saw their misfortune and started homes for these poor young woman When they are old en This is a heartwarming and a heart wrenching novel Set in the early 1900 s it highlights the misfortune of the children, many homeless, that populated London Many were crippled, ill used by those in their small hovels, and others had no one They sold flowers to survive, to eat or to stop them from getting a beating at home for not bringing back enough money Albert Shaw, based on the very real John Grooms, saw their misfortune and started homes for these poor young woman When they are old enough they are taught to make fabric flowers Tilly, a young woman, escaping from a home life that carries with it a great misfortune, arrives to become a house mother at one of the homes The story is related alternately by Florrie, a young Irish girl whose mother dies and is left in the care of her drunken father and in charge of her four yr old sister One day while selling flowers, Rose goes missing and Florrie will spend the rest of her life looking for her.We learn about the terrible conditions on the street, secrets and a strange coincidence in Tilly s past and read the journals written by Florrie, we meet several of these young girls and are treated to some of the most wonderful, caring people A very good book, that I perhaps gave a sentimental rating, but this is all based on fact although the story is the authors own The author does a wonderful job keeping the Reader s interest by the changing perspective of the plot Well worth a read if these type of stories are to you liking I for one am glad I read it, was a good book for over the holidays, showing some reform minded Victorians that had some very giving spirits These homes operated for over 100 years.ARC from publisher This review can also be found at Carole s Random Life 4 Stars Every once in a while, I am lucky enough to pick up a book that I just can t seem to get out of my mind This was one of those books I found myself thinking about this book constantly during the course of my day I told my daughter about it and anyone else who would listen I couldn t turn the story off in my head I just had to know what happened to Florrie and Rosie.My favorite parts of the book were were set in the late 1800 s in This review can also be found at Carole s Random Life 4 Stars Every once in a while, I am lucky enough to pick up a book that I just can t seem to get out of my mind This was one of those books I found myself thinking about this book constantly during the course of my day I told my daughter about it and anyone else who would listen I couldn t turn the story off in my head I just had to know what happened to Florrie and Rosie.My favorite parts of the book were were set in the late 1800 s in London and told from Florrie s perspective For some reason, I really connected with her character As her story unfolded during the first half of the book, I was completely mesmerized I could imagine her as a young child taking responsibility for her younger sister, Rosie The love that Florrie felt for her sister was incredibly powerful for me.This story was also told from Tilly s point of view during the early 1900 s Tilly goes to work as an assistant housemother at Mr Shaw s Home for Watercress and Flower Girls She soon finds Florrie s journal in her room and becomes interested in what happened and makes a vow to find Rosie Tilly has things that she needs to deal with in her own life and working at the home along with looking for Rosie seems to help her with that I absolutely loved the first half of this book I loved Florrie and Rosie s story and it really made me think about what it must have been like for a young orphan with a disability living in that time period I think that the writing did a fabulous job of showing the reader how these children suffered There were several twists during the first half that caught me completely off guard that I really enjoyed The style of writing was wonderful with a very distinctive voice for each of the points of view The characters in this story were so vivid and likeable and I felt like I was right there with them I liked the second half of the book but it didn t hold the magic that I felt with the first half I think that one main reason for that was that Florrie was not as much of a focus The second half of the novel felt muchpredictable for me and I was able to guess how things would end There was a bit of magical realism thrown in towards the end of the book that I really didn t think added much to the story I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction This story about the love of a sister is moving This isn t the kind of book that I normally pick up but I am so very glad that I did This story is one that will stay with me for a long time This is the first book by Hazel Gaynor that I have had a chance to read but I plan to continue reading her work in the future I received an advance reader edition of this book from William Morrow Paperbacks via Edelweiss for the purpose of providing an honest review. Tilly, Flora, and Rosiethree characters connected by time, London, and flowers.Flora, crippled and in care of her little sister since their mother died, lost her younger, blind sister Rosie on the street as they were selling flowers Flora made it her life s quest to find Rosie Tilly, a housemother at an orphanage where Flora stayed years before, makes a connection to both Flora and Rosie through a diary Tilly finds in the closet in her room at the orphanage Tilly feels she was destined to Tilly, Flora, and Rosiethree characters connected by time, London, and flowers.Flora, crippled and in care of her little sister since their mother died, lost her younger, blind sister Rosie on the street as they were selling flowers Flora made it her life s quest to find Rosie Tilly, a housemother at an orphanage where Flora stayed years before, makes a connection to both Flora and Rosie through a diary Tilly finds in the closet in her room at the orphanage Tilly feels she was destined to find the diary a nd to find Rosie Tilly felt Flora s presence in her room through the smell of violets and cold breezes Could Flora really be in the room Tilly now occupied Could she and Flora together find Rosie, and could Tilly find what she was looking for in life and ease the sadness about her own life Going back and forth in time and telling Flora and Rosie s story was intriguing and beautifully told A MEMORY OF VIOLETS is a book set in the time period and place that I thoroughly enjoy.the 1800 s in London It also has a character based on a real person.You will mingle with proper Victorian ladies as well as poverty stricken children and families Descriptions of both ends of the economic scale make this book absolutely wonderful The beautiful writing and descriptions keep you glued to the pages and give you the feeling that you are sharing every situation with the characters Tilly s story is as good as Flora s and Rosie s story and reveals a secret she finds out about herself.The characters are warm and inviting A MEMORY OF VIOLETS is going to be a favorite for 2015, and the characters will remain in my memory long after I turn the last page A MEMORY OF VIOLETS has a marvelous writing style and storyline The book s beginning and ending make a full circle of life filled with love, understanding, and compassion I loved A MEMORY OF VIOLETS The ending is chilling and oh so tender and beautiful You need to make room in your toppling TBR stacks for A MEMORY OF VIOLETS 5 5 This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review

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