Skip to content

A Single Thread, by Tracy Chevalier.

July 13, 2019

A single Thread
A Single Thread, by Tracy Chevalier.  Penguin, September, 2019.


4 stars

The story of a woman in her thirties, single in England after World War I, defining herself outside of marriage.

Tracy Chevalier has established herself as a popular author of novels in a variety of English settings.  Born in 1962 and raised in the United States, she attended Oberlin College, graduating with a degree in English.  Then she moved to England where she worked in publishing until earning an MA in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia.  She has published nine novels, including The Girl with the Pearl Earring.

Violet, the major character in Chevalier’s newest book, lost both her brother and her fiancée in the “Great War.”  She is part of a generation of “surplus women” left after World War I because of its excessive male casualties.  Her father has also died, and she finds herself living at home caring for her cantankerous mother.  Taking her life in her own hands, she moves to nearby Winchester where she becomes involves with a group of “brodierers,” women who are embroidering cushions for the Winchester Cathedral.  She also meets men who are bell ringersat the church.  Forced to meet challenges, she makes hard choices as she grows into an independent individual.

Chevalier is an enjoyable writer and it is easy to see why she popular.  Her detailed research on the embrodieries and bellringers opens new doors for readers.  She also places her characters in the context of both the First World War and the growing threat of the Second World War.  Although the situations that she portrays are specific to her time and place, the questions of loyalty to family that she raises are universal.

I gladly recommend this novel.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. July 13, 2019 9:54 am

    Good to know you recommend it because I have a request for a copy pending with the publishers . One of previous novels – forget the name but it was set in Belgium I think – had a lot of fascinating info about tapestries and how they were made so I shall look forward to reading about the embroidery in this one

    • July 14, 2019 1:48 pm

      I think you will enjoy it. The sections on the embroidery and the bells are very detailed, yet woven into the narrative. Somewhere online I found pictures of the embroidery, but I haven’t been able to find it again. Seeing it helped a great deal. Please let me know if you find it.

      • August 31, 2019 10:06 am

        I did enjoy it as you can see from my recent review. Though I didnt think the romance aspect was all that convincing

  2. Pat Robbennolt permalink
    July 13, 2019 3:49 pm

    I will look forward to reading this. I enjoyed The Girl With the Pearl Earring…had not been aware of her Oberlin connection.

  3. July 14, 2019 1:31 pm

    Good. I think one or the other book group would like it.

  4. July 14, 2019 1:58 pm

    Here are some pictures, though not the ones I found first and liked most.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: