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A Single Thread

Narrated by: Fenella Woolgar
Length: 10 hrs and 51 mins
Categories: Fiction, Historical
4.5 out of 5 stars (350 ratings)

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Summary

From the globally best-selling author of Girl with a Pearl Earring

It is 1932, and the losses of the First World War are still keenly felt. Violet Speedwell, mourning for both her fiancé and her brother and regarded by society as a ‘surplus woman’ unlikely to marry, resolves to escape her suffocating mother and strike out alone. 

A new life awaits her in Winchester. Yes, it is one of draughty boarding-houses and sidelong glances at her naked ring finger from younger colleagues; but it is also a life gleaming with independence and opportunity. Violet falls in with the broderers, a disparate group of women charged with embroidering kneelers for the Cathedral, and is soon entwined in their lives and their secrets. As the almost unthinkable threat of a second Great War appears on the horizon Violet collects a few secrets of her own that could just change everything....

Warm, vivid and beautifully orchestrated, A Single Thread reveals one of our finest modern writers at the peak of her powers.

©2019 Tracy Chevalier (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

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    5 out of 5 stars

A Rewarding Read by one of Our Very Best Narrators

Take to this audio/book without doubt. I bought the hard back novel and the audiobook on speculation having read several Chevalier novels before. Sad to say I was initially dubious and left them in my library. A very foolish mistake. As soon as I entered the novel it was involving and thoroughly absorbing. Fenella Woolgar is a narrator I simply cannot fault; she could narrate a book of recipes for me. I think it has now come to the point that her commissions largely endorse the book. On the novel, it is a measured progression with interest, challenges, interesting characters, surprises. It is wholly satisfying and the various rebellions seeming just. I resisted looking up the various needlepoint stiches whilst reading (or the bell ringing aspects) but that can come. Both, however, raise the question, "Why didn't I know that?" and spur to taking greater attention on visiting places. I liked the homage to volunteers, and the sense of people finding ways to make a lasting mark. The novel pricks the conscience on what we take for granted. The novel is assured. It is also cinematic and can easily see it being taken up for the screen. Enjoy without the prospect of regret.

16 people found this helpful

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singleness post-war Winchester

If you like your books full of thrill and gore and action -this is not for you. If you like an immersive, thoughtful and evocative read this one is all those things. Tracy Chevalier is consistent in her quality of writing and variety of settings. The story focuses on Violet Speedwell, a single woman in her late 30's who is under the thumb of her domineering mother. Violet's fiancee died in the war and she has little direction in life. Finally she breaks away from her mother's house and begins a new life in Winchester where she joins the Cathedral broderers.Violet comes into contact now with a range of people from different backgrounds who challenge the way she has been raised and the stereotypes of women at this time.

The power of the story is in the slowly unfolding confidence of this woman and the smallmindedness of those around her.

It is hard to describe as it is a slow, intricate read but worth it.

6 people found this helpful

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Excellent

A most interesting novel, so visual, emotive, and charming it lead me on a journey of complete admiration for its carefully crafted heroine. I loved its gentle pace. And it so beautifully read, that the text echoes on long after you have finished listening.

3 people found this helpful

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lovely tale

very moving enjoyed this novel. it's delivery is delicate and gentle, very moving and timeless.

2 people found this helpful

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A delightful story

This is a. delightful story, beautifully written, read by a warm, soothing voice.. Set between the wars, the story weaves all the characters, so that we see the effect of the first world war, and the fear of the soon to be Second World War. The struggle of the main charters, at loosing the men in their lives. Really enjoyed this, will certainly be looking for more of this authors work

1 person found this helpful

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Remarkable

It is remarkable how cleverly the story portrays how women were viewed in the 1930's

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Very well read but...

I enjoyed the characters and the meticulous research into the details of the period. However, the denouement left me wondering if Ms Chevalier had run out of patience with the attitudes and mores of the 1930s and had bundled something together to satisfy modern readers.

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thought provoking

a different kind of book for me , I found it compelling and relaxing @ the same time, although set in an earlier time I recognized it as in my early days growing up with grandparents.

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Chevalier’s triumph

A truly wonderful read. I reread it almost immediately as I missed not being involved with all its richly drawn characters. Next time I visit Winchester, the Cathedral will be so much more interesting and I’m impatient to see the needlepoint kneelers and cushions described so beautifully in these chapters. I cannot recommend ‘A Single Thread’ highly enough.

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  • RW
  • 10-02-20

A truly wonderful listen

Thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book, hadn’t read it previously (but have read a number of TC’s other books)...I cried and laughed listening to this...

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  • Footling
  • 19-10-19

Story is wooden and predictable

I'm so sorry to say that Tracy Chevalier has run out of juice. I won't be buying another of her books. Every plot and sentence of this thing was so predictable I was practically mouthing the words. Beautifully read, however.