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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

Overall rating

4.2 out of 5
5 Stars
40 reviews have 5 stars
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29 reviews have 4 stars
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All Book Reviews

  • A Single Thread

    This was a delightful story of the time between the two world wars. So many women lost the oppotunity of a fulfillng life when husbands and fiances were killed during World War 1. This the story of how one woman found happines whe she moved to Winchester and joined an embroiderery group. Tracy Chevalier has researched the history of the cushions and kneelers still used in the Winchester Cathedral and written a great story in her easy to read style

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    23 person found this review helpful

    23 people found this review helpful

    23 of 23 people found this review helpful

  • Stunning & Remarkable!

    If your favoured reading material is a novel with a good sprinkling of history, gentleness and humour, then feel free to read this latest offering by Tracy Chevalier - A Single Thread. I loved this book. I although I have only read one of Chevalier's other books, I still consider myself a bit of a fan and I knew I would thoroughly enjoy this one. More used to reading fast-paced, dark thrillers, this book was a soothing, calming read for me. It described a restricted life of a woman who wanted something more in a time when this caused problems. With a deftly articulated historical setting, the book was set in the early 1930's as it told the story of the main character, a woman called Violet Speedwell who moved to Winchester to start to make her own way in life, joining a group of embroiderers who were creating cushions for the cathedral. Her life was well-described and well researched and the novel had a female-centred twist. Violet was a lovely character although the book had a number of great characters, some whom were very likeable and others were a lot less personable. I was rooting for Violet and her friends and I found the embroidery aspect fascinating, although I have rather limited ability with a needle myself. This story was wonderfully understated and gentle, about a bye-gone age when societies rules and foibles were generally strictly obeyed. Tracy Chevalier, a talented and accomplished story-teller. is certainly an author who can create a picture, a character and an atmosphere with the appearance of great skill and effortlessness. I loved the gentle humour and there were some fantastic and absurd stories, as well as moments of menace as Violet showed just how assertive and forceful she could be on occasions of threat and risk. There was unrequited love but healing too and the ending of the book was lovely, unexpected and optimistic. The writing was beautiful and the story memorable and noteworthy and I'm certain that this is one of those books that will remain with me. I recommend A Single Thread, without hesitation, to anyone who is partial to historical, contemporary or classic fiction. I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from HarperCollins UK via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion. Thank you also to Pigeonhole and Tracy Chevalier for giving me the opportunity to read this book!

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    6 person found this review helpful

    6 people found this review helpful

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Boring and annoying -- just awful

    The quality of Tracy Chevalier's novels is sliding downhill. I appreciated her earlier ones where historical individuals like the poet William Blake in "Burning Bright" and, of course, the painter Vermeer in "Girl with a Pearl Earring" appear alongside fictional ones. She has even used the technique of multiple perspectives in "Falling Angels". There is a real embroiderer in this novel but nobody has ever heard of her and I, for one, am not in the least motivated to find out more. The writing in "A Single Thread" is so hum-drum that you might think it was not by Ms Chevalier at all but by some newcomer -- "Tessa Carpentier" or "Tonya Cartier" !! The embroidery theme was dull but even worse was the bell-ringing . I didn't really get the "hang" of that technique, and what's worse, I did not really care. The characters are so underdeveloped and some of the minor ones are just caricatures. I am also particularly annoyed when authors (or their editors) seem to feel obliged to include "modern" themes -- here homoseuality-- in their works to appeal to current tastes. So contrived . To conclude, every time Winchester Cathedral was mentioned that silly song from the sixties kept running through my head. I was already bored by this novel and it just got worse and worse.

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    5 person found this review helpful

    5 people found this review helpful

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Single Thread

    A great read, insight into country England, the ongoing impacts of life post war, the prejudices, the struggles and overcoming grief. A book that takes you to a world you had not considered, bell ringing will never be heard in the same way again. Likewise embroidery and the gift of handmade to community. Shall look for this author again.

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    1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Forgetable

    Simple story strung out. Life's too short to read this

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    1 person found this review helpful

    1 people found this review helpful

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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