A Single Thread - Tracy Chevalier

A Single Thread

By Tracy Chevalier

  • Release Date: 2019-09-17
  • Genre: Historical
Score: 4
From 214 Ratings


"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

A BEST BOOK OF 2019 with The New York Public Library | USA TODAY | Real Simple | Good Housekeeping | Chicago Sun Time | TIME | PopSugar | The New York Post | Parade

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.


  • Fine book

    By MV summer resident
    Excellent recreation of the life of a ‘surplus woman’ in 1930s England. Nice to learn about the Winchester broderers as a bonus.
  • A Single Thread

    By Bluehairedlady
    Very boring.
  • A Single Thread

    By kentla1026
    I enjoyed reading this book so much! What a wonderful way to discover life after WWI for so many women. Imagine losing your loved ones and coming to terms with how your life stretches before you very different than planned. For women today to hear “there were so few men” after the war, it wouldn’t affect them as did in post war 20’s and 30’s. There just weren’t options for women. Learning about the broaderers was fascinating to me. I also appreciated learning about bell-ringing, who knew? Most of all, I loved the story between Violet and Arthur. A very unconventional love that was heartbreaking and uplifting. Of course, over time, I will imagine a happier ending and probably forget the proper ending! Age does that to me, ever changing things through my “rose coloured glasses”.