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Publisher's Summary

From the author of the USA Today best-seller The Girl Who Came Home comes an unforgettable historical novel that tells the story of two long-lost sisters - orphaned flower sellers - and a young woman who is transformed by their experiences. 

"For little sister...I will never stop looking for you." 

1876. Among the filth and depravity of Covent Garden's flower markets, orphaned Irish sisters Flora and Rosie Flynn sell posies of violets and watercress to survive. It is a pitiful existence, made bearable only by each other's presence. When they become separated, the decision of a desperate woman sets their lives on very different paths. 

1912. Twenty-one-year-old Tilly Harper leaves the peace and beauty of her native Lake District for London to become assistant housemother at one of Mr. Shaw's Training Homes for Watercress and Flower Girls. For years, the homes have cared for London's orphaned and crippled flower girls, getting them off the streets. For Tilly, the appointment is a fresh start, a chance to leave her troubled past behind. 

Soon after she arrives at the home, Tilly finds a notebook belonging to Flora Flynn. Hidden between the pages she finds dried flowers and a heartbreaking tale of loss and separation as Flora's entries reveal how she never stopped looking for her lost sister. 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.

©2015 Hazel Gaynor (P)2015 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about A Memory of Violets

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Lovely !

A sweet, sentimental story about love, not the romantic kind but the love between sisters, and of a father for his daughter. Be sure to have Kleenex or a hanky ready, I was choked up at about (5) minutes in. Full credit for the emotional impact of the story goes to narrator Nicola Barber. Her voices and accents were so convincing that I was able to look past some of the plot coincidences ( and there were many ). I'd recommend this to anyone who enjoyed " The Orphan Train". Different historical setting, but similar theme of children struggling to survive in brutal circumstances.

42 people found this helpful

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So so.

Certainly not remarkable, but somewhat entertaining. The story started off quite good, then became more and more predictable. Would not recommend.

33 people found this helpful

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  • GM
  • 08-04-15

Lovely

What a lovely book! I thought the author very skillfully wove together the stories of two women, set years apart. The narrator was fantastic, and for me, her performance definitely enhanced the book.

I particularly loved Florrie, how she embraced her little sister from the moment she was born and continued to be "big sister" forever.

Yes, there were a couple of nit-picky issues (predictable side stories, taking too long to "connect the dots," etc.) but still wonderful and enjoyable.

28 people found this helpful

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The importance of relationships

I enjoyed the time lapse in the novel and the unravelling of the story. The narration was compelling as the characters came alive. The foreshadowing of the interwoven lives draws the listener in to the importance of relationships and how relationships shape who we are.

23 people found this helpful

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In my top ten

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This was a fantastic story and brought alive by the reader.. I loved how it tied in the characters to the story line, along with some history I never knew about. I wish this would be come a movie or series. really it was that good!

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Memory of Violets?

Without giving away the story line.. when Tilly meets Rosie again to unravel past events.

Which character – as performed by Nicola Barber – was your favorite?

Tilly, and Flora

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes, when Tilly realizes her mother too, had worked there.

Any additional comments?

you wont be sorry, a great book, one you will think about even when the story ends.

15 people found this helpful

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A beautiful portrait of two girls lives.....

Any additional comments?

Those of us who have experienced the loss of a parent, sibling or any other significant other will relate to this beautiful story...I sat in the parking lot exit on the turnpike to listen to the final chapters...and yes...tears of understanding...one line struck deeply..."Grief is a funny thing...you need to remind yourself to breathe and tell your heart to beat". So very true...This book will take you on a journey of two young girls who have experienced great losses and great gains in the late 1800's and early 1900's...Nicola Barber did a great job with all the characters within the streets of London and country of Ireland...Ms. Barber brought the Flower Girls and others to life...I highly recommend this audiobook or book!

12 people found this helpful

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Not what I expected

Probably suitable for a girl in high school or middle school. I've never read this author so I didn't know... Story is weak with too many "coincidences"

10 people found this helpful

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A beautiful story

This was such a lovely book, beautiful yet sad. Hazel Gaynor's descriptions paint such vivid pictures of life in London during the 1800's, the hardship and the courage.
There are a lot of coincidences, but that did not detract from my love of the story. Endearing characters charmed me and drew me in, I needed to know what became of them all.
Nicola Barber narrated the story wonderfully.

20 people found this helpful

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Loved everything about this book!

Would you consider the audio edition of A Memory of Violets to be better than the print version?

Absolutely! The narrator helps this book come alive!

What was one of the most memorable moments of A Memory of Violets?

When Rosie was lost in the market.

What about Nicola Barber’s performance did you like?

Brought the story to life. Read well and perfect accent for this period piece.

Any additional comments?

Wonderful story. Kept my interest. Great team of author/narrator.

8 people found this helpful

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As beautiful as the flowers it describes!

Undiescribably beautiful. What a story! Based a true facts. The narrative is excellently executed. I have always been a sucker for Victorian Era works, and even though the timing of this one is slightly passed that period, it still brings me joy. What a piece of literature!

16 people found this helpful

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  • Pianoteacher
  • 05-17-20

Lovely gentle story.

Lovely gentle story, based on real circumstances which turned out to be a ghost story

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  • Mrs Wilma P
  • 07-20-15

Disappointing and predictable

This book is passable due only to good narration. The plot is simple and predictable. If you enjoy Mills&Boon romances, this one is for you. Too sentimental and 'nice' for my taste, but might appeal to some.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-25-19

Lovely story - I could smell the flowers

A very enjoyable book and I enjoyed the well written and read story. Sad that it has come to an end.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-17-21

A Memory of Violets

Absolutely loved the book. Couldn't put it down. Sad and hard lives people had. Glad there were happy endings for quite a few of the characters.
could have wished for the book to have lasted longer

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-15-20

Awesome.. History thrown in of the Flower Markets

Thoroughly enjoyed the Story....as will learnt some history of thous times in London ...Flower Market and Orphans.

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  • rita
  • 12-01-20

Boring book

I read the reviews and thought it sounded a goos book how wrong was I
The narrators voice was so sickly sweet ugh!,, and the story took so long to get going I gave up after a couple of chapters

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  • Natalie Matson
  • 08-06-20

A Beautiful Book

A soul lifting story read in beautiful soothing tones. A pleasure to have listened to. Thank you for taking the time, love and effort to create such a story.

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  • Jan Richardson
  • 07-28-20

Love this Author

Well written, very easy listening, the narrator is perfect for this audio brings you into the world that it was so many years ago ... loved it

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Profile Image for alison
  • alison
  • 06-04-15

Beautiful book

This was such a lovely book, beautiful yet sad. Hazel Gaynor's descriptions paint such vivid pictures of life in London during the 1800's, the hardship and the courage.
There are a lot of coincidences, but that did not detract from my love of the story. Endearing characters charmed me and drew me in, I needed to know what became of them all.
Nicola Barber narrated the story wonderfully.