A Memory of Violets is the first book I’ve read for the Alphabet Soup Challenge! This is a story of London’s Flower Sellers.
Flora and Rosie Flynn are sisters, orphaned at a young age. In 1876, they live in the filth and squalor of London, selling flowers. Flora keeps her younger sister Rosie close to her, clinging to one another, devoted. One day they are separated and their lives take a very different path. Flora never forgets her younger sister ~ always searching for her.
In 1912, Tilly Harper leaves her home in the Lake District to work as an assistant housemother at Mr. Shaw’s Home for Watercress and Flower Girls. When she arrives at the home, she discovers a box with a journal in it. Tilly reads the journal and learns the story of Flora and Rosie. Tilly decides to search and learn what happened to the missing Rosie.
I loved this story. The author transported me from the beautiful Lake District, to the filth and horrific conditions of London. Here I met Flora and Rosie, without proper food and clothing ~ ignored, stepped on ~ clinging to one another, and Flora determined to take care of her younger sister! Here in the filth and disease the author also introduces us to individuals who care about the children living in these horrific conditions, one of them being Mr. Shaw. The girl’s in Mr. Shaw’s home are crippled or have a significant handicap. It was amazing how these girls created such beautiful silk flowers and flower arrangements. They were definitely artists. They encouraged one another, helped one another and they were typical girls, giggling, having fun, wanting to be treated like everyone else. They were very successful in their work, although, I would hardly call it work. They loved what they were doing. The author described everything so well. It is truly an extraordinary story. Mr. Shaw was a father to the girls. He knew them all by name and took wonderful care of them, although money was a concern and he had health issues.
The story has a few twists that surprised me. There is a small paranormal experience at the end of the book. I don’t normally read the paranormal. Anyway, I did love the story. I read the first 100 pages at the bakery. I couldn’t put it down! 5 ***** stars!