Blog Tour - A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor - Review & Giveaway!

A Memory of Violets:
A Novel of London’s Flower Sellers
By: Hazel Gaynor
Releasing February 3rd, 2015
William Morrow

From New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Hazel Gaynor comes a beautiful historical novel about Tilly Harper, a young woman who finds the diary of an orphaned flower seller who was separated from her sister in Victorian England, and her journey to learn the fate of the long lost sisters. Gaynor’s research into the events that inspire her novels is outstanding, and the world of the Victorian flower sellers on the streets of London in the late 1800s is utterly fascinating.

In 1912, twenty-one-year-old Tilly Harper leaves her sheltered home in the Lake District for a position as assistant housemother at Mr. Shaw’s Home for Watercress and Flower Girls in London. Orphaned and crippled girls wander the twisted streets with posies of violets and cress to sell to the passing ladies and gentleman, and the Flower Homes provide a place for them to improve their lives of hardship.

When Tilly arrives at Mr. Shaw’s safe haven, she discovers a diary that tells the story of Florrie, a young Irish flower girl who died of a broken heart after being separated from her sister Rosie. Tilly makes it her mission to find out what happened to young Rosie, and in the process learns about the workings of her own heart.

Buy Links:  Amazon | Barnes | iTunes | IndieBound

My Review
4 Stars!

Every once in a while, I am lucky enough to pick up a book that I just can't seem to get out of my mind.  This was one of those books.  I found myself thinking about this book constantly during the course of my day.  I told my daughter about it and anyone else who would listen.  I couldn't turn the story off in my head.  I just had to know what happened to Florrie and Rosie.

My favorite parts of the book were were set in the late 1800's in London and told from Florrie's perspective.  For some reason, I really connected with her character.  As her story unfolded during the first half of the book, I was completely mesmerized.  I could imagine her as a young child taking responsibility for her younger sister, Rosie.  The love that Florrie felt for her sister was incredibly powerful for me.

This story was also told from Tilly's point of view during the early 1900's.  Tilly goes to work as an assistant housemother at Mr. Shaw's Home for Watercress and Flower Girls.  She soon finds Florrie's journal in her room and becomes interested in what happened and makes a vow to find Rosie.  Tilly has things that she needs to deal with in her own life and working at the home along with looking for Rosie seems to help her with that. 

I absolutely loved the first half of this book.  I loved Florrie and Rosie's story and it really made me think about what it must have been like for a young orphan with a disability living in that time period.  I think that the writing did a fabulous job of showing the reader how these children suffered.  There were several twists during the first half that caught me completely off guard that I really enjoyed.  The style of writing was wonderful with a very distinctive voice for each of the points of view.  The characters in this story were so vivid and likeable and I felt like I was right there with them. 

I liked the second half of the book but it didn't hold the magic that I felt with the first half.  I think that one main reason for that was that Florrie was not as much of a focus.  The second half of the novel felt much more predictable for me and I was able to guess how things would end.  There was a bit of magical realism thrown in towards the end of the book that I really didn't think added much to the story. 

I would highly recommend this to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.  This story about the love of a sister is moving.  This isn't the kind of book that I normally pick up but I am so very glad that I did.  This story is one that will stay with me for a long time.  This is the first book by Hazel Gaynor that I have had a chance to read but I plan to continue reading her work in the future. 
I received an advance reader edition of this book from William Morrow Paperbacks via Edelweiss for the purpose of providing an honest review.

Author Info

Hazel Gaynor’s 2014 debut novel THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME – A Novel of the Titanic was a New York Times and USA Today bestseller. A MEMORY OF VIOLETS is her second novel. 

Hazel writes a popular guest blog ‘Carry on Writing’ for national Irish writing website and contributes regular feature articles for the site, interviewing authors such as Philippa Gregory, Sebastian Faulks, Cheryl Strayed, Rachel Joyce and Jo Baker, among others. 

Hazel was the recipient of the 2012 Cecil Day Lewis award for Emerging Writers and was selected by Library Journal as one of Ten Big Breakout Authors for 2015. She appeared as a guest speaker at the Romantic Novelists’ Association and Historical Novel Society annual conferences in 2014.  

Originally from Yorkshire, England, Hazel now lives in Ireland with her husband and two children.  

For more information, visit Hazel’s website at or Facebook page or follow her on Twitter @HazelGaynor 

Author Links:  Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Rafflecopter Giveaway (3 copies of THE GIRL WHO CAME HOME by Hazel Gaynor)


  1. This sounds like a lovely book. Because I have a brother, I wouldn't normally pick up a book about sisters, but I think I would enjoy this one. Thanks for the great review!

    1. Thanks! It really was a lovely book. I think it will appeal to a wide audience.

  2. This sounds fantastic! I have Hazel Gaynor's first book but haven't read it yet but this appeals to me even more. I love the idea of the past and present plots being intertwined. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you, Katherine! I really like the dual timelines in this book. I hope to read her first book soon.

  3. Yes, I do have a flower memory! Visiting the annual Flower show in my city for the first time ever when I was a kid! And that was when I engulfed the beauty of so many flowers at a time, that memory is still very clear to me!

    1. What a lovely memory, Aditi! Thank you for sharing it with me.

  4. It's a shame the second half of the book didn't quite hold up in the same way the first bit of it did. But it was good that you were able to have a main character you liked so much! I love a good historical fiction and this has been put onto my TBR as well.

    1. The second half of the book is good and I also enjoyed it. The first half of the book was amazing though. I hope you get a chance to read this wonderful story.


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