It is 1932, and the losses of the First World War are still keenly felt.
Violet Speedwell, mourning for both her fiancé and her brother and regarded by society as a ‘surplus woman’ unlikely to marry, resolves to escape her suffocating mother and strike out alone.
I normally love Tracy Chevalier’s books. But this was the first one which left me cold.
It was just so… drab. The politics felt tacked on – to the point where I laughed aloud at the following dialogue:
“Arthur, whatever is the matter?” Violet whispered.
There was a long pause.
“Hitler,” he replied, not bothering to keep his voice low. “Hitler is the bloody matter.”
In the end, perhaps I just don’t care enough about embroidered cushions in a church. I was expecting something as grandiose as “Pillars of the Earth” – instead, I got “Pillows of the Church.”