Smelling The Roses With “A Memory Of Violets”

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It is a truth universally known that no book should exceed 400 pages. A Memory Of Violets is an excellent example of why I prefer books to be brief. This novel was the second book I read by Hazel Gaynor, but it was not my favorite. The two narratives revolved around destitute flower sellers in London. Two young sisters, Rosie and Florrie fended for themselves and sold flowers on the dangerous streets. Tilly became a house mother to girls taken off the street and working in a stately home creating flower bouquets. As always, their stories converged in unimaginable ways. 

I wanted to like Tilly, but her personality didn’t emerge until the last hundred pages. She worked in the house overseeing the girls and although she commented about their personalities, those traits were not described to the reader. There weren’t any scenes that let any of the girls become actual characters. It seemed to me that the purpose of Tilly’s entire narration was just to find and read Florrie’s notebook. Tilly lacked purpose and personality until later when she finally became enamored with a beau. Suddenly at the end of the book, Tilly had all these family issues and drama that we never heard of before. It was disjointed and frustrating.

Florrie’s notebook was crammed with too many facts and was devoid of any emotion other than a longing toward her sister and guilt that Florrie lost her. Those same emotions became tedious to read about after the first few. The novel became so predictable, with Florrie wondering where her sister went, and Tilly wondering what happened to the sisters, that I almost gave up reading it.

The story finally picked up when Rosie was taken in by a wealthy couple. Rosie was supposed to fill the void left by the couple’s deceased daughter. That plot was alright, but the characters of Rosie and her adoptive mother didn’t seem very deep. Despite that, I did like the ending and enjoyed seeing the characters happy with hope for the future.

A better book about sisters separated is Secrets Of A Charmed Life and a better book by this author is The Girl Who Came Home.


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