Bestselling novelist Tracy Chevalier has just released her tenth novel,
Determined to escape her suffocating mother, heroine Violet Speedwell who in 1930’s Britain is considered a ‘surplus woman’ of the war, strikes out on her own and sets up a new, independent life for herself in Winchester.
The book is as much Violet’s story as it is a love letter to Winchester. Violet becomes involved with a group of broderers who embroider items for Winchester Cathedral, and so the cathedral and the city feature in gorgeous detail throughout the book.
In an exclusive interview, Chevalier sheds some light on some of the prime locations in Winchester that influenced her latest novel…
“I chose to set a novel in and around Winchester Cathedral because it is full of stories: of English soldiers breaking stained glass, of divers shoring up the building’s foundations, of one of the world’s best-loved writers being buried there.”
“I chose to shine a light on one of the cathedral’s lesser-known treasures: its intricately embroidered cushions and kneelers in the choir stalls. In researching A Single Thread I grew to know and love both the cathedral and also the fascinating city around it.”
“From its vibrant High Street to walks in the beautiful Water Meadows to a surprising rendition of King Arthur’s Round Table, there is much to see and do. I hope readers take it to their hearts as I have.”
Winchester Cathedral Broderers design and create new textile pieces for the cathedral and carry out repairs to existing textiles and vestments. This requires skilled stitching and embroidering techniques. They are all volunteers and meet at the cathedral on Monday mornings.
There will be an opportunity to meet the Broderers at the cathedral’s open evening on 19 September.
For a taste of what to expect listen to an exclusive extract from the book which takes place in the cathedral when Violet first comes across the Broderers…
As an independent woman, finding her way around this new home, Violet spent a lot of time exploring the city, with its medieval side streets, cafes and shops.
Much of this charm and character remains today with a choice of independent cafes offering specialist coffee and fine food to independent boutiques and shops where you will find that unique accessory or outfit.
So why not pick up a copy of this new novel, find a café and let your imagination take you back to 1930s Winchester.
Or, stop by at P&G Wells – located in College Street, this independent book store has been selling books for over 250 years.
Be in with the chance to win a hardback copy of the novel – we’re giving away FIVE copies.
Simply click here and answer:
What is the name of the heroine in A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier?
to be in with a chance to win.
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Winchester welcomed back the novelist on the 9 September at an exclusive event where Tracy was in conversation with Alison Finch.
Revealing the genesis of her latest novel, with side tracks into the Fishermen’s Chapel, the bell chamber, chantries, and other nooks and crannies, Tracy explored the power of Winchester’s great cathedral and its effect on the communities that grew up around it.