A Thimbleful Of Hope by Evie Grace
A tale of triumph over adversity from the author of the Maids of Kent trilogy. Perfect for fans of Dilly Court and Rosie Goodwin.
Dover, 1864: Violet Rayfield leads a happy life with her family in a beautiful terrace on Camden Crescent.
But Violet’s seemingly perfect world is shattered when her father makes a decision that costs her family everything. Now Violet must sacrifice all she holds dear, including the man she loves.
As Violet strives to pick up the threads of her existence, a series of shocking revelations leaves her feeling even more alone.
But where one door closes, another opens, and the embroidery skills Violet perfected while a young woman of leisure win her vital work.
If she can find the strength to stitch the remnants of her family back together, there might just be a little hope after all…
A character profile of Violet Rayfield:
I’m delighted to introduce A Thimbleful of Hope and Miss Violet Rayfield whose story is set among the gas-lit streets of the historic Cinque port of Dover. Born in 1846, Violet cuts a striking figure with her deep blue eyes, and white-blonde hair which she wears scraped back into plaited loops at the nape of her neck. The only feature she would change if she could, is her nose which she feels is a little too large for her face.
Violet lives with her family and their servants in one of the best addresses in Dover, a large terraced house in Camden Crescent with views of the sea. Her father is a businessman, a successful shipping agent who’s made enough money to invest in a cargo ship and shares in the London Chatham and Dover Railway Company, meaning that his wife can lead a life of leisure, showing off their home and its contents to their friends and acquaintances.
Mr Rayfield employs a governess to educate Violet and her sisters, Ottilie and Eleanor, in the pursuits which are considered suitable for refined young ladies, and useful preparation for the advantageous marriages they’re expected to make. Although they’re taught how to play the piano, paint in watercolour and make polite conversation, Violet’s favourite hobby is embroidery. She has a natural talent for design as well as needlework, while she finds her younger sister’s desire to write sensationalist novels rather amusing.
One of her favourite things is her wooden sewing box with its velvet lining. It contains needles, chalk, scissors and her silver thimble, the tools with which she creates the butterflies in the latest ombre threads for the gown that she wears to her first dance, the ball to celebrate Dover’s annual regatta.
Violet is somewhat sceptical of her mother’s attempts to teach her and her sisters how to run a household. When Mrs Rayfield invites a decorator to give an estimate for redecorating parts of the house, Violet is unable to contain her laughter when he shows them proof that green wallpaper is no risk to their health. She also decides that she’ll never ask her servants to make mock turtle soup when shown how to make it herself – the sight of calf’s brain turns her stomach.
However, Violet is trapped by her upbringing and the expectations of society, and she knows that she’ll marry and take on an establishment of her own, just as her mother did. She’s kind, resourceful and resilient, and even when everything is against her, she finds the strength to carry on.
I hope you enjoy reading Violet’s story as much as I loved writing it. I felt quite bereft when I had to leave her and write, ‘The End’.
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