A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

The best-selling author, Christina Baker Kline, most well known for her novel Orphan Train, has outdone herself once again. A Piece of the World, by Christina Baker Kline, is unlike anything else. Poignant, not always kind, but always deep, this novel puts you in the head of Christina, a woman who spent her entire life in a small fishing community, living in a rural area. Inspired by Andrew Wyeth’s painting entitled “Christina’s World”, Christina Baker Kline tells the story of a woman who had a small life, but who is full of incomparable determination and grit.

Cursed with an unknown medical condition from a young age, Christina struggled to undertake tasks that others took for granted. Not one to simply accept a life of infirmity, Christina found ways to contribute just as much as everyone else in her large family. Giving herself to everyone else dutifully her entire life, she was always behind the scenes. Until she wasn’t.

A painter named Andrew Wyeth comes into town and introduces himself to Christina and her brother at their seaside home. He wants to paint the house, the landscape, the garden…Everything. Christina sees something in that painter, and she welcoms him to paint and roam as he pleases. Thus forms a friendship and a connection that would forever change their lives.

A Memory of Violets by Hazel Gaynor

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A Memory of Violets, by Hazel Gaynor, is definitely making it onto my top 10 books for 2015. Anyone who knows me is aware that I have a penchant for long, descriptive stories full of mystery and family secrets. Kate Morton and Katherine Webb are my favorite authors of all time. Who didn’t love The Thorn Birds, by Colleen McCullough? I was surprised when Hazel Gaynor’s latest novel sucked me in, right away, and I had a feeling right from the beginning that I was in for a ride.

A Memory of Violets is about two girls born into poverty in the 1800s, into a life of selling flowers on street corners. Flora and Rosie barely have food to live on, but they have one another. One horrific day they are separated in a crowd and the never see one another again. Flora spends the rest of her days looking for her baby sister-and Rosie, too young to know how to get back home, must adapt to a new life.  Years later, Tilly Harper finds the journal of Flora when she starts a job at Mr. Shaw’s Training Homes for Watercress and Flower Girls-and she feels compelled to find out just what happened to Flora, and what happened to her lost baby sister Rosie.

If you read The Painted Girls, by Cathy Marie Buchanan, or , or you have a taste for novels that tear brutally at your heartstrings but come together in the end with perfect closure and new beginnings for much-loved characters, you won’t want to miss A Memory of Violets, by Hazel Gaynor. This reviewer couldn’t put it down.