A Violet Season: A Novel [NOOK Book]

Overview

A MOTHER’S CHOICES IN A T IME OF CRISIS THREATEN THE ONE PERSON SHE MEANS TO PROTECT—HER ONLY DAUGHTER— AND FORCE HER TO MAKE THE BOLDEST MOVE OF HER LIFE.

The violet industry is booming in 1898, and a Hudson Valley farm owned by the Fletcher family is turning a generous profit for its two oldest brothers. But Ida Fletcher, married to the black sheep youngest brother, has taken up wet nursing to help pay the bills, and her daughter, Alice, ...
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A Violet Season: A Novel

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Overview

A MOTHER’S CHOICES IN A T IME OF CRISIS THREATEN THE ONE PERSON SHE MEANS TO PROTECT—HER ONLY DAUGHTER— AND FORCE HER TO MAKE THE BOLDEST MOVE OF HER LIFE.

The violet industry is booming in 1898, and a Hudson Valley farm owned by the Fletcher family is turning a generous profit for its two oldest brothers. But Ida Fletcher, married to the black sheep youngest brother, has taken up wet nursing to help pay the bills, and her daughter, Alice, has left school to work. As they risk losing their share of the farm, the two women make increasingly great sacrifices for their family’s survival, sacrifices that will set them against each other in a lifelong struggle for honesty and forgiveness. A Violet Season is the story of an unforgettable mother-daughter journey in a time when women were just waking to their own power and independence.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In her debut novel, Czepiel sensitively traces a struggling rural family at the turn of the 20th century. The Fletchers own a large Hudson Valley violet farm and are very wealthy, except for youngest brother Frank and his wife, Ida, who have been excluded from the good fortune after Frank stole money from his two older brothers several years before the story opens. As punishment, the brothers have made him a hired hand instead of a partner in the profitable family enterprise. Frank becomes obsessed with making money to pay his brothers back and takes daughter Alice to New York City to work as a housekeeper in a brothel with the hope that she will “cross over” and earn the money he needs to pay his debts. He tells his wife that Alice is working in a factory, and while Ida is upset that he took Alice away without consulting her, she has no knowledge of the girl’s real situation. By the time Ida finally learns where Alice is, she has been raped and fallen into a serious depression, thinking she’s ruined. Although Ida plans to escape from her brutish husband and goes to the city to rescue Alice, the mother-daughter relationship is by then seriously damaged. Czepiel paints an intriguing portrait of agricultural life in upstate New York and catches the flavor of the time in accomplished prose. Her characters are in difficult situations and while they fall a little flat (Frank is especially a caricature), readers will sympathize with the plight of mother and daughter. (July)
From The Critics
“A mother and daughter discover empathy, courage and autonomy in this powerful first novel . . . rich with historical detail and strongly defined characters . . . a finely tuned study in human endurance. An excellent debut.”

“Engrossing.”

“An intriguing portrait . . . accomplished.”

“Fiercely compelling . . . well played and suspenseful.”

"A Violet Season is the rare moment we hold history in our hands. A hundred years ago we loved and feared and we worked and tired as fiercely as we do today. A Violet Season is fully imagined and a beautifully written book, the transport complete and unforgettable. It’s a wonderful and well-earned debut for a brand new writer and I so look forward to her next book."

“In this stunning debut, Kathy Leonard Czepiel illuminates the sometimes heartbreaking choices women can face as they struggle to preserve their families, their marriages, their very sense of self. A Violet Season combines searing realism with propulsive suspense to create a story that kept me up half the night.”

“The best historical fiction doesn't bring the past to the reader but carries the reader into the past, to see it, touch it, smell it, live it. In A Violet Season Kathy Leonard Czepiel transplants her readers among the blooms at a turn-of-the-century violet farm in New York State, a captivatingly unique time and place, and teaches them how hardy a plant—and a woman—can be. Smell the violets with Joe Jacobs, and with Joe you will 'hardly imagine anything wrong with the world.' See Ida Fletcher's pain—'a great room with a cold floor and a light so bright it hurt to look,' and you won't be able to leave Ida's side, through mistakes and accomplishments large and small. As a writer I say, 'kudos.' As a reader I say, 'more!'”

"A Violet Season by Kathy Leonard Czepiel is a moving and detailed look at the hopes and hardships women faced at the turn of the last century. Czepiel centers her fascinating story on the world of mass-market violet growers in the Hudson River Valley. Her narrative is hopeful, painful and empowering. Rich in historical detail, A Violet Season paints a delicate portrait of the ways women could support and sustain each other and their painful struggle for autonomy at a time when they had few explicit rights."

"Engrossing."

Booklist
“Engrossing.”
Robert Olmstead
"A Violet Season is the rare moment we hold history in our hands. A hundred years ago we loved and feared and we worked and tired as fiercely as we do today. A Violet Season is fully imagined and a beautifully written book, the transport complete and unforgettable. It’s a wonderful and well-earned debut for a brand new writer and I so look forward to her next book."
Historical Novels Review
“Fiercely compelling . . . well played and suspenseful.”
ATraveler'sLibrary.com
"Engrossing."
Lauren Belfer
“In this stunning debut, Kathy Leonard Czepiel illuminates the sometimes heartbreaking choices women can face as they struggle to preserve their families, their marriages, their very sense of self. A Violet Season combines searing realism with propulsive suspense to create a story that kept me up half the night.”
Sally Gunning
“The best historical fiction doesn't bring the past to the reader but carries the reader into the past, to see it, touch it, smell it, live it. In A Violet Season Kathy Leonard Czepiel transplants her readers among the blooms at a turn-of-the-century violet farm in New York State, a captivatingly unique time and place, and teaches them how hardy a plant—and a woman—can be. Smell the violets with Joe Jacobs, and with Joe you will 'hardly imagine anything wrong with the world.' See Ida Fletcher's pain—'a great room with a cold floor and a light so bright it hurt to look,' and you won't be able to leave Ida's side, through mistakes and accomplishments large and small. As a writer I say, 'kudos.' As a reader I say, 'more!'”
Taylor Polites
"A Violet Season by Kathy Leonard Czepiel is a moving and detailed look at the hopes and hardships women faced at the turn of the last century. Czepiel centers her fascinating story on the world of mass-market violet growers in the Hudson River Valley. Her narrative is hopeful, painful and empowering. Rich in historical detail, A Violet Season paints a delicate portrait of the ways women could support and sustain each other and their painful struggle for autonomy at a time when they had few explicit rights."
Kirkus Reviews
A mother and daughter discover empathy, courage and autonomy in this powerful first novel by Czepiel. Set in the Hudson Valley in 1898, this brilliantly written story explores the lives and relationships of Ida Fletcher and her 16-year-old daughter, Alice, who exist within the confines of a restrictive society. Struggling to repay husband Frank's long-standing debt to his older brothers, Ida and her family reside in a tenant house on the family-owned violet farm. It's a bleak existence, and the family barely makes ends meet. Ida works as a wet nurse (in fact, she bore her youngest child, Jasper, in order to lactate), and Alice has been taken out of school to assist with the family income. Frank, a hotheaded, taciturn man, displays little affection for his family and expects them to accept his authority without question. After 23 years of marriage, Ida reflects upon their years together and ponders whether this has always been the case. Frank brings more babies into the household for Ida's care, and he secures employment for Alice, which puts her in a precarious position and jeopardizes her dreams of a future with Joe Jacobs, the local preacher's son. Frank's actions result in life-shattering revelations for both Ida and Alice: Ida, her love for her children first and foremost, chooses to make a move that is almost unprecedented for a woman of her time and circumstances. And Alice, a strong young woman in her own right, must overcome her own past and learn to forgive her mother. A vivid portrait of life at the turn of the last century, the story is rich with historical detail and strongly defined characters. Czepiel portrays the often unpleasant aspects of Ida's and Alice's lives with reverential care and affords readers a finely tuned study in human endurance. An excellent debut.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451655087
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 7/10/2012
  • Sold by: SIMON & SCHUSTER
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 377,254
  • File size: 4 MB

Meet the Author

Kathy Leonard Czepiel is the recipient of a creative writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts and teaches writing at Quinnipiac University. Her short fiction has been published in numerous journals including Cimarron Review, Indiana Review, Calyx, Confrontation, and The Pinch. A native of New York State’s mid-Hudson Valley, she now lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 4 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 27, 2013

    Very engaging novel - difficult to put down - read over the week

    Very engaging novel - difficult to put down - read over the week-end - look forward to future books by this author - would definitely recommend

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  • Posted January 15, 2013

    This is an amazingly good book, especially for a first novel. I

    This is an amazingly good book, especially for a first novel. I could put myself in the characters and actually feel the outrage/pain/frustration/exhaustion/etc. that they were feeling. This author's extremely good story building and economy of words allows you feel the emotion instead of trying to describe it.
    Rosemary Harwood

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    Violet season

    I enjoy historical fiction and stories about strong women, and this is both. I really couldn't put it down. I will be watching for future books by this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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