Violets | Granta

  • Published: 02/02/2023
  • ISBN: 9781783787289
  • Granta Books
  • 256 pages


Alex Hyde

A young woman, Violet, lies in a hospital bed in the closing days of the war. Her pregnancy is over and she is no longer able to conceive. With her husband deployed to the Pacific Front and her friends caught up in transitory love affairs, she must find a way to put herself back together.

In a small, watchful town in the Welsh valleys, another Violet contemplates the fate she shares with her unborn child. Unwed and unwanted, an overseas posting offers a temporary way out. Plunged into the heat and disorder of Naples, her body begins to reveal the responsibility it carries even as she is drawn into the burnished circle of a charismatic new friend, Maggie.

Between these two Violets, sung into being like a babe in a nursery rhyme: a son. As their lives begin to intertwine, a spellbinding story of women’s courage emerges, suffused with power, lyricism and beauty, from an exhilarating new voice in British fiction.

I loved this moving, graceful novel, which writes through the years with a rare deftness of touch. Violets has a compelling, quiet power all the way to its exquisitely affecting end

Megan Hunter, author of The Harpy

A beautiful, inventive, and deeply moving book about the secrets and sacrifices women make on their journeys to motherhood. Through lucid, lyrical prose, unafraid of the body and all its messiness and longing, the stories of these two courageous Violets, conjuring a child into being in the last days of wartime, captured my heart and imagination.

Liz Berry

I was deeply moved by Violets, a stunning and original portrayal of womanhood and life's many iterations. Written in pristine prose, it reminded me of the possibilities of language, of the beauty, heartbreak and extraordinary courage found in everyday life

Elizabeth Macneal

The Author

Alex Hyde is a lecturer at University College London. Violets, her first novel, is a fictional reimagining of her father’s story, drawing on family mythology and his personal archives. She lives with her family in South London.

More about the author →

Alex Hyde on

Fiction | The Online Edition


Alex Hyde

‘There was the enamel pail of blood. She couldn’t think what she had done with it.’

An excerpt from Alex Hyde’s debut novel.

Granta Books Writing | The Online Edition

Notes on Craft

Alex Hyde

‘The scrubbing of floors or rugs. People down on their knees, “tamping” the stain.’ Alex Hyde on the everyday gestures that make a life.