The setting with New Zealand is unique. The period covered is a long one - sixty years so it covers a whole gamut of styles as well, from hair to food to conversation and way of life.
The Violet Cafe is at the centre of the story and it is an unusual cafe for the time. French themed food and a madam who acted just like one, fairly autocratic for a rural area who only employed "troubled" girls. The theme worked and each girl was a fairly strong character in their own right, developing the story as it went. The men were on the periphery as it were and though they did contribute to the story, the women were the main thing.
Each woman's life taken separately and then together, how they meshed and how Violet influenced each one in turn, despite her in turns being liked or disliked by her employees was told very well.
It was my first foray into reading Kidman's books but it certainly will not be my last. Enjoyed this story very much.
The book was sent to me by Netgalley for an unbiased review, courtesy of Gallic Books Aadvark Bureau.