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Sunday, April 12, 2020

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman

This book has been so patient with me. I bought it in 2017, and it has had a place of prominence on my bookcase. The bookcase that I walk past multiple times a day; the one just outside my kitchen. The bright cover always catches my eye, and I think "I've got to read that someday".  It took a pandemic, but here we are--it's read, and I'm so glad I waited until now to dive into it. 

I read Abbi's novel The Bookish Life of Nina Hill  last August (click on the title for my review) and loved Abbi's style of writing: a bit of snark, a bit of humor, and a whole lot of heart. Contemporary women's fiction that I really enjoy, and sometimes have a hard time finding just the right fit. Abbi's writing fits me perfectly. So when I realized this was the same author, I really wanted to read it--and I needed something a bit lighter, and something that had to do with gardening. 

Lilian Girvan is a single mother of two young girls: Annabel and Clare. Her husband died in a terrible car accident right in front of their house three years before. Lillian had a breakdown and was pretty out of it for a year. Her sister Rachel took care of the girls and kept things together until Lilian was home again. Now life is as normal as it can be; Lilian is a book illustrator, the girls are thriving, and Lilian is taking one day at a time. 

Lilian's latest illustrating assignment is a book about vegetables. Part of the job requires her to attend a local gardening class for six weeks. She talks Rachel into going along with her and the girls. This class will change their lives in ways they can't begin to imagine. 

Lilian has no intention of ever dating again. She's planning on being single for the rest of her life. She misses Dan, her husband, so much, and can't begin to imagine ever wanting anyone else. Besides, she's got her girls to raise.  Enter Edward, the man who is leading the gardening class.He's pretty cute. And smart. And charming. And gets along with Annabel and Clare. And likes Lilian a lot. 

All of the class participants are pretty wonderful characters, and Lilian forms friendships with all of them pretty quickly. It's a group of people brought together for a reason, and as the weeks go by, they lean on each other, support each other, and eat a lot of pizza. Life throws lots of changes at all of them as the garden grows and flourishes under their care and attention. 

Yes, this book was just what I needed. Absolutely enjoyed every bit of it. Abbi has a new book coming out: I Was Told It Would Get Easier in June and you betcha I'll be reading it--and not take three years to do it. 

Rating: 4/6 for a delightful read about moving on after losing someone you love; all the gifts of gardening, finding love, and opening up your heart. 

Available in paperback, ebook, and audio. 


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