Viola Shipman has once again shown us all how to overcome diversity, to accept and to understand that kindness and love can heal all types of wounds.
Iris Maynard lost her husband during WWII and her only child, a young daughter a little while later. Unable to bear the heartbreak she felt, she poured herself into her gardens, as an homage to both her husband and daughter, and years later to all those who were dear to her and had died.
As the years progressed, Iris, who became a botanist later in life due to her love of flowers, began to recede from life. Her gardens were her only friends and families. She decided to shut herself off from people by building an enormous fence around her property which consisted of her house, as well as her mother’s house which also had a fence so her renters would be unable to see her. She was slowly able, due to technology, basically become a hermit, happily tending her gardens and buying all she needed from her computer and having it delivered. She would never have to let another person into her life again.
Enter Abby, her husband Cory and their daughter Lily who rent Iris’ mother’s old house on the other side of the fence. Cory, who has just returned from the Iraq War has had an extremely difficult time adjusting to life again after seeing so much death. Refusing to seek help or medication his days revolve around drinking, sleeping and trying to remember to tend to his young daughter Lily. Abby, feeling the walls close in around her family and trying extremely hard to keep them together moved her family so they could hopefully have a fresh start. And Lily, just about the same age as Iris’ daughter Mary, is a bundle of curious love.
What they all soon discover is sometimes everyone needs a bit of a push and encouragement, remembering that everybody grieves in different ways. That sometimes a little help can go a very long way. And we all have something to teach each other. As Iris teaches about flowers and love and coping with loss, Cory teaches Iris to take baby steps into entering a world she abandoned many years ago.
The story, with glorious floral prose describing the different flowers from each season tells not only their own story, but the stories of each character. And as the healing begins and continues, fences start to come down and are replaced by friendship and love.
What a heartwarming story on the lessons of the sadness of death, the struggle to become whole again and the illumination of a new life if you’ll only take the chance.
Viola Shipman is the pen name for Wade Rouse, a popular, award-winning memoirist. Rouse chose his grandmother’s name, Viola Shipman, to honor the woman whose heirlooms and family stories inspire his writing. Rouse is the author of The Summer Cottage, as well as The Charm Bracelet and The Hope Chest which have been translated into more than a dozen languages and become international bestsellers. He lives in Saugatuck, Michigan and Palm Springs, California, and has written for People, Coastal Living, Good Housekeeping, and Taste of Home, along with other publications, and is a contributor to All Things Considered.
Author Website: https://www.violashipman.com/
Thank you so much to #NetGalley #Harlequin(JustineSha) #The HeirloomGarden #ViolaShipman for the advanced copy. You can buy the book now with the following links: