Title: The Garden of Small Beginnings Author: Abbi Waxman Expected Publication: May 2nd 2017 by Berkley Books Format: eBook, Paperback, 368 pages Genre: Women's Fiction Source: My thanks to Netgalley and the Publisher for an opportunity to read an advanced copy of this book.
When it comes to traditional women’s fiction, I usually go running in the other direction. I cannot tell you why I first picked up this book, maybe it was the cover and spring, but I can tell you that I could not put it down.
Three years before this story began, Lilian Girvan saw her husband die in a horrendous auto accident just feet away from their front door. This event sent her in a tailspin that left her in a mental hospital and two young daughters at home parentless. Each day was a struggle, but eventually she pulled herself together and with the help of her sister, they seemed to have weather that storm with only a few clouds on the horizon.
You would think that with a beginning like that, this story would be sad and depressing, but you are wrong. With the sardonic humor, you cannot help laughing aloud at what others would consider inappropriate.
Lilian now supports her little family as an illustrator and with the imminent closing of her publishing branch; she is offered an assignment to illustrate a series of vegetable gardening books that beats the current job of textbooks and whale reproductive parts. The one requirement is that she attends Saturday morning gardening classes at the Los Angeles botanical garden lead by Edward Bloem, an heir apparent to the company publishing the gardening books.
With a sundry group of fellow gardeners, Lilian, her sister Rachel, plus the girls, learn not only about gardening, but also about life. About people that are different and about how you should not always judge by outward appearances.
Falling in the genre of Women’s Fiction / Contemporary Romance, the reader knows from the beginning where this book is going to go, but the ride there is well worth it. Lives are examined, tears are shed, realities that were not apparent from the start continue to throw this family through the wringer, but that is the messy part of life. The toys on the floor and the dishes in the sink can wait, what is important here are the children. They are wise beyond their years and when the biting insults from a grandmother, that has her own issues, are shut down by a three year old you know that they will all make it to the happily ever after.
Not just another white knight to the rescue type of book, this book adeptly winds the reader through the many lives and loves of each character. You will find yourself missing them, their humor, their outlook, their lives and even their gardens complete with benches and fairy houses. I hope that this is not the last that we will see of Abbi Waxman, she has a special voice in this genre and I for one, will look forward to seeing what is to come.