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THE HEIRLOOM GARDEN
March 10, 2020
Iris Maynard is a recluse. Ever since losing her husband in World War II and her daughter a few years later, she’s decided to hole herself up in her house and avoid interacting with the public as much as possible. Decades later, she still rents out her grandmother’s beautiful house next door, but she’s very picky about the tenants she approves.
Iris likes Abby Peterson and her family right off the bat. Abby is a successful engineer. Her daughter is sweet and curious, and Abby’s husband is grumpy and just back from war. Iris has no plans to actually talk to the Peterson family, but when she happens to catch Abby’s daughter picking her bleeding heart plant, Iris finds herself drawn into the family…and into deeper relationships than she’s experienced in years. The four neighbors will eventually form a bond and a trust that will not only help them heal and forgive past hurts, but also help them figure out what it means to live a meaningful life.
The best thing this book has going for it are all the Midwestern plants. I’m a Master Gardener in Illinois, and I so loved hearing Iris talk about her favorite flowers. If you aren’t familiar with these plants, you’re going to want to google each and every one so you know what she’s talking about. But for me, I knew most of them already, so I felt like I was having a conversation with a fellow plant nerd. It was delightful.
The storyline is okay. I’d say it’s a little (cheesy) Hallmark channel-ish for my taste, but I still enjoyed watching the relationships between these characters progress. And who doesn’t love a happy ending, especially in times like these? Overall, this was an enjoyable read, and I will definitely be on the lookout for other books by Viola Shipman.
Many thanks to Net Galley and Graydon House for the ARC.