Leota’s Garden Reviewed By Conny Crisalli of
Conny Withay

Reviewer Conny Withay:Operating her own business in office management since 1991, Conny is an avid reader and volunteers with the elderly playing her designed The Write Word Game. A cum laude graduate with a degree in art living in the Pacific Northwest, she is married with two sons, two daughters-in-law, and three grandchildren.

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By Conny Withay
Published on April 5, 2013

Author: Francine Rivers
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-7065-1

Author: Francine Rivers
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
ISBN: 978-1-4143-7065-1

Maintaining a beautiful garden takes a lot of hard work, constant attention and habitual care. But when left unattended and dejected, it quickly turns to ruins, just like damaged personal relationships. In Francine Rivers’s novel, Leota’s Garden, family generations of hurt, pain, reconciliation and acceptance are felt through the lives of several broken individuals.

At four hundred and fifty-six pages, this paperback book has a photograph of a lovely young woman holding a basket of colorful flowers on the front cover. With no profanity or uncomfortable scenes except dealing with the potential loss of a loved one, it is geared toward Christian women of all ages. Inside there are over a dozen discussion questions for book club reading at the end of the book along with a list of other written books by this best-selling author.

Eighty-four year old Leota is alone in the world, feeling unloved, unneeded and praying to die. She sits day after day in the small house her in-laws gave to her long-deceased husband after the war, staring out the dirty windows at her once-beautiful victory garden that brought her so much joy and comfort. But that was so long ago, where painful memories and long-lasting regrets started but never ended. Like the overgrown and forgotten yard, so are the unattended and uncultivated relationships with her hateful, self-absorbed daughter and her too-busy, preoccupied son.

When her granddaughter, Annie, decides to get away from her mother’s protective, dominating wings, the young girl yearns to learn more about her grandmother and her unexplained past. Afraid of becoming like her own odious mother, she ponders why the one who gave birth to her detests anything to do with her own childhood upbringing, including the once-well-cared-for attractive garden.

With the help of a volunteer college student with his own ulterior motives and personal issues, Annie asks Leota if they can clean up and restore the garden. Through the cutting back, taming, clearing out and refining, Annie not only learns about the garden’s history, but more about her grandmother and why she continues to suffer the silence of her heart-breaking past.

Trusting the Lord to restore the tattered relationships of the three generations of women, Leota and Annie pray constantly to heal the heartache of misunderstanding and rejection as their deep love and acceptance of each other are brought to fruition.

Not living in a perfect world with perfect families, this sorrowful but tender tome softly reminds the reader to cherish any sprout, blossom or bouquet gleaned tending, restoring and resurrecting our own precious yet strained relationships.

This book was received by Tyndale for review purposes.

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