Rating: 4 / 5
After reading a couple of really heavy books, I needed something a bit lighter and the cover for THE GARDEN OF SMALL BEGINNINGS by Abbi Waxman said happy springtime to me! I loved THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL last year and immediately picked up a few more of her books, but haven’t had the opportunity to read any of them yet.
THE GARDEN OF SMALL BEGINNINGS follows Lilian, a woman who is trying to get her life back on track in the wake of her husband’s death three years before. She has struggled with her mental health in the wake of that unexpected disaster and has leaned heavily on her sister for help raising her two young children.
Lilian works as an illustrator for textbooks and is called upon to join a new vegetable gardening class to expand her vegetable knowledge for a new project. Taking her kids and her sister along for the experience, Lilian becomes entrenched in a class full of interesting characters and she finds herself opening up more and more to new people and experiences.
Since I was going for something lighter and sunnier, I was a bit worried when the book began with Lilian’s background with the death of her husband and a mental breakdown which left her hospitalized and her kids under their aunt’s care, but the writing really hooked me into the story. This is a book that starts out with grief, but it is hopeful and funny and entertaining as well.
I really enjoyed Lilian’s quest to get out into the world a bit more, both for her kids’ sake and her own. The book combined serious issues with a quirky cast of characters and a fun sense of humor that I loved in THE BOOKISH LIFE OF NINA HILL. (I mean, how many books tackle the humor of whale genitalia?) While my own garden went sadly unplanted this year (apart from a few indoor basil plants), I did enjoy the little informative and funny snippets of gardening information peppered into the text.
This one wound up being exactly the engaging, heart warming story that I was hoping for when I picked it up!
Reading Challenge Categories:
#AroundTheYearIn52Books – a book by the same author who wrote one of your best reads in 2019 or 2018