About the Book
Eva—known to all as Lovey—grew up in Oxford, MS, surrounded by literary history and her mother’s stunning perennial gardens. But a garden shed fire and the burns suffered by one of her best friends seemed to change everything. Her older sister Bitsy blamed her for the fire—and no one spoke up on her behalf. Bitsy the cheerleader, Bitsy the homecoming queen, Bitsy married to a wealthy investor. And all the while, Lovey blamed for everything that goes wrong.
At eighteen, Lovey turns down a marriage proposal, flees from Oxford and the expectations of attending Ole Miss, and instead goes to Arizona—the farthest thing from the South she can imagine. She becomes a successful advertising executive, a weekend yoga instructor, and seems to have it all together. But she’s alone. And on her 45th birthday, she can’t help but wonder what’s wrong.
When she gets a call from her father—still known to everyone as Chief from his Ole Miss football days—insisting that she come home three weeks early for her parents’ 50th wedding anniversary celebration, she’s at wits end. She’s about to close the biggest contract of her career, the one that will secure her financial goals and set her up for retirement. But his words, “Family First,” hit too close to home. Is there hope for her estranged relationship with Bitsy after all this time?
Eva’s journey home, to the memory garden her father has planned as an anniversary surprise for her mother, becomes one of discovering roots, and truth, and love, and what living perennially in spite of disappointments and tragedy really means. Eva thought she wanted to leave her family and the South far behind . . . but she’s realizing she hasn’t truly been herself the whole time she’s been gone.
In My Opinion (Review)
Eva, aka Lovey, has not been home in years. She has felt like an outsider in her own family long before she left to get away from the constant scrutiny and oppression caused by her sister’s lies. But when her father asks her to come home early for her parents’ 50th anniversary, she has no choice.
Through a series of road trips, the family lives the memories of Mom and Dad, often through stories of plants and flowers—one of Lovey’s passions.
Julie Cantrell uses the seasons of gardens, the hardiness, harm, and beauty of flowers and plants to paint a metaphor for life. Yet the heart story is about family and the choices made by each member that hurts or uplifts the others. About realizing that perhaps the decision made at one time was not the best one for everyone. And about forgiveness, healing, letting go, and moving on.
There is a heavy dose of New Age/Mysticism/Buddhism in this book and, while Christianity is mentioned, it is more in the southern, Bible belt vein—an expected part of life instead of a personal relationship. But, in truth, the story of this family’s coming together after so much separation is worth the read.
I receive complimentary books for review from publishers, publicists, and/or authors, including NetGalley. I am not required to write positive reviews. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.