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The Heirloom Garden
by Viola Shipman




Overview -
In her inimitable style, Viola Shipman explores the unlikely relationship between two very different women brought together by the pain of war, but bonded by hope, purpose...and flowers.

Iris Maynard lost her husband in World War II, her daughter to illness and, finally, her reason to live. Walled off from the world for decades behind the towering fence surrounding her home, Iris has built a new family...of flowers. Iris propagates her own daylilies and roses while tending to a garden filled with the heirloom starts that keep the memories of her loved ones alive.

When Abby Peterson moves next door with her family--a husband traumatized by his service in the Iraq War and a young daughter searching for stability--Iris is reluctantly yet inevitably drawn into her boisterous neighbor's life, where, united by loss and a love of flowers, she and Abby tentatively unearth their secrets, and help each other discover how much life they have yet to live.

With delightful illustrations and fascinating detail, Viola Shipman's heartwarming story will charm readers while resonating with issues that are so relevant today.

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Overview

In her inimitable style, Viola Shipman explores the unlikely relationship between two very different women brought together by the pain of war, but bonded by hope, purpose...and flowers.

Iris Maynard lost her husband in World War II, her daughter to illness and, finally, her reason to live. Walled off from the world for decades behind the towering fence surrounding her home, Iris has built a new family...of flowers. Iris propagates her own daylilies and roses while tending to a garden filled with the heirloom starts that keep the memories of her loved ones alive.

When Abby Peterson moves next door with her family--a husband traumatized by his service in the Iraq War and a young daughter searching for stability--Iris is reluctantly yet inevitably drawn into her boisterous neighbor's life, where, united by loss and a love of flowers, she and Abby tentatively unearth their secrets, and help each other discover how much life they have yet to live.

With delightful illustrations and fascinating detail, Viola Shipman's heartwarming story will charm readers while resonating with issues that are so relevant today.

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781525804618
  • ISBN-10: 1525804618
  • Publisher: Graydon House
  • Publish Date: April 2020
  • Page Count: 448
  • Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.7 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

The Heirloom Garden

It’s poetic that internationally bestselling author Wade Rouse uses his grandmother’s name, Viola Shipman, as the pen name for his books centered on family and heirlooms. His portrayal of strong, emotionally engaging protagonists is fresh and free of excessive sentimentality, while his unrushed pace and elegant language capture an old-world charm that makes for an enchanting reading experience. His latest novel, The Heirloom Garden, is a beautifully understated story about the loss and discovery of family and ourselves.

In the summer of 1944, Iris Maynard loses her loving husband to World War II. Four years later, she loses her beloved daughter, Mary, to polio. Flash forward to 2003, when Iris, now reclusive, finds sole comfort in the flowers she propagates. They are her friends, family and the focus of her lonely life. When the Peterson family—steadfast Abby, husband Cory, who returned from the Iraq War a changed man, and their precocious daughter, Lily—moves in next door, Iris is drawn to them. Together, the four find healing connections and become a family.

Shipman patiently and gently unearths the deeply flawed characters’ sorrows and reveals the delicate buds of happiness that eventually blossom. Iris’ anguish over the loss of her loved ones is palpable, and every memory stirs sadness, which makes bright moments—when she talks to her flowers and connects with the Petersons—so uplifting. Without making a political statement or moralizing, Shipman incorporates themes of loss and war into the story, credibly revealing how Abby’s family works through the effects of Cory’s PTSD. Iris’ and Abby’s alternating perspectives add a dynamic element to the story, while Iris’ flashbacks smoothly add backstory that deepens the connections among the characters.

At once heart-rending and hopeful, this story is a bouquet of sorrow and joy, perseverance and patience.

 

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