International speaker and author Jones (Hurricanes in Paradise) crafts a heart-wrenchingly believable story that at times mirrors her own life. Mackenzie, the wife of Tennessee governor Gray London, has yearned for years for nothing else but a child. Mack finally conceives, and little Maddie becomes the center of this couple's world until a tragedy shatters the family. In the aftermath, an unremarkable man, a gardener named Jeremiah, begins to pierce the wall of Mack's pain and reach her soul through flowers. Each gift has a specific meaning and, while not always well received, Mack ultimately gets the messages God is communicating through Jeremiah's blooms. One blossom at a time, Mack's heartache mends under the tender ministrations of a master gardener who plants and prays in equal measure. Jones's novel offers comfort and challenge, and readers will find it lingering in their hearts and minds long after the last page has been turned. (Aug.) --Publishers Weekly, June 20, 2011
For over 25 years, Jeremiah Williams has been the head gardener at the Tennessee governor's mansion and has served many first families. But Governor Gray London and his wife, Mackenzie, have a special place in Jeremiah's heart. He watched the couple struggle for years to have a child. Now five years old, their adorable daughter, Maddie, is about to start kindergarten. When a crippling tragedy strikes the family, Jeremiah must offer Mackenzie the comfort she seeks to find her way out of her depression. ¬VERDICT This tender and uplifting read by the author of the Savannah series (Savannah from Savannah; Savannah Comes Undone; Savannah by the Sea) should find its way into the hands of readers who like the Southern novels of Rebecca Wells. --Library Journal, June 15, 2011
From the Back Cover
If heaven had a backyard, it would look like the gardens of the Tennessee governor’s mansion.
Jeremiah Williams has been tending those gardens for over twenty- five years. And like most first families who have come and gone, this one has stolen his heart.
Mackenzie and her husband, Governor Gray London, are enjoying a sweet season of life when a tragedy tears their world apart. As the entire state mourns, Mackenzie falls into a grief that threatens to swallow her whole.
Though his heart is also broken, Jeremiah realizes that his gift of gardening is about far more than pulling weeds and planting flowers. It’s about tending hearts as well. So he gently begins to cultivate the hard soil of Mackenzie’s heart, hoping to show her what it took him decades to discover.
A Southern tale of loss, love, and living, The First Gardener
reminds us that all of life is a gift, but our heart is the most valuable gift of all.