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Leota's Garden Paperback – January 10, 2004

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Editorial Reviews Review

Acclaimed Christian fiction writer Francine Rivers's (The Atonement Child) Leota's Garden uses the image of the garden as a metaphor for the cycles of life that the characters experience. While the story revolves around a number of lives, they are all connected through Leota--an 84-year-old grandmother--and her garden, which was once a place of beauty and hope but has in recent years gone to ruin. Beginning in desolation--Leota has been neglected by her self-centered daughter, whose obsession with getting her own daughter into the best college has driven them apart--the novel slowly shows the weaving together of lives in the mysterious ways of grace: a proud and narrow-minded college student ends up learning more from Leota than he'd bargained for, and the granddaughter Leota had never been allowed to know shows up looking for some answers, and even more, looking for Leota herself. A garden blooms, the novel suggests, by getting one's hands a little dirty doing the hard work of love. --Doug Thorpe --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

God works in mysterious ways, and Leota Reinhardt's garden is a catalyst. After 18 years, her granddaughter Annie puts love for Jesus ahead of her mother's stifling demands and re-enters Leota's life. Corban Solsek, a college student needing research for a paper, volunteers to help Leota once a week. Annie's exuberance draws Leota and Corban into a project to restore the backyard garden and make it a "Victory" garden again. In the process of healing the garden, a family separated by misunderstandings and time begins to grow together once more. A couple of plot points dead end, but on the whole, this is an emotionally compelling story.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.; Reissue edition (January 10, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 084233498X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0842334983
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (228 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #363,073 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"New York Times" best-selling author Francine Rivers began her literary career at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in English and journalism. From 1976 to 1985, she had a successful writing career in the general market, and her books were highly acclaimed by readers and reviewers. Although raised in a religious home, Francine did not truly encounter Christ until later in life, when she was already a wife, a mother of three, and an established romance novelist. Shortly after becoming a born-again Christian in 1986, Francine wrote "Redeeming Love" as her statement of faith. First published by Bantam Books and then rereleased by Multnomah Publishers in the mid-1990s, this retelling of the biblical story of Gomer and Hosea, set during the time of the California Gold Rush, is now considered by many to be a classic work of Christian fiction. Redeeming Love continues to be one of the CBA's top-selling titles, and it has held a spot on the Christian best-seller list for nearly a decade. Since "Redeeming Love," Francine has published numerous novels with Christian themes--all best sellers--and she has continued to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her Christian novels have been awarded or nominated for numerous honors, including the RITA Award, the Christy Award, the ECPA Gold Medallion, and the Holt Medallion in Honor of Outstanding Literary Talent. In 1997, after winning her third RITA Award for inspirational fiction, Francine was inducted into the Romance Writers of America's Hall of Fame. Francine's novels have been translated into over 20 different languages, and she enjoys best-seller status in many foreign countries, including Germany, the Netherlands, and South Africa. Francine and her husband, Rick, live in northern California and enjoy time spent with their three grown children and taking every opportunity to spoil their grandchildren. Francine uses her writing to draw closer to the Lord, and she desires that through her work she might worship and praise Jesus for all He has done and is doing in her life.

Customer Reviews

Very well developed characters and story line.
Carolyn Johnson
After reading the whole book, the way Leota's part of the story ended made me very, very angry and sad.
E. Volkmer
This story showed me once again that God is in control of each of our lives.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

98 of 100 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 10, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Frankly, this book surprised me. As a man who was reading a book that is primarily intended for women, I didn't think that a book about an old lady and her garden could make for much of a plot. Wrong! Francine Rivers is a masterful fiction writer who really knows how to weave a great story. Just when you think you have the plot figured out and heading in a straight line to the finish, she throws in a gentle twist that makes you blink in surprise. This is her second book that examines in depth the relationship between three generations of women (the first being The Last Sin Eater). It is a subject that Francine has obviously given a lot of thought to. Her observations of the interworkings between the generations are excellent, and the interaction between the characters totally believeable. Leota's Garden is definitely a five star work of fiction.
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59 of 61 people found the following review helpful By Mary G. Longorio VINE VOICE on June 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Leota Reinhardt only has to look out her window to see how much her life has changed. Now 84 years old, her once comfortable little house with its abundant garden shows the effects of years of neglect, just as Leota shows the effect of years of yeaars of strained contact with her daughter and son. She is not prepared for the changes that will come into her life, a granddaughter who is dertermined to follow the promptings of the Spirit, a young college student, motivated by getting a grade, touched by goodness and Leota's own indominatable spirit. Francine Rivers is well known in among Christian readers (this is the first of her books I have read) and it can be a bit disconcerting to read the characters inner dialogue with a Higher Power. The characters are well developed and evolve, not change magicly...which is good. I was worried they would all see the light and the book would end. I liked many of these characters too much to be cheated that way. I hesitated to pick this up, but I am glad I did.
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38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Ruth A. Caldwell on October 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I haven't read a story this compelling in years. The young granddaughter that hasn't seen much of her aging grandmother due to an unfortunate communication problem, finds the joy and love she has missed from her own mother. Add some interesting friends and other family members, Leota (the grandmother) soon has more company than she bargained for; and is thoroughly enjoying herself, much to her mother's disdain! Annie hangs in there with Leota, defying her mother's "orders" and finds her own balance with God in her life. I read this book in two evenings. Very hard to put it down. "Thanks Mom for giving me this book to read, and for all the happiness I experienced in my childhood".
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By "neerod" on February 26, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is one of the BEST books I've ever read! It stays with you even after you've finished, and to me that is the mark of a good author and book! Leota's Garden is the story of a young woman, her grandmother and their family. Because of hard feelings, misunderstandings and hatred by other family members, Annie has never really known her grandmother. She determines to get to know her. Grandma Leota is an old woman, living alone in a rundown house in an undesirable neighborhood. All she wants is for the Lord to take her home! When Annie comes to visit her and continues these visits, Leota has something to live for again. Annie was a bit "too good to be true", but she also inspired me to live my life in a better way. Her love for her grandmother touched me so. It made me thankful that I had been fortunate to have a good, loving relationship with my own grandma, who reminded me of Leota with her love of her garden and flowers. This story also shows us so vividly how we treat the elderly today. We push them to the back of our busy lives and don't spend time seeing them as real people who can contribute to our lives!The book opens your heart and eyes to so much. I was a bit disappointed in a few things. I didn't like the "surprising way" that Leota died. I had hoped Annie would end up with one of her two enamored young fellas. But, isn't this life?? Things don't always turn out as we want. This story showed me once again that God is in control of each of our lives. This is my favorite book by Francine Rivers and I've read several and enjoyed them. I checked this out from the library, but already bought a copy for myself. I plan to re-read this book again and again!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Sharon Knutson on November 30, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Leota's Garden is a story of love and acceptance. It wasn't always an easy read as many times I felt prodded and pricked. The story involves a family that has suffered and has been nearly torn completly apart. Leota lives alone in her house struggling to get by while her daughter and son virtually ignore her. Her daughter, Nora, has bitterly written her mother off as uncaring, unloving, and selfish. In her effort to give her daughter, Anne-Lynn, the love she felt she never recived, Nora demanded only the best from Anne-Lynn, best tutors, best schools, best everything. Everything except what Annie craved, a mother who loved her for herself. After Nora scathingly told Annie she was "just like her grandmother", Annie decided to go find out more about her grandmother.

Annie found Leota a loving kind although sharp tongued woman. Annie brought a burst of sunlight into Leota's fading world. While Annie struggles to breath new life into Leota's overgrown garden, Nora is being painfully pruned and stretched in ways she feels unable to undertand or acceept.

I think this book can reach many of us. How many times do we feel hurt and slighted by loved ones because of what we perceive them to be thinking or saying about us? How many times do we wish we would have just said something in love rather retreat into stoney silence and hurt.

I did find the ending a bit jarring and uneven, but it did not dim how much I liked the book even though it made me look at some of my own actions more closely than I may have wished to do so.

And most of all, don't waste a chance to tell someone you love them. You may not have a second chance to say it.
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