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The Cross Gardener Hardcover – Bargain Price, March 2, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Author and political commentator Wright (The Wednesday Letters, coauthor with Glenn Beck of The Christmas Sweater) returns with another modern fable that wears its conservative values on its sleeve. Born on the side of the road to a dying teenager, John Bevan grew into happiness and safety on an idyllic Shenandoah Valley orchard, falling in love as a teenager, eventually marrying his high school sweetheart and having a daughter with her. When, pregnant with their second child, his wife dies in a car accident, John finds his faith and ability to function shattered. Attending the site of her death, John encounters the Cross Gardener, a man who tends the roadside memorials of strangers, and with his help John finds himself returning to the path of responsibility and righteousness. This title offers the same kind of values-focused emotionalism that fans expect, with plenty of uplift and tradition-affirming sentiment; even by the standard of his other work, however, this effort is prudish and clunky, and John often comes across as more sullen than bereaved.
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"Passionate, spiritual and thought-provoking...[A] beautifully written book."
-Glenn Beck, talk radio and FOX news host, #1 New York Times bestselling author

"Sharp prose, clever characterizations, thought-provoking insights...fresh and spiritual."
-Don Piper, New York Times bestselling author of 90 Minutes in Heaven and Heaven is Real

"Celebrates the incredible joys of the human experience."
-Kevin Milne, author of The Nine Lessons

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley Hardcover; 1 edition (March 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425233286
  • ASIN: B0040RMETE
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,550,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Jason Wright is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USAToday bestselling author.

He is the author of The James Miracle (2004); Christmas Jars (2005); The Wednesday Letters (2007); Recovering Charles (2008), Christmas Jars Reunion (2009); Penny's Christmas Jar Miracle (2009); The Cross Gardener (2010); The Seventeen Second Miracle (2010); The Wedding Letters (2011); and The 13th Day of Christmas (2012).

Articles by Jason have appeared in over 50 newspapers and magazines across the United States including The Washington Times, The Chicago Tribune, and Forbes. He has been seen on FoxNews, CNN, CSPAN and on many local and national radio shows.

Jason is also a popular speaker who speaks to over 100,000 annually on topics ranging from the value of service, the joy of failure, the lost art of letter writing and many other topics.

He lives with his wife, Kodi, and their four children in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.

Customer Reviews

A friend recommended this book and I decided to order it on CD.
Kathy in SC
I have experienced loss of many loved ones in my life and The Cross Gardener gave me new sight to see a plan for us all.
J & C
Keep your tissues handy, there will be lots of boo-hooing as you read this book.
Amazon Customer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Harold Wolf TOP 50 REVIEWER on March 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
A compelling emotional read--extremely realistic. Did the author personally experience sudden tragic loss, as I have? Thoughts and actions of grieving characters are REAL.. Jason F. Wright has used "The Cross Gardener", the puzzling companion during John Bevan's grief, to help lead him and daughter Lou Lou into healing, and a new life start. Survivor's grief, a REAL aspect of loss, is just one part of John's struggle. Overcoming takes time, more difficult when alone.

Struggling alone is a theme here, but the reader must carry a part of the burden of loss. Wright's mental anguish descriptions cause that. With The Cross Gardener's help, a light can be seen despite the tunnel's length. Perhaps this book best serves those who have yet to abide their own white cross. Only the compassion-less will find it shallow. It's inspirational.

Bevan's grief is set within a Virginia apple orchard. Parallels of struggle are read in "A Grief Observed" by C. S. Lewis. In Wright's new story, Bevan, literally born among road accident wreckage, is adopted by an orchard farmer. Life is good. Love with Emma Jane blooms and a second child is expected soon. Readers are immediately drawn into this harmonious family joy, requiring the reader to make their own emotional adjustments when tragedy strikes. This is not a spoiler; this portion is on the book's dustcover. The book is about the mourning of survivors...and recovery.

Lou Lou loses the will to speak while John fails in his ability to cope. Whys? What ifs? Guilty? Angry? What next? All questions the bereaved face at any age. White apple-crate-wood crosses identify losses. Whose loss? At the accident site appears Cross Gardener, a man revealed only in sparse bits. Mysterious. A literary journey that converts to an internal experience.

Is it mystery? Is it romance? Therapy? Inspiration?
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By L. Paisley on March 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover
John Bevan has the family he always dreamed of. He married his high school sweetheart, has a young daughter and a baby on the way. His whole life is shattered as a result of a fatal car accident. John withdraws from life as he deals with his tragic losses. He places two crosses at the scene of the accident and visits on a daily basis. One day when returning to the scene he notices a stranger painting the crosses. He engages the stranger, only known as the cross gardener, and together they begin a journey to help John heal and rediscover what's important in life. John finds that even in your darkest moments, on your saddest days and through your toughest struggles, you're never alone. There is always someone to carry you and show you the way.

I've read all of Jason's books and I think this could be his best yet. It's thought-provoking, inspirational, and spiritual but it's also a wonderful love story and has a hint of mystery. This one will stay with you long after you've closed the book and set it on the shelf.

Each and every time you drive by a roadside cross you will come back to this book. You will wonder about the lives that were lost and about the lives that were left behind. Who were they, what were their stories? It will leave you asking yourself, "Who will be my Cross Gardener and who was theirs?"
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Litman on April 5, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition
Reviewed by J.Litman (New York)
Having read The Wednesday Letters, I was anxious to read this book. It began as a very simple story of an orphan boy growing up in a loving and hard working family. The boy grows up and marries his high school sweetheart. He continues working the family apple farm. They have a child. Everything is so sweet and loving; and then tragedy strikes. The rest of the novel is about the grieving process. If you believe in the premise that no one dies alone, then you will believe in what the author tries to convey.

At times the story gets too depressing and there seems to be no hope for the main character; that is until he meets The Cross Gardener. Who is this person? Is the gardener real or imaginary? And just when you thought you knew all the answers, you are shocked into learning the truth about life, death, love, faith, and redemption. As I always believed, time heals every wound. You have just got to keep moving on!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer VINE VOICE on February 19, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
What a nice book to read. The Cross Gardener is a beautifully written story based on an orphaned boy who grows up in an apple orchard with a wonderful adoptive father and 2 adoptive brothers. The story begins with the death of the orphaned boys mother and ends with the life of himself. I know this sounds vague, but I really don't like giving away plots in the reviews. What I will say is that this is a very emotional book. At times the story is so sad you don't even imagine why you are reading it and at times it is so uplifting that you are thankful you are reading it. I gave it four stars because many parts of the story reminded me of the movie "What Dreams may Come" starring Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding Jr. (great movie, I should add). This is a wonderful book with an obvious spiritual outlook to it. It is not "religious", just uplifting in a beautifully peaceful way. Nice book to pass a day away with.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on March 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover
John Bevan was born on a side of a road abandoned by his teenage mother. He grew up with one life goal sustaining him; that one day he would be part of a traditional family. He married Emma Jane and they had a daughter Lou Lou. She became pregnant, but a car accident kills her and the unborn.

John's dream shattered that day. He ignores his child and places two crosses at the spot where his spouse and his unborn died. Everyday he visits the location as he buries himself deeper into his grief. However, one day John finds a stranger painting his crosses. The painter and John talk about life and death. The Cross Gardener begins to help John heal and to remember his deceased loved ones and most important if for no reason other than in memory of Emma Jane, their living daughter as his late wife would expect nothing less from him.

This is a character driven inspirational tale that builds off the grief of why bad things happen to good people. John holds the somewhat thin story line together as his happiness turns to depression and grief when tragedy destroys his dream. With the underlying message that nobody has to walk alone especially when life is at its darkest, sub-genre fans will appreciate Jason F. Wright's strong belief to reach out; as John begins to comprehend that he left his beloved Lou Lou to walk alone.

Harriet Klausner
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