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The Garden Angel: A Novel Paperback – May 12, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 290 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; First Edition edition (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312424965
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312424961
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.7 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,657,017 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Cutter and Elizabeth, two Florida women with little in common, forge a deep friendship in this crisp, unusual novel. Trouble strikes them both at once, in the form of Cutter's sister, Ginnie, who is in love with, and newly pregnant by, her English professor, Daniel, childless Elizabeth's husband. Elizabeth, tipped off by an anonymous caller, ventures to the house Ginnie shares with Cutter, who was named Catherine but took her father's name. It's Cutter whom Elizabeth finds at home, and their shared dismay over the disastrous affair instantly binds them. Set in Sans Souci, Fla., this debut novel is atmospheric in the way of Southern fiction, but it is also brand new. With casual skill, Friddle makes the case that who we like in life may be as critical as who we love. The friendship between Cutter and Elizabeth changes everything. Elizabeth's money will let Cutter keep the house she venerates but that her sister and her brother, Barry, want to sell. And Cutter's practicality wrests Elizabeth free of her notion of herself as an invalid recluse in the Emily Dickinson mold. The happy ending may seem saccharine to some, but the majority of readers are likely to feel that there's vinegar and sharp greens enough along the way to merit the rich sweetness.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Salvation can come from the most unexpected places, and an unlikely friendship between two women--one strong and determined, the other scared and uncertain-- provides the solutions to challenging problems confronting both. Faced with losing her family's home, a rundown mansion in a once elegant part of town, Cutter will do anything to protect her ancestral birthright. Faced with losing her husband to another woman, Elizabeth isn't sure what she can do to reclaim Daniel's love. And when the other woman is none other than Cutter's sister, the likelihood of finding the help she needs from Cutter seems even more improbable. As Cutter runs out of options for halting the sale of her grandmother's house and Elizabeth runs out of time to save her marriage, their unorthodox friendship ends up being the one thing they both can count on. Relegating stereotypically eccentric southern characters to minor roles, Friddle concentrates her considerable talents on developing fully realized protagonists who earn and deserve the reader's respect. Carol Haggas
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
75%
4 star
21%
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4%
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See all 24 customer reviews
The characters in this book feel so familiar and real!
"blakely15"
The Garden Angel is such a special book that after I finished it in one night, I wanted to just curl up with it and go to sleep.
S. G. Fox
Mindy Friddle has written an unforgettable novel filled with sharply drawn characters and well-crafted prose.
Karin Gillespie

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. L. Ferle on May 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thank goodness I found this novel -- it's pure delight, and hard to believe it's a debut novel, to boot. The Garden Angel was total refreshment from beginning to end. I stayed up all night to finish it, and the well-crafted story deeply resonated. I was moved by the ending. This novel examines the layers of "home" and what home means to different characters -- interesting, complex, funny, and appealing characters. Poignant yet humorous in places, it's a delightful piece of literature that deserves the praise it's getting. It is SO MUCH BETTER than other novels out there right now on the NYT list. Thanks, Mindy, and keep writing!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Tess on August 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
Just finished reading The Garden Angel.....and really dragged out those final pages, because I didn't want it to end!

Wonderful debut novel with prose that flows, characters that made me feel like I knew them personally and Friddle displayed a terrific sense of place.

I highly recommend this novel and honestly have to say it's been ages since I enjoyed a story as much as this one. Down-to-earth and believable. Do yourself a favor and read this one. My only regret is I'm going to miss Cutter, Elizabeth, Alfred and the rest of the cast. Very much looking forward to Friddle's next novel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By N. Gargano VINE VOICE on October 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book, written by someone who knows how to tell a story! I picked this book up on a rainy afternoon, found myself wrapping up the words and the story all around me, like a warm blanket, and I couldn't quit reading until the end. Which by the way, I was sorry to get to, I miss the people already. Read this book, you will be glad you did. Ms. Friddle, hurry with your next book, I can't wait.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Robert Lamb on October 13, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Southerners will feel right at home with this quirky novel. Its eccentric characters could fit right into our own family scrapbooks, and its reverence for the past and suspicion of the encroaching future pose a conflict being played out across the length and breadth of Dixie-and might even be encapsulated in our ambivalence nowadays toward using the word "Dixie" as a synonym for the South.

Just outside of Palmetto, S.C., in the small town of Sans Souci, Cutter Johanson lives in a dilapidated mansion that houses the comforting ghosts of her ancestry. The urban sprawl of Palmetto, which is a thinly disguised Greenville, threatens to engulf the small town that has been home to Cutter's family for generations, but an even more immediate threat is that the death of Cutter's grandmother has brought the house up for sale. Desperate to keep the old home place, Cutter goes to great lengths to sabotage efforts to sell it, but she knows she is fighting a losing battle. Her sister Ginny, "the pretty one," and brother Barry, away in service, are eager to sell, and Cutter, though working two jobs, both menial, can not afford to buy them out.

Enter a kind of Delphic fate: Ginny, a college student, is having an affair with a teacher, Daniel Byers, and is pregnant by him. His aggrieved wife Elizabeth is an emotional cripple whose agoraphobia and panic attacks keep her a virtual prisoner in her home, significantly a run-of-the-mill subdivision ranch house. Not least, Elizabeth's main affliction is a husband so caring that he seems to have an unhealthy need for his wife to remain a cripple. Stir into that mix an anonymous telephone tip to the unsuspecting wife, and a solution to Cutter's problem that she could never have imagined is set in motion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. G. Fox on June 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The Garden Angel is such a special book that after I finished it in one night, I wanted to just curl up with it and go to sleep. Lovely, wise, funny, interesting, unique ... this writers really knows how to please her readers. I love how the author plays around in all the gray areas of life, reminding me that life is to be lived and not judged. This is a superb book club book, by the way!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Erdajean on August 29, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Oh, Lordy, it's all here -- the Old House, with its intimate graveyard; the itchy old furniture and bad plumbing; the endearingly peculiar neighbors, to whom the big old doors are never closed; the two thankless survivors who want a quick buck out of the place,and the gritty young sister who holds on -- with some of the funniest and most believable deep-down-dirty tricks in the book -- because she can't bear the thought of leaving it. Nor should she have to!

This is the quintessential touching and hilarious Southern book. Yankees may be odd, but not like this. The heroine works her way into the folds of the reader's memory as have few in modern literature, as a symbol of perseverence, guilelessness, generosity, and above all, Keeping the Faith.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By BookWorm on April 15, 2007
Format: Paperback
I had grown so tired of being disappointed in cookie cutter novels about women and friendship. As if it were a hot topic du jour and authors were just jumping on the bandwagon. This was a GOOD BOOK. An unlikely friendship, humor, heartache and women finding themselves and their strength.

Ms Friddle has set a high standard for herself, I look forward to the next one.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By "blakely15" on July 5, 2004
Format: Hardcover
The characters in this book feel so familiar and real! Mindy has a wonderful way of making me feel as though I was actually on the front porch. She captured the true emotion and personality that can only be found in the South. I'm eagerly awaiting the next one!
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More About the Author

Mindy Friddle is author of THE GARDEN ANGEL (St. Martin's Press & Picador) and SECRET KEEPERS (St.Martin's Press). She writes, reads, gardens and works in Greenville, South Carolina, where she lives with her family.

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The Garden Angel: A Novel
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