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The Garden of Happy Endings: A Novel Paperback – April 17, 2012
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Top Customer Reviews
Several times in Elsa Montgomery's life, she has had her faith challenged to the point of turning her back on God. The latest crisis develops while she serves as minister to a congregation in Seattle. After the brutal murder of a young girl, Elsa decides she needs time to heal and arranges to move to Pueblo, Colorado, her hometown. What ensues is a story of Elsa's spiritual growth and discovery of her own true self by giving to others in a different capacity.
Born and raised Catholic, Elsa embarked on ministry in a unitarian church because she could not become a priest. Her good childhood friend, Joaquin is now Father Jack to the parishioners of San Roque's in Pueblo Colorado. They have stayed confidants through the years and Fr. Jack welcomes Elsa to help with the local soup kitchen. Elsa also becomes involved with the community vegetable garden to serve those in the impoverished neighborhood.
Elsa opens up her old childhood home in Pueblo, and invites her sister, Tamsin, to live with her when Tamsin becomes homeless. Tamsin's husband has suddenly disappeared and brought scandal and financial ruin to her family. The relationship of the two sisters with such diverse lifestyles begins to grow and mature as each questions her status in life and how to find meaning in the lives they face.
Can one find happiness in changing life choices that are now under question? What place do family and children hold when one chooses to serve the church? Can life long relationships stay strong when choices bring dramatic change? Can one find a new relationship with God that strengthens and endures?
Author Barbara O'Neal develops the characters well as they struggle with these questions.Read more ›
Having said that, I did enjoy the book. Elsa is a lovely character, and you get a feel for her dilemma as with the dilemmas that other characters are facing in their lives - real dilemmas that are about who they are as individuals and what they have chosen to do or be in their lives. I must admit that I did skim the passages devoted to Tamsin a little, but I just didn't feel that interested in her character. I also felt that (spoiler alert)the assault, or post assult process, wasn't very well addressed in the novel, and that it was all wrapped up a little too quickly.
I am likely to not rush out and buy a new copy of her next book, but wait for a second hand copy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
These are great uplifting books to read. Totally love this author, can't put the book down once I start reading it!Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
I saw the recommendation for this book on Goodreads so promptly contacted my library to read it. It was a rich story with complicated characters and situations that were resolved... Read morePublished 3 months ago by J. Gardner
There is a lot going on in this story! While there is a "main" character, I liked this story because it was like an ensemble cast.Published 4 months ago by Pauline
But I really enjoyed this well-written, thought provoking novel. The characters were multi faceted and I so loved meeting them and following their journeyPublished 5 months ago by Kindle Customer
I love Barbara O'Neal books. The characters are complex and well developed, the plots and settings rich. They steal you away to a world worth living in. Absolutely a great read.Published 8 months ago by annemarie
I confused your other work with this one. I meant my review to apply here to "The Garden of Happy Endings" and not to "The Secret of Everything",
Although I... Read more