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
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.
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