Thursday, June 21, 2012
Recommended Reading: The Garden of Happy Endings
Recommended Reading—The Garden of Happy Endings
Periodically I like to choose from among the best books I’ve read recently and share them with my readers. I’m a big advocate of spreading the word about great writers and great writing. The last couple of months, I have been truly amazed—almost everything I read was so great, most of the books made it to this list. Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll talk about my favorites in more detail than usual—because they deserve it. I hope you’ll check some of them out.
One of the books that really stood out was THE GARDEN OF HAPPY ENDINGS by Barbara O’Neal. I discovered Barbara through another author I love, Jennifer Crusie, and immediately ran through everything she’d had published under that name. [She also writes romance under her own name, Barbara Samuel.] I suppose these books would be classified as “Women’s Fiction,” but frankly, I think they are in a genre all their own.
The book blurb says: “In Barbara O’Neal’s novel of hope and renewal, two very different sisters discover that life is like a garden: tend to it daily, nourish it with patience and optimism, then watch the beauty unfold.”
The beauty is interspersed with darkness, and the hope with tragedy. This is not an easy book to read, although the writing itself is lyrical and flows smoothly. Reverend Elsa Montgomery struggles with a crisis of faith after a terrible incident, and her sister Tamsin’s world is shattered when she discovers that her husband is a criminal. But there is also gardening, and community, and faith, and friendship, and love.
This book is a treasure: a feast for mind and heart and soul. Harsh, vibrant, gentle, loving…its spirit will resonate in my bones long after the words have faded from memory. It may be a novel, but it is not a work of fiction. Just the opposite, for it contains the essence of all that is real and true about life. Including, of course, a difficult, believable, and ultimately satisfying tale of love.
If you read one book this summer, make it this one.
Coming up soon, my favorite paranormal romance, YA paranormal, fantasy, urban fantasy and short story anthology!
Also coming up is my next online workshop at the class loop http://witchywritingwithdeborahblake.blogspot.com/ -- registration is open now!
For those who are writing a witch character (whether protagonist or antagonist) and want to get it right. See what's already been done, learn the basics of a modern witchcraft practice, and get hints from someone who has written six nonfiction and four fiction books about witches, magic, and spellcraft.
This is a class that I have given a number of times before, usually over the course of about three weeks. We're going to see if we can cram it into FIVE DAYS. Are you up to the challenge? I hope you'll join me!