LIKE A WATERED GARDEN

Patti Hill, Author . Bethany House $12.99 (318p) ISBN 978-0-7642-2937-4

From the opening line ("I received a box of flowers from my dead husband"), debut novelist Hill hooks the reader with this intriguing look at love, faith, grieving and relationships. The unusually named Mibby Garrett is a garden designer who runs Perennially Yours, serving her clients' eclectic landscaping needs from behind the wheel of the Daisy Mobile with her companionable dog, Blink. The redhead's life is turned topsy-turvy when her husband is unexpectedly killed; she can barely cope with her business and with her 13-year-old son, Kyle. Her next-door neighbor, well-heeled 30-something Louise Giovanelli, keeps Mibby sane, supplying her with love, advice and baked goods from the B&B she owns next door. Odd guests at the B&B and Mibby's eccentric garden customers, including a handsome widower, are competently portrayed. When Mibby discovers her husband had a secret past, it threatens to destroy her last shreds of faith. Although some elements of the plot are well-worn chestnuts of Christian fiction (the eligible widower, the quirky neighborhood inn, the deceased character's clandestine past), Hill refreshingly resists the urge to tie up all the loose ends and avoids clichés in portraying the spiritual growth of her characters. Fresh prose, wry humor, an enjoyable protagonist and strong pacing make Hill a welcome addition to the ranks of inspirational novelists. (Jan.)

Reviewed on: 11/15/2004
Release date: 01/01/2005
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 352 pages - 978-1-58547-596-4
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