Friday, July 29, 2011

The First Gardener by Denise Hildreth Jones

This is the first novel I have read from Denise Hildreth Jones. She is a very detailed author and develops very real characters, almost too real.

Governor Gray London and his wife Mackenzie(Mack), struggled with infertility and miscarriages for years. Then they have a miracle baby, Maddie. Maddie brings joy to everyone she meets with her outgoing, loving personality. She is just about to start kindergarten. Then tragedy strikes with the death of Maddie.

Mack falls into deep despair to the point of where, Eugenia, Mack's mother moves in to help her grown daughter. Despite her own grief she has to help bath her, feed her, and take care of her daughter’s every need.

Jeremiah Williams has been taking care of the gardens at the Tennessee governors mansion for the past 25 years. He has cared and prayed for all the residents during that time. He feels that there is something special about the current family living in the Governors’ mansion. Jeremiah sees that all the hurt and unjust treatment he's gone through in life have been so that he could be with this family at this specific time. Use his hurt to help this family.

Jeremiah's heart is expressed through flowers and their meanings, not always welcomed by Mack. Who is to grief stricken to see God’s comfort and love in Jeremiah‘s flowers.

I found the story a difficult one to get through at times. It has been the saddest book I have ever read. Have a box of Kleenex near by. This is truly a story of redemption and love.

I love the southern voice throughout. It is authentic and reminds me of home. Mack’s mother Eugenia is my favorite character. She is feisty and strong. She is one of a kind. Jeremiah has a pure heart that I just adored. I enjoyed this book. Not my favorite, because it is such a sad book. God’s love and redemption is weaved in this story beautifully. Just to heart breaking to imagine that kind of loss. It made me give my kids a lot of extra hugs.

Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book. In no way was I asked to give a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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