Jeremiah Williams has been tending the gardens of the Tennessee governor’s mansion for over twenty-five years. And like most first families who have come and gone, this one has stolen his heart.
Mackenzie and her husband, Governor Gray London, have struggled for ten years to have a child and are now enjoying a sweet season of life—anticipating the coming reelection and sending their precious daughter, Maddie, off to kindergarten—when a tragedy tears their world apart. As the entire state mourns, Mackenzie falls into a grief that threatens to swallow her whole.
Though his heart is also broken, Jeremiah realizes that his gift of gardening is about far more than pulling weeds and planting flowers. It’s about tending hearts as well. As he uses the tools that have been placed in his hands, he gently begins to cultivate the hard soil of Mackenzie’s heart, hoping to help her realize what it took him years to discover.
A Southern tale of loss, love, and living, The First Gardner reminds us that all of life is a gift, but our heart is the most valuable gift of all.
My Take: This book was hard to read. Not because it was poorly written or because the characters didn't speak to me. They did. I read a lot of fiction and a few non-fiction titles a year. This is one of those fictional titles that reads almost like non-fiction. The setting is so contemporary and the issues are ones that could have been grabbed from newspaper headlines running this year. Some of it felt so familiar that I believed I was going to read it was based on a true story.
It was a painful story of love, loss, grief and healing.
The lovely bits about the flowers interspersed was interesting. Jeremiah's voice is strong and has a thick southern accent. I enjoyed the way he sparred with Eugenia. There are wonderful relationship dynamics in the book between all the characters. The author really pulled off writing about people instead of creating them. I want to thank Tyndale for providing my copy in exchange for this honest review.
I'm going to hold a contest to give away my copy of this unique book. As always it is open to those in the US only and void where prohibited. You must have a valid email address to enter. Leave a comment for one entry. Be a follower for another. Become one for another (be aware that there is a problem with google friend connect for many blogs. If you try to use that and it does not display you as a follower of my blog then contact me via email margaretmetz_writer at yahoo dot com and I'll see what I can do). If you post on your blog (share the link) you get two extra entries. I'll also consider entries for friending me on goodreads and that kind of thing. The contest ends on August 7th - midnight (CST). Good luck!