Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Book Review: The Lily Garden by Barbara Josselsohn

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

They left the building and started down the hill. “So, where were you teaching before?” Caroline asked.”

“Florida,” he told her. “A small city school called Pine Beach College. Although I grew up in Minnesota. Where’s home for you two?”

“Chicago,” Caroline answered.

“I knew I recognized a couple of fellow Midwesterners. Do you live in the city?”

“No, about a half hour north.”

“Oh, nice. I mean, it sounds nice,” he said. “Not that I’ve ever been outside the city. But I do like Chicago.”

Caroline nodded. She could tell that Aaron was the kind of person who didn’t seem to worry about every little word he said, and that put her at ease. He fit in so well with the Lake Summers vibe. Back home, everyone was always intense, so even funny mistakes became calamities. Once Uncle Rich sent a message to a client saying that a salesperson “named Nancy Sanders would stop by—except he typed a k instead of an m, so the sentence read, “naked Nancy Sanders.” Caroline, who’d been cc’d on the memo, laughed out loud as she read it—but when she went down the hall to point it out to Uncle Rich, he became apoplectic. “Get it back!” he’d screamed at his assistant. “Get it back, now!”

Caroline has a whole lot going on all of a sudden. It has barely occurred to her how long she’s been away from the town where she was born, and she may have missed it more than she realized.

Official synopsis:
Book Review: The Lily Garden by Barbara Josselsohn
She held the letter that she had found in the garden, and noticed the distinctive curls of her father’s handwriting etched on the worn paper. Her life had already been turned upside down by one family secret, would his last words force her to leave her childhood home forever?

When Caroline left Lake Summers thirty years ago, she thought she’d never go back to the place where she lost her parents. But when she finds out that the town’s lily garden lovingly built by her mother is going to be destroyed, she knows fate is calling. Dropping everything at her office in Chicago, she knows she is the only person who can save the garden.

Caroline and her daughter Lee are welcomed home by the warm smile of her mother’s best friend Maxine, and piles of pancakes at her cozy little restaurant in town. And Caroline soon learns that she isn’t the only person invested in saving her mother’s legacy, when she meets handsome historian Aaron. As she gets to know him, strolling along the sparkling lakeshore, she can’t imagine anywhere else she’d rather be.

But then Caroline learns a terrible secret about the day her mother died. And soon the real reason Aaron is in Lake Summers comes to light. Will the truth about the people she loves force her to give up a future with Aaron, and the beautiful town that has always been in her heart?

Since Caroline moved in with her Aunt Risa when she was 12, she’s known exactly what was expected of her. When she had her daughter Lee, the baby was chosen to be the successor to Aunt Risa’s vast business empire. Now that Caroline is finally revisiting her hometown after almost 30 years, it occurs to her to question her place, and Lee’s place, in the world they never really made a choice to join.

There’s a lot going on in this feel-good summer story. Caroline is remembering how strong the ties can be to one’s chosen family. She’s also used to knowing exactly what her daughter wants, but as Lee gets ready to graduate from high school and embark on her own story, Caroline may not know her as well as she’s always assumed.

While I loved the beginning and middle of this book, the ending felt a bit rushed, so it overall gets 3 out of 5 stars. While I loved the characters, there were a few for which I wanted a little different ending. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy family stories, strong female characters, and contemporary fiction.

{click here to purchase—currently free for Kindle Unlimited!}

Becki Bayley is a Mean Girls fan who enjoys snack foods, bubbly drinks, and reading while cozy under her weighted blanket. Find out more of what she read at her blog, SweetlyBSquared.com.

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