Book Review | “Tending Roses”

Tending RosesBy LEAH COOPER

Author Lisa Wingate’s novel, “Before We Were Yours,” was one of the hottest books of 2017. New York Times Hardcover Best Seller Fiction list for 42 weeks and counting. 2018 Southern Book Prize for Southern fiction — Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance.
Goodreads top choice in Historical Fiction 2017. Foreign editions released in 35 countries.

But first there was “Tending Roses.” Wingate’s first novel was published originally seventeen years ago; it was rereleased with a new cover last week.

With more than two dozen books between “Tending Roses” and “Before We Were Yours,” Wingate has proven that she knows how to tell a story. I read “Tending Roses” after Lisa spoke at Jefferson Carnegie Library in January 2017. I had read and enjoyed several of her later books and was curious to see what her early writing was like. I quickly realized she has been a master storyteller from the beginning.

“Tending Roses” has at its heart the stories Wingate’s own grandmother told her as she was learning to be a new mom. Sometimes she told her stories while they were tending the garden, sometimes in a rocking chair while trying to calm a fussy baby. Several years after writing her grandmother’s stories in a notebook, Lisa stumbled across them while cleaning out a drawer. The time was right – she knew how to fit these into a novel that would be a combination of her own life and fiction.

The notebook of her own grandmother’s stories became Grandma Rose’s journal, helping granddaughter Kate see the virtue of patience, the power of love, and the importance of family, friendship, and faith. The difficulties Kate faces in “Tending Roses” are as real today as they were when the novel was written almost twenty years ago. Struggles between career and motherhood. Caring for aging parents and grandparents. The need to forgive and be forgiven. The materialistic focus of society.

Drop by Jefferson Carnegie Library and check out our copy of “Tender Roses” or any of the other dozen Wingate titles in our collection. I promise you won’t be disappointed.


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