Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Just finished a really good book

Like a Watered Garden, by Patti Hill

In her fiction debut, Like a Watered Garden, author Patti Hill has given us a book about grieving that manages to be warm, comforting, wryly humorous and realistic at the same small feat for any writer, much less a first-time novelist.

We learn right away that Mibby Garrett is a widow, and we are instantly pulled into her world. While still struggling to cope with the painful loss of her beloved Scott, Mibby immerses herself in her garden design business. Indeed, plants and gardens are an ongoing theme in the story, with each chapter opening with Mibby's daily forecast and updates on her own garden.

But as Mibby takes comfort in frequent "blubberfests" and avoiding what she calls "whammies o' grief," her 12-year-old son Ky is enduring his own confusion and loss, and acting out accordingly.

And just as she thinks things can't get any worse, a young girl enters her life with stunning news that sends Mibby reeling with questions about how well she really knew her late husband.

The book is peopled with memorable characters, some eccentric and some just plain wonderful, like Mibby's ever-optimistic Southern neighbor, Louise--who bolsters Mibby's faith with frequent sermons and lots of love, humor and baked goods left over from her bed-and-breakfast.

Complicating matters is Mibby's growing attraction to Ben, one of her male clients, over which she feels confusion and even guilt.

Like the comforting touch of a good friend, this book captures a widow's journey from pain and grief to growing faith and hopefulness, and does so absorbingly and with gentle humor and realism.

Patti Hill is a gifted storyteller who possesses a lovely and engaging way with words. I look forward to future books from this talented new author.

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