“The best times of my life, the times that have passed by me the most quickly, were the times when the roses grew wild.”


 The lessons that most enrich our lives often come unexpectedly. That’s what Kate Bowman learns when she moves temporarily—with her husband and baby son—to her grandmother’s Missouri farm. The family has given Kate the job of convincing Grandma Rose, who’s become increasingly stubborn and forgetful, to move off her beloved land and into a nursing home. But Kate knows such a change would break her grandmother’s heart.

Just when Kate despairs of finding answers, she discovers her grandma’s journal. A beautiful handmade notebook, it is full of stories that celebrate the importance of family, friendship, and faith. Stories that make Kate see her life—and her grandmother—in a completely new way….

Sissy: In the absence of Bubby this week I am doing something new in conjunction with something old, just to shake things up and see if I can get myself in trouble (when the cat’s away…). The NEW thing is that we are going to revisit some of our favorite reviewed authors of the past and see what else they have up their sleeves, whether new or old.  The OLD thing is Friday Favorites, which Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate qualifies for since it was published in 2001.  Get it? (I’m also putting all my text in green, just because Bubby’s not here to stop me!).

 We first reviewed Firefly Island by this author in April of last year, and later found out that she has written many award winning books and series’.  I decided to introduce you to Wingate’s very first book, Tending Roses, which is also the first book in a series of 5.  Here are Lisa Wingate’s own words about the genesis of Tending Roses:

“My grandmother came to stay with me when the baby was small, and together we decided to plant flowerbeds in front of my house. One day, when the baby was fussy, we had to go inside rather than finishing the flowerbed. Grandma bundled the baby and sat down in the chair with him, and soon he was quietly drifting off to sleep. As the afternoon sun streamed in the window, Grandma leaned back, closed her eyes, and began telling me the story of her life, and her flowerbeds, and the lessons she learned there. That story, “Time for Tending Roses,” eventually became the inspiration for my first mainstream novel, Tending Roses, which was published by New American Library (Penguin Putnam) in June, 2001. Of all of the books, Tending Roses remains my sentimental favorite, because of the real-life connection with my grandmother.”

Now, I’ve got to tell you, I felt like the lessons Kate (the main character) learns through her grandmother’s story journal were universal, having application for me and for everyone.  I just wish I could have perfect recall of them at the exact moment I needed them (and was about to do or say something stupid…).  This story is so real, so human, so emotional–it makes complete sense that it was inspired by the author’s own feelings and experiences.  Tending roses is a complex and heartwarming tale of family relationships, love, and plain old human life, and is well worth the read.  I give it 4.25 bubbles, and I definitely plan to read the rest of the series!

Click HERE to buy Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate at Amazon.com

© Bubble Bath Books 2014