Title: In the Light of the Garden
Author: Heather Burch
Publisher: Lake Union
Genre(s): contemporary fiction, romance,
Part of a Series: No
Why I read it: It was part of my book club.
Summary: After the death of her beloved grandfather,
Charity Baxter inherits his mansion on an island in the Florida Keys as well as
his pottery making business. She decides to stay and starts to make a life for
herself, forming a little family with her neighbor, Dalton, her great-uncle and
a young runaway named Daisy. All need healing in some way. Will they find it in
Charity’s garden—especially the weeping willow on her property?
Review: I enjoyed this book—it was another slam dunk from
my book club. I don’t often read contemporary fiction, usually gravitating
toward historical fiction. (As I’m sure you all already know). But maybe I
should look into more contemporary fiction.
Ms. Burch’s style was quite easy to read and still
compelling. She painted a beautiful picture of life on the small island in the
Florida Keys, Gaslamp Island. It was felt real and like it’s own little place.
Everything also seemed whimsical and like something out of fantasy, with
nature’s power ever on display—from the garden to the hurricane which brings
changes to everyone’s lives.
Charity is an intriguing character. All of them are
intriguing characters,but Charity was my favorite. She felt adrift in her life,
not sure what she wanted. Nor did she have a lot of self-confidence in herself
after being raised by an emotionally abusive mother. That’s why I labeled it a
coming-of-age. Because coming-of-age doesn’t meant the transition from childhood
to adulthood. It means someone growing and changing, learning life lessons.
Charity does that throughout the book, coming to grips with family secrets and
her own past. She also finally stands up to her mother and takes control of
their relationship for the first time ever.
Now let’s talk about Dalton. He is a broken man. And for
good reason that I won’t spoil here. Like Charity, he needs to learn to start
living. Meeting her and working on her garden slowly reveals this to him and he
starts to move on. He’s a good guy and you find yourself rooting for him.
The romance is really secondary to all these journeys of
self-discovery. But it’s there and it’s really sweet. It’s one of my favorite
tropes really—friends to lovers. With an added dash of denial on both sides. I
really do love it.
However, the main message of this book is about family.
About the one you’re born into…and the one you make. It’s a powerful
Bottom line: A wonderful journey of self-discovery set on
a magical and exotic island.
What is stronger—the bonds with the family you’re born
into or the bonds with the family you make?