A blog dedicated to my opinion on books

Friday, June 23, 2017

"In the Light of the Garden" by Heather Burch

Title: In the Light of the Garden
Author: Heather Burch
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

Year: 2017
Genre(s):  contemporary fiction, romance, coming-of-age

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 message.

Bottom line: A wonderful journey of self-discovery set on a magical and exotic island.

Sex: Nope.

Moonlight Musing

What is stronger—the bonds with the family you’re born into or the bonds with the family you make? 

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