The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman

WaxmanGardenJust in time for summer reading, this paperback was published May 2, 2017

An uplifting story about a garden; planted, nourished, and enjoyed by a broad cast of varied, likeable, realistic quirky characters. Young widow Lilian, an illustrator, has been asked to take a 6 week gardening class at The Los Angeles Botanic Garden, in preparation for illustrating a series of boutique vegetable guides for the venerable Bloem Garden Company. Not a gardener, Lilian reluctantly arrives at the first Saturday morning session class with her two daughters, and Lilian’s very supportive sister Rachel in tow. Also in the class are some of the most enjoyable characters I’ve read about in a long time. At the head of the garden project is attractive in every way Edward Bloem, head of his family garden supply company, and commissioner of Lilian’s illustrations.

At the heart of the book is the theme of change, and each of the gardeners experience change in their own way. The new beginnings of the title refer not only to newly planted and growing vegetables, but change that comes over everyone in the group, and new directions that their lives will take.

Each chapter begins with a short and interesting little tutorial on how to plant the fruits or vegetables for the week’s project (disclaimer: I am not a gardener, and enjoyed these lessons!). The author writes with such quirky dry humor, that I really did laugh out loud reading this book.

I recommend The Garden of Small Beginnings to anyone who wants a great summer read; a book to take on a vacation, or a book that will make you feel like you have been on vacation.

Sometimes you can judge a book by a cover – I think in this case, it’s true! This is Abbi Waxman’s first work of fiction, hopefully, there is more to come.

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