This story begins when Eva Madigan, recently single and relocated to Ireland with her young son Liam, stumbles upon a long neglected garden. Although she has never successfully grown anything, Eva is drawn to the overgrown walled lot. After initially rejecting Eva’s request to try to revive the forgotten acre, the icy owner best known for murdering her husband agrees to allow her to attempt the feat. Eva excitedly posts a flyer asking for help from the community and is soon joined by Emily, an odd young introvert; and Uri, a retired tailor with much needed gardening skills – although he denies having much experience. Uri’s son Seth and the elderly owner of the garden, Mrs. Prendergast, soon cannot resist the pull of the garden and join in the efforts.
Through real magic of the garden or simply the shared experience of nurturing it, their personal walls begin to crumble and slowly relationships bloom.
The surface interactions between these five as they coax the plants and flowers and vegetables into existence would have made a pleasant, entertaining read. But the story went much deeper. One by one we learn the heartbreak that led each of them to this place – needing the healing powers of the growing garden to bring them back to life.
I chose this novel as I do most books I select – for a light and entertaining read. This was so much more. The depth, emotion, quality story, and excellent writing make this easily one of my favorites in a long time.
Winter Bloom will go on my re-read shelf, and I am eager to read more from this author.