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Book Review

Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick

Synopsis from Waterbrook Multnomah:

 One woman, an impossible dream, and the faith it took to see it through.

German immigrant and farm wife Hulda Klager possesses only an eighth-grade education—and a burning desire to create something beautiful. What begins as a hobby to create an easy-peeling apple for her pies becomes Hulda’s driving purpose: a time-consuming interest in plant hybridization that puts her at odds with family and community, as she challenges the early twentieth-century expectations for a simple housewife.

Through the years, seasonal floods continually threaten to erase her Woodland, Washington garden and a series of family tragedies cause even Hulda to question her focus. In a time of practicality, can one person’s simple gifts of beauty make a difference?

Based on the life of Hulda Klager, Where Lilacs Still Bloom is a story of triumph over an impossible dream and the power of a generous heart.

“Beauty matters… it does. God gave us flowers for a reason. Flowers remind us to put away fear, to stop our rushing and running and worrying about this and that, and for a moment, have a piece of paradise right here on earth.”

My thoughts:

I had some trouble getting into this book, and as such it took me quite a while to read it. It felt a little scattered in the beginning, jumping around among numerous characters some of whom after finishing the book I felt were not necessary enough to have learned about them in the early chapters. Other characters existed that I wish had been developed more through the story. The middle portion was decent, though, and flowed pretty smoothly to me. But then at the end, it felt hurried and rushed. I found myself reading names I didn’t quite recognize and reading lines and thinking “Wait, what happened? I want to know!” but no further details were given. I didn’t love the book. But I didn’t hate it either. It was just ok, to me. Not good, not bad… in between. I loved that it was based on the true story of Hulda Klager (but this IS a fictional story, be aware of that!) and I liked the author’s note at the end that provided some of the non-fictional facts about Hulda and her garden (which I would love to visit some day…) and within the story there were a few lines that spoke to my heart; words I found hopeful and encouraging. I did take away some things from reading this story, which makes the book successful and worth reading, in my opinion, even despite the aspects I didn’t care for so much.

You can read the first chapter here:

The book may be purchased here:

Or here:

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.


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