The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman

Publication Date: April 28, 2020
Publisher: MIRA Books
Rating: ★★★★

Iris Maynard lost her husband in World War II, her daughter to illness and, finally, her reason to live. Walled off from the world for decades behind the towering fence surrounding her home, Iris has built a new family…of flowers. Iris propagates her own daylilies and roses while tending to a garden filled with the heirloom starts that keep the memories of her loved ones alive.

When Abby Peterson moves next door with her family—a husband traumatized by his service in the Iraq War and a young daughter searching for stability—Iris is reluctantly yet inevitably drawn into her boisterous neighbor’s life, where, united by loss and a love of flowers, she and Abby tentatively unearth their secrets, and help each other discover how much life they have yet to live.

Review:

Thank you to Viola Shipman, MIRA Books and NetGalley for a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. I read this as a part of the 2020 Spring Reads Blog Tour.

There was a lot about this novel that I was unsure about when I read the synopsis. This isn’t my usual book, but I figured I’d give it a try. I’m not someone who usually likes war stories or time pieces. However, this wasn’t really anything like that. It was back-and-forth, but in a good way!

This was my first Viola Shipman novel. I never would’ve thought to read her before, but I’m really glad I did. This intrigues me for future novels by her as the writing was extraordinary. I really enjoyed her point-of-views between characters and that made me enjoy them even more. Iris lost her husband in WWII and her daughter to polio. This is where she built herself inside of her garden and didn’t want to talk to anyone. She did this for a long time before she meets Abby. Abby’s husband comes back from the Iraq war and is no longer than man he was before he left. Now living next door to each other, these two women have something in common even if Abby didn’t lose her husband physically. These two women bond and find a relationship unlike anything I’ve ever read before.

I loved this story. It was the epitome of a feel-good novel. It was very heartwarming and makes you feel hope that things are actually like that. Abby, Iris, and Abby’s daughter, Lily, truly stole my heart. It was special to see that the relationship and friendship between Abby and Iris that bloomed despite their age gap.

The gardening point-of-view in this story is impeccable. I have a “black thumb”, but I absolutely loved learning about all of the different types of flowers and plants that Iris and Abby talk about was spectacular.

The reasons why I didn’t give this novel a five-star rating were two different things. First, there were some parts of this book that was very righteous and almost “holier-than-thou”. I can see why it would be like that, but sometimes it seemed to be too much. Second, this book seemed longer than it should’ve been. I really enjoyed this story, don’t get me wrong, but I feel like it was drug out at some parts.

Overall, Viola Shipman has definitely caught my interest. I would be open to reading her other books as this one had very “feel-good” energy. This could absolutely be one of the top “general fiction” novels of 2020.



Mid-2020 Wrap-Up

So far, as of June 30, 2020, I’ve read 71 books! My goal for 2020 is 115, so hopefully I’ll double my current number and beat my goal! Here are the books I’ve read so far in 2020!

  • The Power of Vulnerability by Brené Brown
  • We Used to Be Friends by Amy Spalding
  • The Hotel Where We Met by Belinda Jones
  • I Wanna Text You Up by Teagan Hunter (Texting #2)
  • The Upside to Being Single by Emma Hart
  • No, We Can’t Be Friends by Sophie Ranald
  • Love Her or Lose Her by Tessa Bailey (Hot & Hammered #2)
  • The Wives by Tarryn Fisher
  • Good Guy by Kate Meader (Rookie Rebels #1)
  • Instacrush by Kate Meader (Rookie Rebels #2)
  • Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
  • Caught Up in a Cowboy by Jennie Marts (Cowboys of Creedence #1)
  • You Had Me at Cowboy by Jennie Marts (Cowboys of Creedence #2)
  • Playboy Pilot by Penelope Ward, Vi Keeland
  • Love, Sincerely, Yours by Sara Ney
  • Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith
  • The Worst Best Man by Mia Sosa
  • Country Hearts by Cindi Madsen
  • The Billionaire Boss Next Door by Max Monroe
  • Witness Protection Widow by Debra Webb (Winchester, Tennessee #5)
  • A Girl’s Guide to the Outback  by Jessica Kate
  • The Secret Ingredient by Nancy Naigle
  • The Roommate Agreement by Emma Hart
  • I’m With Cupid by Dawn Blair
  • Love and Other Mistakes by Jessica Kate
  • Her Homecoming Wish by Jo McNally
  • Work in Progress by Staci Hart
  • The Story of Us by Teri Wilson
  • Temporary Wife Temptation by Jayci Lee (The Heirs of Hansol #1)
  • The Fall of Butterflies by Andrea Portes
  • Love, Unscripted by Owen Nicholls
  • The Game Changer by Jennifer Brown
  • This Train is Being Held by Ismée Amiel Williams
  • Love on Location by Cassidy Carter
  • Confessions of a Naughty Nanny by Piper Rayne (The Baileys #6)
  • Operation Bailey Babies by Piper Rayne (The Baileys #6.5)
  • Kiss Me Not by Emma Hart (Kiss Me #1)
  • Kiss Me Tonight  by Emma Hart (Kiss Me #2)
  • Kiss Me Again by Emma Hart (Kiss Me #3)
  • Moonlight in Vermont by Kacy Cross
  • Ten Days Gone by Beverly Long (A.L. McKittridge #1)
  • A Country Wedding by Leigh Duncan
  • You Are Not Alone by Greer Hendricks
  • Love Locks by Cory Martin
  • Only Mostly Devastated by Sophie Gonzales
  • Beach Wedding Weekend by Rachel Magee
  • Love by Chance by Kacy Cross
  • Sunrise Cabin by Stacey Donovan
  • Nothing But Trouble by Amy Andrews (Credence, Colorado #1)
  • The Trouble With Christmas by Amy Andrews (Credence, Colorado #2)
  • Asking For Trouble by Amy Andrews (Credence, Colorado #3)
  • A Forgotten Murder by Jude Deveraux
  • The Sea Glass Cottage by RaeAnne Thayne
  • Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth
  • The Honey-Don’t List by Christina Lauren
  • A Simple Wedding by Leigh Duncan
  • Royal Savage by Victoria Ashley (Savage & Ink #1)
  • Beautiful Savage by  Victoria Ashley (Savage & Ink #2)
  • Game On by Britney Bell
  • Hot Mess by Emma Hart
  • Incomparable by Nikki Bella, Brie Bella
  • Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai (Modern Love #2)
  • Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
  • The Summer Villa by Melissa Hill
  • The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman
  • Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan
  • Sunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr
  • The Girls Weekend by Jody Gehrman
  • That Summer in Maine by Brianna Wolfson
  • All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
  • Kind of Cursed by Stephanie Fournet

June 2020 Reads

Number of Books Read: 13
Avg. Rating of the  books: 4.2/5 stars
Five Star Ratings: 6/13
*five star ratings are bold

  • Incomparable by Nikki & Brie Bella
  • Girl Gone Viral by Alisha Rai (Modern Love #2)
  • Home Before Dark by Riley Sager
  • The Summer Villa by Melissa Hill
  • The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman
  • Queenie Malone’s Paradise Hotel by Ruth Hogan
  • Sunrise on Half Moon Bay by Robyn Carr
  • The Girls Weekend by Jody Gehrman
  • Asking For Trouble by Amy Andrews (Creedence, Colorado #3)
  • That Summer in Maine by Brianna Wolfson
  • All Boys Aren’t Blue by George M. Johnson
  • Operation Bailey Babies by Piper Rayne (The Baileys #6.5)
  • Kind of Cursed by Stephanie Fournet

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