My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This book is just ridiculously delightful in every way. As soon as I finished "The Bookish Life of Nina Hill," I requested everything else by Abbi Waxman from the library. I read this one first and was not at all disappointed. As a general rule, I don't read romance, nor am I romantic in my own life. But Waxman's love stories encompass so much for the characters than just the boy/girl relationship.
"Garden of Small Beginnings" is focused on recovery from loss and extreme grief (like at a level that puts you into a mental institution) for the main character, Lillian, four years after her husband is killed in a car accident. While the plot is well done and moves along at a lovely pace, my favorite part is her sense of humor, which is reflected in the sass of all of her characters, including the precocious children. Waxman makes me snort, chuckle, and outright laugh out loud (much to the dismay of my trying-to-sleep husband).
A story about moving on after the loss of a spouse could be heavy and deep, but Waxman lifts Lillian's journey to find the love and humor of realizing that life goes on, whether you want it to or not. And Lillian is surrounded by a full cast of varied characters going through their own journeys who you can also root for. Of course, it is a romance, so you can count on the happily ever after, but it's more about Lillian being happy with her life and herself than finding a guy. I love that more than anything.
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