Our main characters in this story are Iris Maynard and her tenent Abby. Both women had husbands in the military and while Iris lost hers in WW II, Abby has her husband home but scarred by PTSD.
Iris has a garden of flowers she has developed by cross breeding. Most of her flowers came from the clippings her grandmother had growing in her garden next door. Hence the title Heirloom Garden. There are some chapters dedicated to Iris in the 1940's when she was a young mother working at a Victory garden. Hers is a sad story of loss - not only her husband but her young daughter Mary.
In present day Iris has rented her grandmother's home (next door to her) to a military family. Abby is the bread winner working as a chemical engineer. Her husband Cory is hanging on by a thread after being injured in Iraq and losing friends during a bombing. They have a young daughter named Lily.
Iris choses to remain hidden behind her tall fences and live with her flowers. She doesn't want interaction but as the story unfolds, she is gradually drawn to this struggling family next door. They help heal each other. This is a such a nice story and the background of the setting on the Michigan shore is well detailed. You get wonderful mental images of the neighborhood, the sand dunes and water.
A surprise to me is the author is a male. The name Viola Shipman brings me images of a older woman and this is womens' fiction. The emotional interchanges are very well captured. I would definitely read more by this author.