Thursday, February 25, 2021

The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman


If you enjoy books which feature gardens and flowers, you will enjoy this book.  This is a nerdy thing I like, flowers and  gardens and people who have a career taking care of great inspiring gardens. I do not possess the green thumb to succeed in a career at a botanical garden or a National Trust English garden, yet I admire the beauty of these creations.

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.  


  1. I thought I had read that Viola Shipman was male and that does surprise me a bit! This does look wonderful and the kind of book I'd really like. All of his books do really grab me but somehow I've yet to pick any up.

    1. Katherine, this is a G-rated kinda book, othing objectionable and yuo have empathy for the characters. I really enjoyed it.

  2. I really enjoyed this story. It was the first I read by Viola Shipman and was so surprised to read the biography and discover it was a male author. I have several others on my TBR now. Nice review.

    1. Carla, this was my first book by this author as well. I enjoyed it. Certainly will be seeking out more!


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