Book Review: Leota’s Garden by Francine Rivers

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This was bought for my sister as a part of a birthday box of books, and imagine my delight when I was granted the opportunity to read the book on my own. Having enjoyed reading Francine River’s book in the past, I was interested in reading this story. So, upon glowing reviews from my sister I set upon reading the book.

The way Francine wrote had me captivated, finding it difficult to put the book down. I started the evening before, read some on my lunch hour and then found some quiet time where I was allowed to finish the book.

There was a lot of story within these pages, and you don’t realize as you are deep into the book just how much is interwoven within these pages. The way that you get within the thoughts of the grandmother, Leota, for me was fascinating.

The story made me think of my own grandmother, and how I want to do more for her than ever. Living with her daughter, she is stuck in her own schedule of her own making. But what if I made an effort to visit her more often, take her out and do things and break up the monotony of life? What if her great-grandchildren had the opportunity and wanted to visit with her more often? I think of the life that she lived and the lives that have begat from her line. The stories she must want to tell, but only if we would give her the chance to do so. I don’t want the years to pass by and me wondering one day, why I couldn’t have spent more time with her.

But back to the story. I enjoyed watching the growth of Corban, although the story line with Ruth was understandable, but yet could have done without the drama that was associated with this particular story. Then there was Annie, and we are introduced to her as she has taken the first step towards independence on refusing to go to the school of her mother’s choosing. Instead, she seeks out an art school and from a longing within, seeks out her grandmother.

Rather than go further with the story, there are a few things at the closing of the book that bothered me. For one, after an incident at the hospital, I refused to read any more of the book. Instead I opted to just skim along and get to the end. To me the incident was completely unnecessary and cast a dark pall on the book. Where there was a chance of redeeming forgiveness, there was instead an unresolved darkness.

The other was Annie’s refusal to date, and it was never really explained in the book, only implied that the men would figure out her reasonings with time. But I, the one reading the book, couldn’t figure out her reasonings. I needed a hint as to what she was trying to get across to them.

Third, I understand the purpose perhaps of having a dramatic end to a book and pushing people towards thinking of their actions, lest they live with regret. But it would have been nice had the story somehow given Nora the opportunity to have learned the facts of her mother before the incident in the hospital and not after.

There were other little things that bothered me, despite the wonderful telling of the book in the first part. There were so many characters, so many mini dramas that I felt it took away from the core of the story.

So would I recommend this book? I’m not sure. There are parts that I liked, but the last part of the book killed it for me. Therefore, based on that, and that alone I would have to say no.

 

 

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