March 7, 2016

The Lost Garden by Helen Humphreys

The Lost Garden affected me in a way I did not expect. I read a lot of books set in WWII, but the trials of war were almost secondary in this story, though it is definitely the backdrop. This story was more about finding oneself after losing oneself; about love, longing, secrets, passions, hope, and mindfulness in the face of tragic circumstances. Gwen pours all of her emotions into gardening. She's like a profiler - but of flowers. She creates profiles for each genus. She can get to the heart of the matter through horticulture. It's how she relates to the world, to the war, to the Land Girls, to the soldier, Raley, a Captain stationed at Morel also.

Several times Humphreys' writing hit me so profoundly I had to stop reading and just sit here and absorb it. For non-spoiler examples,

"What is longing if not the ghost of memory?"

"There is a vocabulary to existing, to taking up living space in the world, that cannot be translated over the chasm of death."

And, "The book is the shared experience, the shared intimacy."

Book lovers love meeting authors, but really, reading their work, the words that she ripped from herself and poured onto the page - that is as close as you can get.

As you can tell, I really enjoyed this book and recommend it to lovers of good women's fiction or beautiful writing.

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