No…I don’t tend to roses, if that’s the impression the title gave. The title is in reference to the impact the book ‘Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate’ made on me one dark and solitude night in my life. I don’t know whether this blog is more about the impact of the book or more about the fact that someone, whom I’ve never met, would know me so well as to recommend this specific book to me.
It was about two weeks ago and I was spending a Friday night at the cabin by myself. Yep. No grandkids, no hubby. Just me, the wood stove and a good book to curl up with. This book that had been recommended to me seemed okay when I read the jacket review but, I wouldn’t say it would have been one I would have picked off the shelf of the library. Needless to say, I trust her judgment so I checked it out of the library anyway. I digress. Sorry. Anyway, I’m lying on the couch, nice little fire going in the stove and started to read Tending Roses. Never before, in the history of my life of reading, have I ever encountered a book that caught my attention within the first two chapters. No, not the ‘hmmmm, this is interesting’ kind of attention. The kind that makes you literally sit straight up and go, “No way! That’s me!” Now, when I refer to it being me, I’m talking TWO of the characters introduced from the very beginning. The granddaughter and the grandmother. I chuckle now to think that no one, fortunately, heard me say out loud, “There’s no way Denise knows me that well and that’s why she recommended this book!” Seriously, I did.
The book is about Kate, the granddaughter, and her Grandmother affectionately referred to as Grandma Rose. No, didn’t for a minute think Denise was thinking of me simply because of the name of the book or character. Kate goes back to the family farm to care for her elderly, and somewhat demented Grandmother, till the family gathers for the holidays and subsequently plan to put Grandmother in a home. I really don’t want to spend time on the plot of the book, rather the impact as I stated I would. It was the whole story line of the dynamics of a dysfunctional family that really hit home. I found myself very much relating to Kate in caring deeply for her grandmother yet also yearning for the days when the family wasn’t so dysfunctional. I related to the grandmother because her whole life was built around her family and her home and the closeness and love of a man who devoted his life to her. I cannot give away how the book ends because it’s an excellent read and one I recommend highly. Having said that though, whether my life will turn out as it did for Kate or Grandma Rose is yet to be seen but I hold out little hope of it. Would it be nice? Yes. Is it reality? Probably not.
I mentioned this blog was two-fold. The book held my attention from beginning to end because of the way in which I related to two characters. Seemingly like reading my own story. Almost eerie and that’s probably a good reason for holding my attention. However, I could not get over the fact that I felt Denise had suggested this book because she knows me yet she’s never actually met me. We write often but yet, it’s like she has a sense of who I am on the inside. Who I REALLY am … not just what you see here on this blog. To me, it’s strange and I often joke that she ‘freaks me out’. I say that in the kindest way and she knows that. See … that’s what I mean. I can say it and she’ll understand it.
In this day and age of digital communication, it’s not often one finds someone else who can see past the encryption and inflection and get it right. She is that someone. She keeps recommending books and I keep reading them. I hold her in the position of my own personal librarian. I’ve yet to read a book that wasn’t all she said it would be. I’m blessed to have her as a friend and blessed that she showed me a book that gave me hope for a future where once there was none.
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Edited to add that just over a year ago I lost my dear friend, Denise, to cancer. I miss her honest and encouraging words of wisdom … and of course her excellent choice in reading material. I look forward to the day we finally meet face to face in heaven!