Book Review Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkland

2 06 2012

I have read several of Jane Kirkland’s historical novels, so I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to read and review her latest release.  Where Lilacs Still Bloom is set like many of her other novels, in the northwest.  The story begins around the turn of the century with Hulda Klegar, a young wife who likes to garden and “meddle” with a little hybridization.  First she tries to make a crisper and bigger apple, then a lovelier daffodil.  Finally she gets into lilacs, which becomes her passion.  This is a fictionalized account of what Mrs. Klegar encountered along the way – the hardships of her own life mingled with the successes and failures in the garden.

This is a book very different from a lot of books that I read.  Hulda’s story is not a dramatized adventure.  It is the ebb and flow of events in someone’s actual life.  There are no vampires, mysteries, deliberate suspenceful devices.  But yet, it is a wonderful story of the freedom that America gave to people as the nation grew. Women, who had not had much opportunity, were now coming into their own as they explored their talents and creativity taking them to new levels.

But Hulda’s story is so much more than that. Her faith and humility so apparent in this telling.  Even in the midst of tragedy, she overcomes and continues on.  She pours into others, nurturing them and giving them the chance to grow as she shares her own love and calling to the garden.  And even as she stood to profit extensively from her many efforts, she still joyed in sharing it opening with friends and strangers.

I loved this story.  Kirkland perfectly captures the essence of Berger’s talents and how a women of her upbringing most likely pursued and shared these gifts.  We can continue to appreciate the small pieces of history in the various nooks and crannies of our country.  It’s one more piece in the complex puzzle of a large and great nation and the people who have helped her to grow.

You can read an excerpt from Where Lilacs Still Bloom here.

Visit Jane Kirkland’s Website or read her bio.

I received a complimentary copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for this review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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