The Memory Garden by Mary Rickert

Rating: 4 of 5

9781402297120What frightens Nan is the way the past sneaks up on the present, consuming all in its path.”

Give me a story featuring a young adult, who doesn’t quite know the person she is yet or what she wants to do with her life, living with an old woman, who has secrets to tell and wisdom to bestow, set in a small town in which the two rank highest on the gossip hounds’ list, and I’m happy as a petunia in early July. The Memory Garden by Mary Rickert was that, times 100.

I loved how every chapter started with a plant description; how Nan could tell who was lying by the way their words tasted; how the garden was almost as predominant a character as Bay, Nan, Mavis and Ruthie; how Nan used the shoes people threw at her house as planters; how I could taste every dish during the Flower Feast; how magic felt completely real and incredibly possible.

But my favorite thing about this book was the way it explored friendships: the loyalty and devotion; that it’s never too late to forgive, let go and move on.

Read an excerpt on the publisher’s website. Listen to a podcast with Mary Rickert discussing The Memory Garden.

(Review cross-posted on LibraryThing and Goodreads.)

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