Kirkpatrick's (The Daughter's Walk) latest work, a fictional account of real-life gardener Hulda Klager, was inspired by the German immigrant who came to be known as the Lilac Lady from Woodland, Wash. Beginning with her pursuit of a better baking apple, the book chronologically follows Klager's horticultural enterprises, most notably her creation of more than 250 distinct varieties of lilacs. Kirkpatrick's research ferreted out a woman who worked diligently, and in relative obscurity, simply for the love of her craft. Sadly, Klager's accomplishments were entwined with deeply personal tragedies, told with as much historical accuracy as possible. Her family's misfortunes and heartbreaks serve to reinforce Klager's belief in the value of ornamentals, but some readers may not sympathize with a woman who seems to care more for plants than for her family or their finances. In addition to Hulda's family members, additional characters join the story at random intervals, making the character listing at the front of the book most helpful in reminding readers who is who. Told primarily in Hulda's voice, the book meticulously explains her means and methods; however, the horticultural detail might tire those readers who are not flower fanatics.. (Apr.)2012 Reed Business Information
Praise for Where Lilacs Still Bloom
"When reading any of Ms. Kirkpatricks books, I become engaged, almost instantly, on many levels at once. Where
Lilacs Still Bloom is simultaneously a strong and gentle read of beautiful, spare language. It wooed and won me to Huldas story even as it coaxed me to look at my own life as well. Who am I staking up? Do I tend to my husband and my children as well as to my calling? The sweet message that lingers long after the book is closed is the promised truth of sowing and reaping, in gardens, and in life."
Sandra Byrd, author of To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn
"Jane Kirkpatrick reimagines the true story of a nature-loving wife and mother who studied Luther Burbank and devoted herself to breeding new and improved varieties of lilacs. Families suffer, thrive, and evolve as new flowers emerge in a gentle tale as sweet as its fragrant garden."
Jane S. Smith, author of In Praise of Chickens and The Garden of Invention
"Where Lilacs Still Bloom is a charming, delightful story of Hulda Klagers courage and perseverance on many levels, her gentle defiance of convention, her triumph over natural and personal disasters, and her desire to be sure her work is truly Gods will. Neither the authors nor Huldas use of botanical research ever overpowers Huldas story but makes plain for readers her patience and ruthless care in her quest for the blooms she envisions."
Carol Buchanan, author of Wordsworths Gardens and winner of the 2009 Spur for Gods Thunderbolt: The Vigilantes of Montana
"Having worked with the history of the Thiel and Klager families for over six years now as a board member, I was excited to read how Jane gave the family members such character. I particularly enjoyed the relationship between Hulda and Frank and the way Jane portrayed the youngest daughter, Martha. I loved reading Where Lilacs Still Bloom and visualizing what it must have been like to live in that old house when Hulda and her family lived and gathered there."
Judy Card, genealogist and Woodland, Washington, historian
"Extraordinary book. Jane skillfully drops the reader into Hulda Klagers loving, hardworking pioneer life. She chronicles
Huldas family and botanical triumphs and struggles. Thank you for this magical story."
Rebecca W. Roberts, secretary of Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens
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