Garden of Hope  -     By: Jo Piazza O'Mara
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Garden of Hope

Redemption Press / 2014 / Paperback

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Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 280
Vendor: Redemption Press
Publication Date: 2014
Dimensions: 9.00 X 6.00 X 0.63 (inches)
ISBN: 1632328380
ISBN-13: 9781632328380

Publisher's Description

Most people would consider the Agosti family perfect-not only did they truly love each other, they also liked each other very much. Three generations of Agostis spent many hours around the dinner table discussing their auto repair business, reminiscing about past family vacations, teasing each other, and enjoying marvelous Italian food prepared by their beloved Mama. Vincent and Maria Agosti, their children Joey, Angie, and Trina, the spouses, and the grandchildren all live in a small New England town close enough to each other to enjoy frequent noisy, chaotic, and perfect family get-togethers. But everything changes when Joey discovers a shocking family secret while innocently searching through the Agosti & Son Garage business records, which compels him and his wife and children to distance themselves from Daddy, and by default, the rest of the family. A serious schism develops between father and son, and the rest of the family is saddened and bewildered by it. Perfection no longer exists for the Agostis. The abbreviated clan continues on, but in the final moments of a Christmas celebration once again without Joey and his family, Mama shares her fears about her own health, and an agonizing cancer journey begins for the Agostis. During the months of her ultimately unsuccessful cancer treatments, Mama lovingly cultivates a beautiful flower garden-her Garden of Hope. She perfects a system to strengthen weak roses by grafting them in to stronger rose bushes, which then makes a new, even more beautiful plant. As Mama's final days approach, the family secret begins to emerge, which deepens the shock, confusion, and grief that the family is suffering. Months later when Daddy is suddenly taken away from them by a heart attack, the siblings must come to terms with what had been hidden from them, the impact it had on their relationships with each other, and what their mother had taught them about forgiveness, healing, and grafting in.

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Author/Artist Review

Author: Jo Piazza O'Mara
Located in: PA
Submitted: February 16, 2015

    Tell us a little about yourself.  Jo Piazza O’Mara, a pastor’s wife, has ministered alongside her husband, Ed, in churches in North Central Pennsylvania and Northeastern Pennsylvania for thirty-five years. Jo holds a degree in Information Systems Technology and a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Care Management from King’s College. Upon retirement from her career as Director of Admissions for a large retirement community she turned her attention to her long-time goal of writing Christian fiction. Garden of Hope is set in Lawrence, Massachusetts where Jo was born and raised. Although she moved from Lawrence when she married, fond memories of her childhood in New England inspired her to write this novel. Jo is a voracious reader and enthusiastic gardener, but what she really enjoys is cooking for her large family. Jo and Ed have four children and seventeen grandchildren. Presently, the O’Maras reside in Northeastern Pennsylvania.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  Serving alongside my husband in pastoral ministry for over thirty years has given me a keen awareness of the devastating consequences when unforgiveness is allowed to fester in relationships. Sadly, countless relationships become damaged or even destroyed. The storyline attempts to illustrate there are no perfect families because there are no perfect people; therefore, when emotional wounds become too painful to endure, the only answer to healing those fractured relationships is through the act of extending and receiving forgiveness. Hopefully, my readers will, by God's grace, find the strength to forgive.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  I have already, and would love to continue to hear personal testimonies of how God has worked in the lives of my readers; extending forgiveness to those who have offended them. Knowing that someone is walking in freedom, where they once were in bondage, is so very gratifying.

    How were you personally impacted by working on this project?  Since I set Garden of Hope in my hometown, Lawrence, Massachusetts, I loved reflecting on the iconic places of my childhood, which kept me on a continual path down memory lane. I was frequently overcome by thankfulness for my sheltered upbringing in a loving and very demonstrative family, much like the Agosti family.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  My mother, now close to 96 years old, inspired me at a young age. She loved to write poetry and short stories. Hearing her read them to me thrilled me to my core. I knew from the age of 10 that I had a story in me that needed to be written. I am such a voracious reader, so of course I have too many authors to enumerate. But a brief list of a few contemporary authors I enjoy would be: Chris Bohjalian, Francine Rivers, Lisa Scottoline, Kristen Hannah, Geraldine Brooks and Khaled Hosseini.

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  I have had such positive response to my first novel, how could I not do it again? So the sequel to this book is underway. I hope my readers will enjoy them both.

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