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Lovey, grew up in Oxford, Mississippi, surrounded by her mother’s stunning flower gardens. A shed fire, changed everything. She now served as the family scapegoat, always bearing the brunt of her older sister Bitsy’s blame.
At eighteen, suffocating in her sister’s shadow, Lovey turned down a marriage proposal and fled to Arizona and became a successful advertising executive and a weekend yoga instructor. Her father asks her to come home three weeks early for her parents’ 50th anniversary to work on a memory garden her father has planned as an anniversary surprise. While creating this sacred place, she begins to rediscover her roots, learning how to live perennially in spite of life’s many trials and tragedies.
Years ago, Lovey chose to leave her family and the South far behind. But now that she returned, she’s realizing things at home were not always what t,hey seemed.
Number of Pages: 352
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
|Publication Date: 2017|
"This is a book to read more than once." Karen White, New York Times bestselling author
"If Julie Cantrell isnt on your reading list, she should be." Lisa Wingate, national bestselling author
When two estranged sisters reunite for their parents 50th anniversary, a family tragedy brings unexpected lessons of hope and healing amid the flowers of their mothers perennial garden.
Eva Sutherlandknown to all as Loveygrew up safe and secure in Oxford, Mississippi, surrounded by a rich literary history and her mothers stunning flower gardens. But a shed fire, and the injuries it caused, changed everything. Her older sister, Bitsy, blamed Lovey for the irreparable damage. Bitsy became the homecoming queen and the perfect Southern belle who could do no wrong. All the while, Lovey served as the family scapegoat, always bearing the brunt when Bitsy threw blame her way.
At eighteen, suffocating in her sisters shadow, Lovey turned down a marriage proposal and fled to Arizona. Free from Bitsys vicious lies, she became a successful advertising executive and a weekend yoga instructor, carving a satisfying life for herself. But at forty-five, Lovey is feeling more alone than ever and questioning the choices that led her here.
When her father calls insisting she come home three weeks early for her parents 50th anniversary, Lovey is at her wits end. Shes about to close the biggest contract of her career, and theres a lot on the line. But despite the risks, her fathers words, "Family First," draw her back to the red-dirt roads of Mississippi.
Lovey is drawn in to a secret projecta memory garden her father has planned as an anniversary surprise. As she helps create this sacred space, Lovey begins to rediscover her roots, learning how to live perennially in spite of lifes many trials and tragedies.
Years ago, Lovey chose to leave her family and the South far behind. But now that shes returned, shes realizing things at home were not always what they seemed.
Julie Cantrell is an award-winning New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling novelist whose work focuses on relationships, resilience, and faith. As a writer, speaker, TEDx presenter, and teacher, she aims to build empathy and connection while inspiring others to live their best life.
Julie served as editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review and has received the Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Arts Fellowship as well as the Rivendell Writers Colony Mary Elizabeth Nelson Fellowship.
A certified speech-language pathologist (SLP), Julie is a literacy advocate who previously served on the board of her local literacy council. Dedicated to helping children overcome social, academic, and communication challenges, Julie has filled various gaps when called to serve her local public school system as an SLP, a reading interventionist, an ELL tutor, and a special education sub.
Julie also spent six years operating her familys sustainable farm where she tended organic crops while caring for a wide variety of furry and feathered friends. She is a certified naturalist who enjoys exploring this beautiful world. Additionally, she has operated a freelance writing business for almost twenty years.
Today, Julie writes fulltime from her home in Oxford, Mississippi. Perennials is her fourth novel.
'Cantrell captures the unbreakable bonds of family in this poignant story. . .Cantrell has a great understanding of family quirks and the nuances of family dynamics, and. . .the textured portrayal of Eva will leave readers inspired.'
'Cantrell examines the dynamics of a strong family driven apart by jealousy and falsehoods as her characters discover how love can conquer old hurts and unearth the deep roots of truth.'
MagisterMichiganAge: 55-65Gender: female4 Stars Out Of 5"Only those who love you most can hear you when you're quiet"March 2, 2018MagisterMichiganAge: 55-65Gender: femaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 0Wow! Another thrilling, keep-the-kleenex-close book from the talented Julie Cantrell. This novel tenderly shows us how a wounded sister examines her choices, past and present, and finally learns the timeless lessons of love and courage that empowered her parents' 50 years of marriage. Although I personally don't endorse the spirituality in this book (heavy on Buddhism, Native American lore, visions), Lovey's moment of insight as she teaches her elderly parents yoga is a great summary of her dilemma: "It's bound to be one of the most peaceful moments we've ever shared. That's the paradox, isn't it? I can stay here and actually live the life I am trying to sell to the world. Or I can go back...sit in my cubicle, stare at a computer screen, and produce a campaign that encourages OTHER people to live the very lifestyle I'm experiencing right here and now without a single Jansana product in sight." With roots in Mississippi and Arizona, and known either by her official name, Eva, or her nickname, Lovey, she has given her heart to two men and taken it back. Is her duplicity really any different than her sister's life of lies? Or Reed's? This tale delicately yet relentlessly probes her scars and the words that caused them. Memorable characters (Fisher!), great historical tidbits (Eudora Welty, William Faulkner) and down-home reflections make this read a real winner. I love the honest way Lovey comes to face her own failures, not just her sister's- what a beautiful story of forgiveness and reconciliation. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via The Fiction Guild, and was not required to post a review.
Anna MaeAge: Over 65Gender: Female5 Stars Out Of 5The Perennials by Julie CantrellFebruary 16, 2018Anna MaeAge: Over 65Gender: FemaleQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5Wow! What can I say? I didn't think I would like this book when I started it but not many pages later I was hooked.
It is about a lifetime of experiences in a loving home where the parents, Mother and Chief, are oblivious to the differences between their two daughters, Bitsy and Eva. I can picture myself in Mother's delightful southern garden around which this novel was built.
Unfortunately, Bitsy always wanted to be in the limelight, lying to get Eva in trouble, putting her down to put herself on top in everything. Eva early on was nicknamed "Lovey" because of her quiet gentle nature and everyone loved her which made Bitsy hate her even more.
Eva left it all behind at age eighteen and moved from home in Mississippi far away to Arizona where she made a very successful life for herself.
Years later she is called home for her parents' fiftieth anniversary party and she remembers the good things while it seems Bitsy hasn't changed a bit.
I wouldn't call this novel Christian fiction as I think they all would have done better sooner if they had prayed more and sought the Lord to help and guide them through difficult times. The story kind of reminds me of Jesus' parable of the sower in the Bible.
There is a sweet love story which I won't describe. Please pick up a copy and read for yourself. There is a lot to be learned in this story and I'm so glad Fiction Guild sent this book to me. In the future I will look for Julie's books. It's much more than entertainment.
Brittany_BnBblogAge: 25-34Gender: Female4 Stars Out Of 5Perennials Julie Cantrell (4-4.5 Stars)January 23, 2018Brittany_BnBblogAge: 25-34Gender: FemaleQuality: 0Value: 0Meets Expectations: 0In Perennials, Eva Lovey Sutherland finds herself traveling back to her hometown in Oxford, Mississippi, for her parents 50th wedding anniversary. For years, Eva felt that she was forced to abandon her idyllic childhood by her older sister, who cruelly blamed her for all of lifes wrongs. However, Evas years away in Arizona have given her perspective and its own share of failure, even in the face of great success in her career. In renewing her relationship with her family, she also rediscovers her love for gardening and the countless lessons that her parents taught her about family, life, and love. As the events of her parents anniversary draw to a close, Eva finds herself having to ultimately choose between her lives in Mississippi and Arizona, between embracing her roots or permanently leaving them behind.
Perennials features the development of one family as they embrace trials and love that come with the seasons of life. With incredible descriptions of Evas hometown and southern gardens, horticultural enthusiasts will be thrilled with this story.
Overall, I quite enjoyed reading Perennials. While Im relatively unfamiliar with Ms. Cantrells other work, I found this novel to be surprisingly approachable. The writing style was moderately paced and easy to read. I did find that some aspects of the story were slightly more New Age than Christian, but I can see why this novel would appeal to readers who typically read this type of contemporary Christian fiction. Due to the events described in the story, I would not necessarily say that the novel is entirely uplifting or lighthearted. However, Ms. Cantrell manages to expertly develop her characters and the plot to provide a satisfying conclusion.
Special thanks The Fiction Guild and Thomas Nelson for the promotional copy of Perennials!
Brittany at the Books and Biscuits Blog
ldesherl5 Stars Out Of 5Inspiration & RealisticJanuary 12, 2018ldesherlQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5This is a novel, a work of fiction. It is written in the Christian genre. Julie Cantrell begins her book with a Prologue. She spreads her actual content, the novel's material, across 34 chapters. She ends with a brief Author Note, Acknowledgements, and Discussion Questions. These questions seem to be intended for group discussion because of the title. The author wraps it all up with Activity Sparks which are ideas from the book meant to inspire activity and an author bio. Julie Cantrell has written multiple novels that have won awards, such as Christy Award and the Carol Award. She is currently a finalist for many literary awards, including the Southern Book Prize.
This book is a wholesome book and not heavy on theology. That is what I expected. And because of the subject matter, I found it fascinating and read it in only a few sittings. This book begins with a horrific tragedy that results in an estranged family relationship. Many Christian novels are rather boring and predictable. There is at least one conversion at the end. This book has bittersweet endings. It ends with two tragedies. The estranged sisters have some something of a reconciliation. But it is not a full reconciliation. And their partial reconciliation happens only near the end of the book. And the reconciliation is rather one-sided. While I found this ending rather disappointing, I know that this is how life works. Life is full of disappointments. And not all issues or sins get fully resolved, even in this life. And so this novel is true to life and realistic while it is also optimistic.
I recommend this book to anyone who likes a wholesome novel and an alternative to the steamy, sexy novels that are so available. We need more youth versions of books like this.
I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review of this book. I wasn't required to give a favorable review of this book.
Cynthia5 Stars Out Of 5WonderfulJanuary 4, 2018CynthiaQuality: 5Value: 5Meets Expectations: 5I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild. I was not required to give a favorable review. This was a wonderful story about family, life, death and what each of has to go through just to live. Bitsy is the older sister but feels her parents are giving her sister to much of the time and attention. Lovey (Eva) is the younger sister that doesn't feel she belongs, it start with a fire in the tool shed, that ends up hurting two of their friends, to little things as they grow up. Now Lovey has made a life in AZ and very rarely goes back to Mississippi to visit. But now her parents are going to be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and she need to go home. So many things are going to chance and happen while she is there that makes her decide to come home for good. I loved this story because you need a few tissues, and understand the love the family brings.