This is a sweet story based on the life of Hulda Klager. She was a "simple" farm wife who had a passion for flowers. She understood them and realized she could create new breeds by cross pollinating them. I enjoyed learning about her legacy and the various types of people she influenced over the years. She had many tragedies but her flowers gave her and so many others beauty and hope. Two things stood out to me in her life. One was the relationship she had with her husband. It was precious and inspiring the love and companionship they had. It was rare for a man to support his wife the way he did back in that time period. The second was how many people received her lilac blooms over the years and how they sent them back to help establish her garden again.
There were parts that were quite slow in the book but overall I enjoyed learning about her life.
I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah in exchange for my review.
Hulda Klager has a big dream. She wants to create a creamy white lilac with more petals than others. She experiments with grafting and hybridization. Her experiments put her at odds at times with her family, but she's got a faith that helps her to see her dreams through the seasonal floods and family trials.
This book is based on the true story of Hulda Klager. I thought it moved pretty slow. Overall, her triumphs and her struggles fascinated me. I learned way more about plant hybridization than I ever knew before. Sure it's fiction. And it's told beautifully. But, overall, I thought it dragged a little too much for me.
I received this book for free from Waterbrook/Multnomah's Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
One woman, an impossible dream, and the faith it took to see it through.
German immigrant and farm wife Hulda Klager possesses only an eighth-grade educationÃ¢â¬âand a burning desire to create something beautiful. What begins as a hobby to create an easy-peeling apple for her pies becomes Hulda's driving purpose: a time-consuming interest in plant hybridization that puts her at odds with family and community, as she challenges the early twentieth-century expectations for a simple housewife.
Through the years, seasonal floods continually threaten to erase her Woodland, Washington garden and a series of family tragedies cause even Hulda to question her focus. In a time of practicality, can one person's simple gifts of beauty make a difference?
Based on the life of Hulda Klager, Where Lilacs Still Bloom is a story of triumph over an impossible dream and the power of a generous heart.
"Beauty matters_ it does. God gave us flowers for a reason. Flowers remind us to put away fear, to stop our rushing and running and worrying about this and that, and for a moment, have a piece of paradise right here on earth."
My Thoughts About the Book
It isn't always easy to review books, specifically when I have to base my review on the advanced reading copy which I received. Odd paragraph breaks, missing quotation marks, and other grammatical errors made for a distracting read, but I'm fairly sure that these things will be corrected in the final selling copies.
As for the rest of the book: It was an interesting read, but nothing that makes me all that crazy about it. Basically, although there was nothing wrong with it, it was not over-the-top-awesome.
Mrs. Klager honestly seemed to have a rather sad life, but perhaps this observation comes simply from the fact that all the sad things which happened in her eighty-year life were condensed into the two hours it took me to read through the book. However, it did seem that a lot of people died in the book. I was also bothered by the fact that Mrs. Klager's garden seemed to be something which kept her away from her family. (Of course, the author couldn't help some of this, as she was fictionalizing actual events.)
As for the gardening side of the book - I did enjoy this part. When we lived in Minnesota our family had a lilac bush in the yard, and it was always one of my favorite plants. (Still is, in fact - which is why I picked up the book in the first place) The beauty of hundreds of plants blooming together is something which I'd like to do more than imagine. Someday, sometime, it would be fun to see the Klager gardens, in which case I would probably reread the books.
If you like reading about gardening or just various people and their struggles and joys, you'll enjoy this book. If not...well, I don't know.
My Rating (Based on My Thoughts About the Book)
Seven out of Ten Stars.
A Little Note About My Thoughts About the Book:
I received a free advanced reading copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Based on the life of Hulda Klager, Where Lilacs Still Bloom tells the story of a woman with a passion for plants of all kinds - particularly lilacs. Her passion leads her to a fascination with hybridizing and selectively pollinating to improve the flowers and share their beauty with others.
While the scientific aspect of the book was both interesting and entertaining (people had some crazy ideas in the early 1900s, and I loved the author's portrayal of social concerns revolving around scientific issues), the rest of the story was somewhat... well, lacking.
The main character, Hulda, frequently keeps things from her husband who doesn't share her all-consuming passion for plants and doesn't always approve 100% of it. That really bothered me. That, and the way her gardening and hybridizing projects always seem to take equal or even greater precedence over her family. Everything that happens gets twisted around into an opportunity/excuse to work more in her garden, and I often felt like the garden mattered more to her than her family did.
On top of all that, the storyline itself was somewhat depressing. I really can't be more specific than that without giving something important away. I understand that it's based on a true story and all, but still, I like reading books that leave me feeling refreshed and uplifted at the end... not tired and depressed.
All in all, Where Lilacs Still Bloom, while providing a great peek into science's past, wasn't really a book I would want to read again.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for my review. A favorable review is not required; my opinions are my own.
The book "Where Lilacs Still Bloom" is a novel based on the life of a real woman who lived in the early 1900Ã¢â¬Â²s in the pacific north west of America. Usually I choose books that are works of fiction, but since I love lilacs I thought I would enjoy this book about a woman who loved lilacs so much she taught herself how to make hybrid blooms and create something different. I was right, I really enjoyed this book! The story of Hulda Klager's life is a story of challenges and faith, hope and flowers, hard work and generousity.
I was about 3 pages into the book and I was hooked. You can read a preview of the first chapter yourself here http://waterbrookmultnomah.com/blog/2011/12/09/sneak-peek-where-lilacs-still-bloom-by-jane-kirkpatrick/
This is a story from the turn of the century, our country wasn't as connected as it is now, but this one woman managed to bring people together from all across the United States and beyond just by dreaming of a better lilac and then working tward making that happen, and sharing what she was working on with everyone one who wanted to accept what she had to share. Her generous nature was a blessing to her community, and in times of extreme hardship, it came back to her a hundred fold. She lived her life the only way she knew how, with hard work and determination, loving family and with a passion for God's beauty. What started as a wish for a bigger better apple so she could bake pies for her husband ended up nearly 100 years later as a world famous garden that still exists today. I think one of the best parts about this book is that after reading it I was able to go online to www.lilacgardens.com and find pictures and information about the home and gardens that are open to the public even 50 years after Hulda's death.
I have a small collection of lilac's in my own yard but I now have a dream to have one of Hulda's Lilacs in my yard someday as well, I'll have to travel to Washington to get it, but someday I'd love to have one. Rarely does a book inspire me as much as this one has. To learn about what this one woman and her family did in their lifetime make me want to try harder in my own life. I could never do what she did with flowers, but I can hope to live in such a way that my passion for God, my love for my family, and my hope for a beautiful garden will be remembered. I highly reccommend reading this book!
"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review".