Monday, March 28, 2011

Book Review - The Red Garden

The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman caught my eye in the Bookpage news, that our library subscribes to, to circulate to our patrons.  I have never read any other books by Alice Hoffman, so I have nothing to base my inclinations on other than feeling. 

The story follows a linear gathering of characters from the mid 1760's till the present day in an area around the small town of Blackwell, MA.  A rich tapestry of players enter the stage, from Hallie, a simple colonial girl searching for something more, to a contemporary girl that has her life planned out, only to be interrupted by the tenderness of a secluded poet. 

Each chapter represents differing stories that are faintly connected through geographical location, sentiment or family heritage.  I found this format to be on one hand, a fresh idea in a book, but on the other, it left me with a bit of a disjointed feeling.  One thing that does tie the character's stories together is a liberal dose of mystery, that includes a ghost of a drowned girl, an apple tree that blossomed and provided fruit to the town of Blackwell in the year without a summer, a supposed mermaid, and of course a garden where everything that is grown is red.

Some chapter stories were painted more rich and bold by the author and some held more of an impressionist style that had me trying to read between the lines for thoughts on how all the pieces fit together and left me wondering what the characters lives were like in the future.

Over all, I found the book to be interesting, drawing me in with the layered time periods and characters that form around an area that comes to be known as the Red Garden. 

Thursday, March 3, 2011

They Are Blooming

This is the time of the year when our Amaryllis plants start to bloom.  Four weeks ago we had a beautiful peach colored flower bloom from the larger plant, and now the baby plant sprouted two more beautiful light colored flowers.  The Amaryllis plants belong to my hubby and we started bringing the plants into the library years ago, mainly because our library has these really large and high windows, so that makes for perfect light and growing conditions.  Also, as the Amaryllis plant ages, it grows higher and higher and has now outgrown our bay windows at home  

Every year some of my faithful library patrons wait and watch for the Amaryllis to bloom.  I believe it has actually become a ritual at the Colfax Public Library.  In the early summer, I will transfer the plants back home for a nice summer break outdoors, and then the plants return to the library in the fall before the weather turns bitterly cold.  Who would ever think plants get such royal treatment?  Maybe that's the key to keeping your plants happy, health and blooming!