Jeremiah Williams has been tending the gardens of the Tennessee governor’s mansion for over twenty-five years. And like most first families who have come and gone, this one has stolen his heart.
Mackenzie and her husband, Governor Gray London, have struggled for ten years to have a child and are now enjoying a sweet season of life—anticipating the coming reelection and sending their precious daughter, Maddie, off to kindergarten—when a tragedy tears their world apart. As the entire state mourns, Mackenzie falls into a grief that threatens to swallow her whole.
Though his heart is also broken, Jeremiah realizes that his gift of gardening is about far more than pulling weeds and planting flowers. It’s about tending hearts as well. As he uses the tools that have been placed in his hands, he gently begins to cultivate the hard soil of Mackenzie’s heart, hoping to help her realize what it took him years to discover.
A Southern tale of loss, love, and living, The First Gardener reminds us that all of life is a gift, but our heart is the most valuable gift of all.
I have to say, I never expected to enjoy a novel about grief and depression. I’m not actually sure that ‘enjoy’ is the right word to use. This is a book that is intense, gut-wrenching, and beautiful. I’d love to use a quote in this review, but I couldn’t decide which one to use as there were so many that struck a chord within me. I’m not ashamed to suggest that this book needs a Kleenex warning either.
If you want to stay away from this book because of the main storyline – as I admit I originally did – think again. There is more than one story in this novel. It isn’t just about grief. It’s about actions and repercussions, pride, humility, forgiveness and letting go. It’s about trusting in God that he’ll never give you more than you can possibly handle, even when you think your circumstances might kill you. The First Gardener is a story that will stay with me for a long time.
Publisher: Tyndale House
Page Count: 432
Publication Date: 19 July 2011