April is the cruellest month but it’s not gonna get me this time. For *SPRING!* my reading has taken a turn from dark to light. I’m now looking for stories about love and belonging and home and selfhood. I think I’ll especially focus on women authors this spring. What suggestions do you have for me? I love reading your comments!
The Lost Garden ~ Helen Humphreys
This little novel is truly lovely, and I think probably underrated. There are intersections of intellect and instinct, of practicality and beauty, of femininity and queerness– things that can go hand in hand but seem at first to be in conflict. The language of the whole novel, epecially in its dreamlike moments of longing, is gorgeous. The theme of female friendship and self-liberation felt so important to me.
Gwen is an expert botanist and gardener, sent to the English countryside during the London blitz to work with the Women’s Land Army to – yes, I know- grow potatoes. She discovers that the old estate on which she’s stationed holds a myriad of secrets within its gardens, and as she uncovers meaning there, she learns about herself. It is a story of misplaced and unfulfilled love, but also a story of finding your own place in the world– not to be easily satisfied, but to cultivate whatever garden is in front of you with whatever tools are at hand.
The Signature of All Things ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
My theme for this week has apparently been “woman botanists,” which I never thought would be a particular interest of mine. But it makes sense, because I am a woman (if I may be so bold) of intellect who holds a deep need to connect to realness and the works of nature. And these characters just happen to be really cool.
I’ve barely made a dent in this beautiful book, but I’m enjoying it so far. I love historical fiction, especially when it verges on the epic, and I’m looking forward to watching the brilliant Alma grow up and have adventures. She’s the daughter of the botanical scion Henry Whittaker, and grows up in the late 18th Century on his massive estate in Pennsylvania as a prodigious child and a curious seeker of truth. And, oh, I believe there may be some romance coming down the road.
Have a happy reading week! I am looking for things that I can grow and nurture, so stay tuned for some plant pictures. What are you reading, and growing?