September 2015, Kensington, 320 pages, Ebook, Review copy
Summary from Kensington
Livia is a quiet Midwestern suburb known for its green-thumbed residents and their impeccable yards--but this summer, they'll be digging up a lot more than weeds. . .
George and Nan Fremont are renowned among their neighbors for their meticulously manicured backyard. Now that the weather's warming up, it's time for them to give their neglected front yard a much-needed makeover. Luckily, their daughter Mary and their gardening intern Shirelle are around to help.
But a bevy of meddlers stonewall their latest project before they can even dig in. Shirelle's college advisor, Dr. Brockheimer, is a little too enamored with the Fremonts' gardening prowess. Livia's resident historian, Miss Price, seems to be hiding something about the history of their property. And their nosy neighbor, Jim Graybill, is forever scanning their lawn for buried treasures with his beloved metal detector--but could he actually be onto something for once?
Trouble is in full bloom in Livia, but with a trowel in one hand and a glass of merlot in the other, George and Nan count on everything coming up roses.
This is a slow paced read about community spirit, greed, and gardens. When I say slow paced I mean slow paced. A fair part of it seemed to be the residents sitting around drinking (often alcoholic beverages), gossiping about their neighbors and trying to get what they want. I would have preferred a faster pace, but the characters are rather eccentric so the time didn't totally drag in the slower parts.
There's a lot of rivalry, secrecy and sabotage going on in this garden themed read, with a bit of history thrown in too. I enjoyed the family dynamics which added to the humour and tension, and was very surprised when the culprit was revealed, proving the plot was set up well. The moment when the culprit loses their plot (goes more crazy than they already are) was brilliantly written and scarily realistic.
Find out more on Norman's website.