Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Mini Review: The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: May 2nd 2017
My rating: 4 Stars
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | TBD

Lilian Girvan has been a single mother for three years—ever since her husband died in a car accident. One mental breakdown and some random suicidal thoughts later, she’s just starting to get the hang of this widow thing. She can now get her two girls to school, show up to work, and watch TV like a pro. The only problem is she’s becoming overwhelmed with being underwhelmed.

At least her textbook illustrating job has some perks—like actually being called upon to draw whale genitalia. Oh, and there’s that vegetable-gardening class her boss signed her up for. Apparently being the chosen illustrator for a series of boutique vegetable guides means getting your hands dirty, literally. Wallowing around in compost on a Saturday morning can’t be much worse than wallowing around in pajamas and self-pity.

After recruiting her kids and insanely supportive sister to join her, Lilian shows up at the Los Angeles Botanical Garden feeling out of her element. But what she’ll soon discover—with the help of a patient instructor and a quirky group of gardeners—is that into every life a little sun must shine, whether you want it to or not…
My Thoughts:
After getting a recommendation from Heidi, our long time bloggy friend from Rainy Day Ramblings, I knew I had to pick up The Garden of Small Beginnings.  I’m so happy I did because it was charming, fun, and full of laugh-out-loud humor!

Lilian lost her husband in a tragic accident four years ago, and hasn’t really moved on.  Not that she’s in a deep depression, this story is far from depressing, but she hasn’t really begun living life for herself since.  Her world is about her two girls, seven-year-old Annabel and five-year-old Clare. Her younger sister Rachel figures heavily into her life as well.  All it takes is a gardening class to shake things up. Thrown together with people Lily wouldn’t normally have mixed with, learning about plants, soil, as well as each other. The class instructor Edward Bloem, makes the class come to life, and his enthusiasm for growing things and life in general is contagious. 

Even though this story is about a widower coming to grips with her loss and living for herself again, it’s lighthearted for the most part, and really positive.  Like I said, this book was super funny, and a pretty realistic take on life with small children.  I live in northern Los Angeles, and a lot of times the life pictured in movies or books isn’t close to my experience, but I think the author captured a more authentic representation of Los Angeles area life.

I received a copy, but I ended up listening to the audio version, and I enjoyed the narration.  Emily Rankin had great comedic timing, given that much of the story is humorous observations and situations, that was important.  The only voice I wasn’t super keen on was Edward’s.  The accent sounded like an old German professor, instead of a handsome man from Holland.  At any rate, it didn’t hamper my enjoyment of their romance.


  1. This was such a lovely read1 Glad you enjoyed it too. Great review!

  2. I'm always on the lookout for good audiobooks so I'll have to find this one and give it a listen! This sounds really sweet and I'm glad it never veers towards a depressing side. Wonderful review, Rachel!

  3. I haven't heard of this one before but it sounds great! That's awesome that it captures a realistic view of Los Angeles. I feel like so many times people view Los Angeles at a city of celebrities and not much else. Great review! :)

  4. I absolutely loved this! Especially that they all came together and formed a misfit family of sorts.

  5. Glad this was good, and humorous too! I love it when a book makes me laugh out loud! Nice too that it captures the LA area accurately, that's always a plus. Sounds like a fun read!

  6. Gorgeous review Rachel :D Yay for loving this book a bunch. <3 That cover is so colorful and pretty :D Yay for fun and sweet story. <3 Sounds interesting; but not for me. Rude. One day, maybe :D Thank you for sharing sweetie. <3

  7. Yeah. Glad you loved it. I actually thought that LA didn't come through very well in the book. I didn't want the glitz and all that, but I honestly forgot it was in LA. The rest was wonderful. Glad you took a chance on my recommendation and it paid off for you!


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