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Book Review: The Unfinished Garden

September 20th, 2012

When asked to review of a new novel, I accepted the challenge. I’m not really much of a novel reader, generally I prefer something I can glean information from or biographies. Novels should appear on my list more often and what a better way for it to happen.

The Unfinished Garden arrived at the perfect time, just after we finished our upstairs project. I had no mental capacity for learning much of anything and needed something that wasn’t tedious to read. One afternoon, I sat down with a cup of coffee and settled in for some much needed reading time.

This novel has a gardening theme woven throughout seem more engaging to me, being a gardener myself. The author is an avid gardener and you can really tell. I e-mailed Barbara Claypole White and asked d for a few photos of her garden to share with you. She happily obliged and even sent along this lovely image of her mom’s garden over in England. All the rest of the garden photos in this post are of her garden.

I have to admit that I was a bit nervous that this was going to be a cheesy romance novel, which are on the way bottom of my reading list, in fast they never make it on the list. I nervously cracked the book bracing myself for the worst. The book was finished in just a few sittings, generally the mark of a good book. If I find myself wanting to continue reading way past my bedtime, it’s an engaging story.

This story intrigued me for a few reasons. One being that the main character is a widow. I have a very dear friend who lost her husband after only a few years of marriage at a young age. She definitely came to mind often while reading this book.

I won’t be telling you all about the book here, I am the type of person who doesn’t like to read descriptions before cracking the cover of a book. I like to fully discover the story without any preconceived notions about the book.

I will tell you, if you enjoy a good novel and enjoy gardening, I think you’ll find this book engaging.

Now that I have read the book, I no longer need my copy. If you’d like to find a copy of this book in your mailbox, comment below and I’ll choose a winner next week. Winner chosen. Kimberly who said: “I would love to read the book – it sounds wonderful! What lovely pictures of the garden!” As an added bonus, I’m sending this book along to Barabara Claypole-White the author, she’s going to sign it and send it along to you Kimberly. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite kind of book to read?

62 Comments to “Book Review: The Unfinished Garden”
  1. Fawn on September 20, 2012 at 6:11 am

    I love a good novel that displays creative writing and thinking. I enjoy certain non- fictions as well but find that, often, the authors creative writing abilities aren’t as strong which is disengaging for me.

    Reply to Fawn's comment

  2. Andrea Duke on September 20, 2012 at 6:17 am

    I used to read more fiction than I do now. My favorite being Pillars of the Earth and World without End.
    These days I find myself reading mostly blogs about my interests with a book every once in awhile. I am in the middle of Sheepish at the moment.

    Reply to Andrea Duke's comment

  3. Linda on September 20, 2012 at 6:27 am

    I’m an avid reader as well as an avid gardener. My favorite books are those with an unexpected or quirky story line or a book with an unusual point of view. I’m with you on those cheesy romances.

    Except for a very few, I don’t hang on to my books when I’m finished reading them as I rarely read a book twice. I’d be happy to read the book and then send it on to another Chiot’s Run reader when I’m finished.
    Linda´s last post ..The Apple Doesn’t Fall Far From The Tree

    Reply to Linda's comment

  4. Annette May on September 20, 2012 at 7:07 am

    I love a good historical fiction. I’m in love with history and mixing it up with a good story is my perfect read!

    Reply to Annette May's comment

  5. Robin on September 20, 2012 at 7:17 am

    I am an avid reader, and am never without a book to read. I like to lose myself in a good historical novel.

    Reply to Robin's comment

  6. Erin on September 20, 2012 at 7:18 am

    I love novels that include an aspect of nature or the outdoors in the theme so this sounds so perfect!

    Reply to Erin's comment

  7. Jill Richey on September 20, 2012 at 7:21 am

    I love reading, I love gardening, I love garden photos, and I LOVE stories with gardening woven in!

    Reply to Jill Richey's comment

  8. elaine on September 20, 2012 at 7:23 am

    i read anything! everything! i’ll give any printed page a shot!

    Reply to elaine's comment

  9. Gayle on September 20, 2012 at 7:26 am

    Mostly books where I learn something, although when driving a good suspense audiobook is my choice.

    Reply to Gayle's comment

  10. Karen on September 20, 2012 at 7:41 am

    I would love to read it! I do love to garden and that is coming to a close
    as the cooler temps are moving in here. Thanks for the chance.

    Reply to Karen's comment

  11. Barbara Claypole White on September 20, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Thanks for the lovely review. Happy reading and happy gardening, people!

    Reply to Barbara Claypole White's comment

  12. Navya on September 20, 2012 at 7:52 am

    I like to read autobiographes.

    Reply to Navya's comment

    • Navya on September 20, 2012 at 7:54 am

      * autobiographies.

      Reply to Navya's comment

  13. DeeDee on September 20, 2012 at 7:57 am

    I will pretty much read anything….. Lots of marriage & parenting books, gardening,camping, travel, etc. When my brain is fried I love to escape toanother world & will pick up a novel. The last one I read was “Fatal Harvest” by Catherine Palmer. It had a little of the romance factor, but was definitely a great fiction read about the domination of the global food food industry. I thought about you often while I was reading it! I was impressed that a Christian writer had even thought to write about the subject, let alone that it was a great suspense novel!

    Reply to DeeDee's comment

  14. Stone soup on September 20, 2012 at 8:19 am

    I love to read cookbooks! Have way too many of them, but I can get lost in food thoughts for hours! Always nice to have a good book as a diversion, to remind me to slow down and breathe, although the gardens aren’t giving me much space these days as I frantically try and finish up my canning!

    Welcome to Maine! You must be close by now!

    Reply to Stone soup's comment

  15. Songbirdtiff on September 20, 2012 at 8:36 am

    I love a good book, but like you, I’m not much for a cheese romance. I do love J.R.R. Tolken, and some historical fiction. This book definitely sounds intriguing!
    Songbirdtiff´s last post ..Today’s harvest

    Reply to Songbirdtiff's comment

  16. Jodi Tork on September 20, 2012 at 8:39 am

    I love to read! I read everything, cookbooks, fiction, nonfiction and if there isn’t anything else the back of the cereal box!! LOL

    Reply to Jodi Tork's comment

  17. Heather on September 20, 2012 at 8:52 am

    Ms. Claypole White’s gardens are gorgeous!! Her book sounds interesting and worth a read.

    I generally am addicted to fiction (young adult dystopias being a particular favorite), though did just finish an amazing nonfiction book: A Man on the Moon: the Vogages of the Apollo Astronauts.

    I don’t go anywhere without a book or ebooks on my Kindle just in case I get stuck in a line or waiting on the kids or… there’s always a need to have a book handy.

    Reply to Heather's comment

  18. Erika on September 20, 2012 at 9:01 am

    I love any book well written and once I find an author I like I will read all of their books. Love books about fiction and nonfiction about gardening, farming, history, and my guilty pleasure, mysteries.

    Reply to Erika's comment

  19. Ann on September 20, 2012 at 9:07 am

    I am also a gardener who loves to read. My favorite is the novel. I like either quirky stories or ones with great depth and character development. Barbara Kingsolver and Kate Morton are 2 of my favorite that do so well with the latter.

    I am also fond of reading and rereading books about getting back to the older ways of planting and growing food and ornamentals. Again, Barbara Kingsolver is a top contender in that catagory!! Animal, Vegetable, Miracle might just be one of my favorite books of all time.

    Reply to Ann's comment

  20. liz on September 20, 2012 at 9:22 am

    I will always read Barbara Kingsolver and Doranna Durgin, they are my favorite.
    liz´s last post ..We’ve been busy

    Reply to liz's comment

  21. Patsy King on September 20, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Please add me to the book giveaway. And I don’t comment enough to let you know how much I like your blog. I read it almost every day with a cup of tea and a bit of toast. My morning pleasure.

    Reply to Patsy King's comment

  22. Jan on September 20, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Me please! Retired librarian, avid gardener :/>

    Reply to Jan's comment

  23. Amy P on September 20, 2012 at 9:35 am

    I love your site and don’t comment much. I am a small beginner gardener and not very good at it. I read your blog to get ideas and to see what my garden could become in the future if I keep at it. :)

    Reply to Amy P's comment

  24. igardendaily on September 20, 2012 at 9:51 am

    I’d love to read it! I’m always intrigued by novels where gardening is a big focus or a gardener is a main character. They are rare as far as I can tell. :)
    igardendaily´s last post ..Field Trip to The New Madeline George Design Nursery

    Reply to igardendaily's comment

  25. Kimberly on September 20, 2012 at 9:53 am

    I would love to read the book – it sounds wonderful!

    What lovely pictures of the garden!

    Reply to Kimberly's comment

  26. Canned Quilter on September 20, 2012 at 9:55 am

    Always love a good book!
    Canned Quilter´s last post ..Turkey Breast Cutlets And Strips

    Reply to Canned Quilter's comment

  27. Kathy L. on September 20, 2012 at 9:58 am

    Oh, I do love to read. I love a good, clean novel, especially if it relates to cooking, gardening, etc. I would love to find this book in my mailbox!

    Reply to Kathy L.'s comment

  28. cynthia on September 20, 2012 at 10:03 am

    I must say that I love reading gardening book and cookbooks, really like
    novels. They fascinate me and I always end up learning something.
    Thanks for sharing. Good luck in your new homestead. You are going to love having chickens, I miss having them. (Get some turkeys too- they are funny and very sweet and not dumb)

    Reply to cynthia's comment

  29. allegra on September 20, 2012 at 10:04 am

    I love reading historical novels, gardening and landscape books and probably, the most read at my house- cookbooks.

    Reply to allegra's comment

  30. cyndi on September 20, 2012 at 10:06 am

    Favorite reading- gardening and cooking books!

    Reply to cyndi's comment

  31. Melanie A. on September 20, 2012 at 10:19 am

    Oh, gosh, I am a sucker for books that incorporate gardens and gardening in a fictional plot line! My most frequently read (and read and read) are gardening books, cook books and historically-based fiction. If I were to win this book I, too, would be willing to pass on to another Chiot’s Run reader.

    Reply to Melanie A.'s comment

  32. Melissa on September 20, 2012 at 10:22 am

    Sounds like a great read! And her garden is gorgeous!
    Melissa´s last post ..Tumbledown Meals

    Reply to Melissa's comment

  33. Jaye on September 20, 2012 at 10:42 am

    This book looks intriguing – especially from what you’ve told us :) I love the photos of the author and her mothers garden!

    I like to read romance, thrillers, mysteries…and some sci-fi (although I’m particular about those).

    Reply to Jaye's comment

  34. Joy Giles on September 20, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Love garden/ farming themed books. . . novel or memoir.

    Reply to Joy Giles's comment

  35. Ms. Tweetley on September 20, 2012 at 10:49 am

    I’d love to read this book.

    Reply to Ms. Tweetley's comment

  36. Melanie on September 20, 2012 at 11:33 am

    What absolutely gorgeous garden pictures! I would love to win that book!

    Reply to Melanie's comment

  37. Barbara Claypole White on September 20, 2012 at 11:43 am

    Should have thought of this earlier, but if you mail the novel to me with the address of the winner, I’d be happy to sign it and reship. :)

    Reply to Barbara Claypole White's comment

  38. Alyssa on September 20, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    I love historical fiction books. Anything war time era gets me interested. I wonder why that is?

    Reply to Alyssa's comment

  39. Donna B. on September 20, 2012 at 12:23 pm

    I’m not much of a book reader myself; although I have read the Harry Potter novels, the Song of Ice and Fire [starting book 5 soon!], and a bit of Douglas Adam’s stuff. I do like reading, but I’m the kind of person that keeps thinking of things to do – so I never just sit down and READ. Hehe.
    Oh I hope this story isn’t sad. The title alone makes me think that it starts out sad, but then becomes uplifting. I tend to overthink about stories and movies. It’s a bad trait. Hehe! :D

    Reply to Donna B.'s comment

  40. Becky on September 20, 2012 at 12:39 pm

    I’m also overdue to read some non-fiction. This book sounds interesting and might be perfect since I’m about to start a night class. I’ll need something more entertaining for a break soon!

    Reply to Becky's comment

  41. Amy B on September 20, 2012 at 1:39 pm

    Historical fiction is my favorite relaxing reading. I’ve been spending alot time lately reading about gardening though as we set up a new garden at our new house.

    Just discovered your blog and I’m really enjoying it. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply to Amy B's comment

  42. Diana on September 20, 2012 at 1:49 pm

    Sounds like a welcome diversion! Hope your drive is going well!

    Reply to Diana's comment

  43. kristin @ going country on September 20, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    Nothing lately (thanks, kids!), but usually novels.

    Safe travels. I’m so excited for your new adventure.
    kristin @ going country´s last post ..Saucy Pears

    Reply to kristin @ going country's comment

  44. Peggy on September 20, 2012 at 2:13 pm

    This sounds like a wonderful book… and I would be more than happy to pass it along after reading it as well. :)
    Peggy´s last post ..The family room makeover… a sneak peak

    Reply to Peggy's comment

  45. Ammal on September 20, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    Thanks for the recommendation of this book, the whole time reading your review I was thinking about how fast I can order this book from the library. thanks.

    Reply to Ammal's comment

  46. Estelle on September 20, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    Reply to Estelle's comment

  47. Kathy Ritter (library) on September 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Hello! I have seen this book circulating around the library & have been wanting to get my hands on it. I already had a stack of books to read so I let ours go out. Now I just can’t wait to read it. Good luck in you & Brian’s new adventures. Hope things worked out well for Dexter. God bless.

    Reply to Kathy Ritter (library)'s comment

  48. Sonja on September 20, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Love reading, love gardening, love knitting. Read a few novels that include kniting in there somewhere, and one that had some chickens running around, but don’t recall one that centered on gardening. I would love to read it. Best of luck on your trip with your kitty co-pilots.

    Reply to Sonja's comment

  49. whit on September 20, 2012 at 7:41 pm

    I am a technical reader too. Maybe that’s why i like homeschooling my kiddo so much. Everything we read during the day is stimulating the brain.

    I did just finish something out of the ordinary for me. My dad recommended i read “What is the What?” By D. Eggars. It was a first hand account from one of the Lost Boys of So. Sudan, juxtaposing life their against his life here in the USA. Couldn’t put it down. Compelling story makes you want to find an immigrant family and ask how you can help.

    Thanks for the opportunity at the book. Occasionally, when i think no one is watching, i sneak a read at a romance novel. Nothing too exciting…more like the Amish Beverly Lewis series.
    whit´s last post ..Fraises des Bois

    Reply to whit's comment

  50. angie h on September 21, 2012 at 8:54 am

    I read all kinds of books! I try to mix up my genres. A few years ago I started asking people for recommendations on what to read and it really expanded my horizons! I love the classics and I love series because I tend to fall in love with characters and always want to know more about them. I also enjoy reading non-fiction, science stuff, how-to’s. But, the Anne of Greengables series will forever in my heart be my favorite-read them at age 8 for the first time and have reread them several times.

    Reply to angie h's comment

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Shop through these links and I get a few cents each time. It's not much, but it allows me to buy a new cookbook or new gardening book every couple months. I appreciate your support!


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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