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Susannah's Garden authored by Debbie Macomber is the first book of a series that relates ordinary life stories in a fictional Romance genre format. Back on Blossom Street follows Susannah's Garden in this book series. An excerpt of Back on Blossom Street is located at the back of Susannah's Garden .
For those unfamiliar with Debbie Macomber, she is also the author of Sooner or Later , A Good Yarn, 6 Rainer Drive, This Matter of Marriage plus many other novels. Mrs. Macomber is a very prolific writer. She is regarded in her field, according to the About the Author section in the back of Susannah's Garden , as "a leading voice in women's fiction worldwide." Debbie Macomber's works have appeared on every major bestsellers list, including the New York Times, USA Today and Publishers Weekly. She is the recipient of the 2005 Quill Award for Best Romance.
Susannah's Garden is a mystery-romance. The main character Susannah Nelson is fifty years old, married, a mother and teacher. Susannah, after receiving a disturbing call from her mother’s housekeeper, decides to check out her mother’s situation by returning to her childhood home in Colville, Washington. Susannah confidently believes she can assess what is going on with her mother properly in person and can do this alone. Her mother Vivian is a widow to a judge and is suffering from acute memory loss. Susannah knows this is not just a friendly visit for she will have to determine if assisted living would be best for her mother. Susannah feels pangs of guilt, but wisely realizes her mother might not be able to take care of herself.
Susannah’s husband, Joe Nelson is a busy dentist who is willing to assist if she feels he can be of help. In Colville, Washington, Susannah faces the harsh reality to the degree of her mother's memory loss. She finds the refrigerator in need of being stocked, her mother not dressed like she normally is, and Vivian much thinner. Her mother cannot tell Susannah when she last went to the grocery store, but claims she has been eating well. The contents in the refrigerator contradict this. Another concerning aspect is Vivian continues to insist that her deceased husband has been visiting from the grave. Vivian relates how real these visits are. Like most, Susannah takes this as a sign of mental instability. She tries to discuss other things that Vivian should remember or be able to intelligently converse about, but finds her mother incapable. Feeling guilty, yet knowing this step would be the right thing to do for her mother, Susannah begins her campaign of talking Vivian into an assisted living environment. The rest of the main plot is about how this is accomplished and Vivian’s reaction to being thrown out of her home, forced into assisted living against her will, and how Susannah deals with this uncomfortable situation where she is completely at odds with her mother.
This book correctly explores the difficulty from both perspectives of child and parent when it comes to convincing an elderly person they are no longer capable of living by themselves; must move to an assisted living environment. Susannah's Garden poignantly points out how upsetting this is for the person suffering memory loss and how frustrating plus guilt-ridden it is for the person who is forced to help for the sake of the elderly person. This is addressed lovingly and compassionately by Debbie Macomber. She did an expert job explaining this through her usage of a fictional format.
Susannah's Garden does have delicious subplots that give one a momentary break from the main plot. These are written interwoven where one gets to know Susannah better via the subplots. The reader further learns about human nature, love, marriage and the tenuous aspects in a mother-daughter relationship as well as is allowed to participate in a fabulous mystery that gives clues leading toward the perfect surprise ending.
Susannah’s Garden ’s contents are the kind that could happen in real life. Debbie Macomber did an excellent portrayal of three women who represent three different generations in a family. She showed how similar, yet dissimilar these women are as well as how their love for each other gives them strength and unity as a family. Her exploration of women and their long term lady friendships was a nice bonus.
Susannah’s Garden is also about personal growth. It teaches good parents sometimes do things that children do not like in order to protect them for the seedier side of society. This book further relates the importance of one’s friends and spouse during difficult times; how great it is to have their compassion and support.
Susannah's Garden is well written in contemporary English and is superbly crafted. It is not a book just for women, my husband found it interesting and a good read. He hopes they make a movie out of this book; believes it would be a great movie.
For those who do not care for the typical Romance genre books, give Susannah’s Garden a try. This is no ordinary Romance genre book, one thinks along with the main character. Mystery lovers this book is definitely one not to miss reading. Please place Susannah’s Garden on your must-read list; you will be glad you did.