I have been lucky to find books to call my favorites. I am lucky to have befriended authors who give me hope and make me smile. Today, I am happy to say that another book has found its way to my heart. I didn’t know I needed life stories as much as I do before I read Megan Attley. I didn’t know I had enough courage to read about subjects that really make me feel until I opened The Garden on Holly Street.
I would like to send a million thanks to Alex at Orion for inviting me to be part of the blog tour and providing me with a copy of this book. Thank you!
Title: The Garden on Holly Street
Author: Megan Attley
Date of publication: 11 July 2019
Format: Netgalley proof
Number of pages: 368
Sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to get the life you want . . .
Abby Hamilton’s world has turned upside down in a matter of months – it seems that change is definitely in the air. But moving into Willow Court might just be the fresh start and happy distraction she needed.
Meeting her intriguing new neighbours helps push Abby out of her comfort zone. Then she finds an overgrown patch of garden in desperate need of love and time – something Abby has in spades! Throwing herself into bringing the garden back to life, Abby discovers that new beginnings can come from the most surprising places…
An uplifting, feel-good novel, perfect for fans of Holly Hepburn, Heidi Swain and Isabelle Broom.
When I decided to branch out and visit other places than murder scenes and police precincts, I had no idea I was doing myself a favor. Not just because my reading horizon would expand, but because I would grow and learn how to open my heart to stories that scared me more than deaths and monsters. Stories of life.
I have enjoyed several lovely women’s fiction (seriously, this genre needs a better name. It can’t be reduced to being for women, or written by women only) but none have reached my heart the way The Garden on Holly Street by Megan Attley did.
Megan, thank you. We share a name, and now you have a place in my heart, for your novel filled it with warmth and butterflies I will cherish.
When I met Abby, her life was turning upside down. Life has ways to show you that the path you are on is not the one for you. Alright, sometimes, it’s just fate, bad luck, and the universe’s awful sense of humor playing with you, but there’s (almost) always a reason. At least, that’s what I was told, and that’s what this novel reminded me.
So, after a bad breakup and the loss of her job, Abby settles in her new apartment, not sure what to do with herself. It literally is the first time she is on her own, having been with her ex since she was a teen. I immediately related to her. I recalled the first weeks of my life after my own first breakup. I’d only had one partner, for a very long time, and suddenly I had to unlearn life as I knew it, and find a new way to see the future. I hadn’t dared being my true self, and I didn’t know who I was on my own. While reading about Abby, I felt as though I was looking into a mirror. She likes books and she has a blog that she uses to pour her thoughts and doubts, finding comfort in the interactions she gets online. Oh, and her best friend is gay. Wait, was this book based on my life???
The author writes with such accuracy that everyone can find a way to connect to Abby. A detail is bound to make you feel for her, with her, and fell for her shyness, her fears, her strength.
Two floors down, Mr Mayer lives alone in his apartment. Widowed and lonely, his manners made me smile, the way grumpy grandads do. Rough on the outside, hiding under an armor that filters the pain of long days in a world where you don’t know your neighbors’ names. Again, without ever falling into the pitfall of sentimentalism, Megan Attley puts her finger on a current and worrying issue: elderly people conditions. No, you won’t get any ‘it was better in my time’ don’t worry. But you will get a shot of ‘what can we do to make life a little brighter?’ and this just spoke to me, head to toe. It doesn’t have to be this way…
Living between those apartments is little Ernie, who spends his days between difficult school days and waiting for his dad to come home from work. I dare you not to fall in love with Ernie, a kind, generous, curious, and adorable seven years old with a million questions and an immense appetite for life! So mature at times, and yet so little, Ernie is not afraid to love, to give others his best, and I surprised myself wishing I could hold his hand and go running in the park with him.
In the middle lays a neglected garden. Now I am no green thumb and I couldn’t give the name of more than three flowers. Don’t ask me to recognize a tree! But there is a potential there, and Abby sees it. She seizes it. If her life is a mess, then she’ll start cleaning by giving this place its old beauty! And guess what? I agreed with her. I was glad not to be flooded with gardening lessons, the place being a quiet character on its own, gently helping everyone move on. Enough flowery things to make me feel I was enjoying rays of sunshine on my face, but not too much so I would look at my hand and expect to see mud!
With charming secondary characters (and a sexy one), this unlikely team breathes life into an uplifting, heartwarming, and beautiful tale of new beginnings, chances, and love in all its forms. I have no words to explain how much I love this novel. I am not going soft, but The Garden on Holly Street whispered to me that it was okay to seek help, to let your feelings known, and to keep hoping.
Nothing happens overnight. I just love how Megan Attley let the protagonists take their time to get to know each other, and to (re-)discover themselves. Nothing is rushed, setbacks happen, but in the end, they all blossom. No, the sky won’t forever be blue, but it’s okay as long as you have people around you who care.
I choose to believe that this book is about what could happen if we all opened our eyes a little more. The Garden on Holly Street is a stunning and sweet novel I beg you to read. It is the definition of the perfect comfort read, with friends waiting for you between the pages.
Open your garden, take a look, there’s a copy of this novel waiting for you!