Tending Roses

Tending Roses

by Lisa Wingate

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Overview

While living in a remote Missouri farmhouse-and struggling to care for her husband, baby, and aging grandmother-Katie Benson finds inspiration in the pages of her grandmother's journal....

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780594861775
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/12/2001
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 56,419
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.99(h) x 0.86(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Lisa Wingate is the New York Times bestselling author of thirty novels. She is known for combining elements of Southern storytelling, mystery, and history to create novels hailed by Publishers Weekly as “Masterful.” Her novel, Before We Were Yours, remained on the New York Times bestseller list for over five months and has been translated into thirty-five languages. While her work has received many awards, she most treasures the National Civics Award, awarded by the kindness watchdog organization Americans for More Civility, to recognize public figures who work to promote greater kindness and civility in American life. She believes that stories can change the world.

Read an Excerpt

Tending Roses, Chapter 1

Chapter 1

Indian wisdom says our lives are rivers. We are born somewhere small and quiet and we move toward a place we can not see, but only imagine. Along our journey, people and events flow into us, and we are created of everywhere and everyone we have passed. Each event, each person, changes us in some way. Even in times of drought we are still moving and growing, but it is during seasons of rain that we expand the most—when water flows from all directions, sweeping at terrifying speed, chasing against rocks, spilling over boundaries. These are painful times, but they enable us to carry burdens we could never have thought possible.

This I learned from my grandmother, when my life was rushing with torrential speed and hers was slowly ebbing into the sea. I think it was God's plan that we came together at this time. To carry each other's burden. To remind ourselves of what we had been and would someday become.

Floods are painful, but they are necessary. They keep us clear and strong. They move our lives onto new paths.

#

A winter rain was falling the day we drove the potholed gravel drive to the Missouri farmhouse my great-grandparents had built on a bluff above Mulberry Creek. As straight as one of the grand porch pillars, and as much a part of the house, Grandma watched as we wound through the rivers of muddy water flowing down the hill. She frowned and wrung her hands as the car tires spun, throwing gravel against the ancient trees along the drive. No doubt she was worried that we would damage her prized silver maples.

A sick feeling started in my throat and fell to my stomach like a swallowed ice cube. I looked at Ben in the driver's seat and the baby asleep in the car seat behind us. This would probably be the longest December and the worst Christmas of our lives.

It would only be a matter of time before Grandma figured out why we had come, and war broke out. Even now, she was looking at us with mild suspicion, no doubt calculating why we were arriving three weeks early for Christmas. She wouldn't be fooled for long into thinking this was just a casual visit. That was the wishful thinking of a bunch of relatives hoping to postpone the problem of Grandma Rose until they were off work for the Christmas holiday.

In a perfect world, all of them would have been rushing to Grandma's side, whether it was convenient or not. In a perfect world, I wouldn't have been looking at my grandmother with a sense of dread, and I wouldn't have been looking at my baby and wondering if the trip was too much for him and if it was wise to take him so far from his doctors. In a perfect world, babies are born healthy, and medical bills don't snowball into the tens of thousands of dollars, and grandmothers don't almost burn down their houses, and family members don't go years without speaking to one another, and Christmas is a time to look forward to....

But those of us who aren't perfect do the best we can. With me on maternity leave and Ben able to do most of his work in structural design anywhere there was a computer and a phone line, we were the logical choice to stay at the farm the next few weeks and make sure Grandma Rose didn't burn down the rest of the house before the family could figure out what to do about her.

But I never imagined how I would feel when we turned the corner to the house. I never thought the sight of my grandmother, ramrod straight on the porch, would turn me into that six-year-old girl who hated to enter that house. It wasn't Grandma I hated. It was the house, the constant fuss about scuffing the floors, and scraping the walls, and tracking mud on the rugs—as if the house were more important than the children in it.

From the porch, Grandma flailed her arms and yelled something we couldn't understand.

"She's..." Ben squinted through the rain. "...Telling me how to park."

"If it weren't raining, she'd be climbing into the driver's seat." I was joking, of course—mostly. I wondered if Ben had any inkling of how difficult she could be. He hadn't been around her much in the ten years we'd been married. He'd never seen her standing at the door inspecting people's shoes for mud like a drill sergeant, or putting coasters under people's drinks, or listening to the plumbing to make sure no one was flushing too much toilet paper. He didn't know that food was forbidden in the living room and that you were not allowed to step from the bath until every ounce of water was drained from the tub and toweled from your body. And that the towels then had to be folded in triplicate and hung on the bar immediately so they would not mildew....

He didn't have a clue what I was thinking. He grinned as he put the car in park, stretched his neck, and combed his fingers through the dark curls of his hair. "We made it. I'm ready for a rest. Then I need to get the computer plugged in and see if there's any more word on that Randolph Stores job." The undercurrent of worry about money was unmistakable. Since Joshua's birth, it was the unspoken nuance of every conversation we had. It was all Ben thought about. He didn't have time to consider how we were going to get along with our new landlady. Besides, he always got along with everybody. It was one of the things I loved and hated about him.

Sun broke through the clouds as we covered Joshua and hurried to the porch. Grandma waited for us at the steps and pushed open the screen, holding around her shoulders a psychedelic afghan I had made in art class. The picture of her standing there in my awful crocheted creation with her hair flying in the wind made me smile.

Coming closer, I noticed how much she had aged, how her cheeks, once plump and naturally blushed, were now hollow and pale. Her shoulders, once straight, now bent forward as she moved. I realized how long it had been since I had come to the farm, and I felt an intense pang of guilt. Six years. Gone in the blink of an eye. The last time I came was for my mother's funeral.

Grandma squinted as we came closer, as if she were looking at strangers. "Katie? Is that you?" She craned forward and took on a look of recognition. "Oh, yes, I'd know those Vongortler brown eyes anywhere. You're just as pretty as ever...but you've let your hair grow long."

The last part sounded like a complaint, and I wasn't sure what to say. I found myself self-consciously smoothing the wisps of shoulder-length dark hair into my hair clip. I wondered how she had expected me to look.

Grandma didn't wait for my reply. "My word! I've been worried sick." She looked as if she'd been walking the floors since before dawn. "I expected you this morning, and here it is two o'clock, and with this rain going on, I just thought the road was icy and you had slipped into the ditch."

"Grandma, I told you we wouldn't be here until afternoon." I would have blamed her forgetfulness on the stroke, except that for as long as I could remember, she'd been purposely forgetting things she didn't want to hear. I took comfort in the fact that in this respect she hadn't changed. "Besides, it's fifty-five degrees outside. There is no ice."

She gave me a blank smile that told me she wasn't digesting a word. "I thought for sure you'd be here for lunch. Katie, you look like you could use a little farm cooking. You're far too thin, just as you always were. Now, I've got biscuits, some green beans, green-pea salad, and a good roast, but it's cold now. Oh, look at the baby!" Joshua was still sound asleep in his carrier. "I'll put it in the oven and warm it up."

I hoped she meant the roast.

Ben shot me a grin and crossed his eyes as she went through the side door into the kitchen. His crooked grin made me laugh, and I coughed to cover it up as Grandma looked suspiciously over her shoulder.

When she turned away, Ben pointed to the huge stain around the door frame and his eyes widened.

I stopped, taken aback by the extent of the smoke damage. The sheriff hadn't been exaggerating when he called Aunt Jeane in St. Louis to warn her that Grandma's mental slips were getting dangerous—more dangerous than her occasionally puttering to town in the old car she refused to part with, even though the doctor had told her she shouldn't drive anymore and she had promised Aunt Jeane she wouldn't. She had also promised Aunt Jeane she would use a timer to make sure the iron and the coffeepot weren't left on, but in truth, what she had tried to pass off as "the iron getting too hot" had been a potentially serious fire. The iron must have been left unattended for hours.

If I had been in denial before, I was now fully awakened to the fact that something had to be done about Grandma Rose.

Still talking, she walked past the soot, as if oblivious to it, ignoring the evidence that she'd almost burned down the utility room a few days before. "Well, come on in. It's cold out there," she snapped. "Now, I'll take care of the baby and you two can just eat and rest. You can wait a while to bring in your things. Just make yourselves at home in here. I had that neighbor boy help me move some of my things to the little house out back. I'll stay out there so as to ease the strain on that septic line here in the basement. All of us in the house might just be too much waste going down." She set the stoneware plates in the oven and lit the gas with a long match. "Now, I never leave this pilot running on the oven. It's no problem to light it each time, and it saves on gas." Closing the oven door, she paused to clean the fog from her eyeglasses, then let them hang from the chain around her neck and walked back to the table. "There now, you two just get what you need. I'll look after the baby. He'll surely be waking up."

Joshua obliged with a squall the moment we turned our backs on Grandma and the baby carrier.

And so began our trip down the rapids.

—From Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate. (c) June 2001, New American Library Trade, used by permission.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“You can’t put it down without…taking a good look at your own life and how misplaced priorities might have led to missed opportunities. Tending Roses is an excellent read for any season, a celebration of the power of love.”—El Paso Times
 
“This novel’s strength is its believable characters…Many readers will see themselves in Kate, who is so wrapped up in her own problems that she fails to see the worries of others.”—American Profiles Weekly Magazine
 
“Get your tissues or handkerchief ready. You’re going to need them when you read Lisa Wingate’s book, Tending Roses.  Your emotions will run the gamut from laughing loudly to shedding tears as you read the story.”—McAlester News-Capital & Democrat
 
“Wingate’s touching story of love and faith proves the old adage that we should take time to smell the roses and try to put our modern problems in perspective.”—Booklist
 
“A story at once gentle and powerful about the very old and the very young, about the young woman who loves them all. In Kate, Lisa Wingate has created a wonderful character.”—Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author of True Blue

Reading Group Guide

Q: Lynne Hinton, bestselling author of Friendship Cake, a novel that celebrates female friendship, has praised Tending Roses as a "rich story of family and faith that reminds us of the bittersweet seasons of life and our call to care for each other." What do you think she means by "the bittersweet seasons of life"?

Q: How do the various characters in Tending Roses care for each other? Do you agree that we are all called to do so? Are we as obliged to care for people outside our families as we are for immediate family members? In your own life, how are you heeding or not heeding that call?

Q: The wildflower in the book continues to make mysterious appearances throughout the novel. Do you think Grandma deliberately leaves the book for Kate to read? Why does she choose to convey her advice in this way rather than verbally?

Q: After reading Tending Roses and calling upon your own experience, do you think a mother or father can have a demanding career and still be a good parent? Is it naive to think you can "have it all"-both a satisfying career and an active role in raising children?

Q: The author suggests that owning a lot of "stuff" makes it more difficult to nurture a healthy family. To what extent do you agree or disagree? If you wanted to simplify your own life, where would you start?

Q: Some of the tension between Kate and her sister, Karen, arises from their very different situations-Kate's as a stay-at-home mom and Karen's as a childless career woman. Have you experienced a similar tension in your own family or community? What's at the root of this kind of problem, and how might you begin to diffuse it?

SOURCE: Discussion questions provided courtesy of Penguin Putnam.

Interviews

Q: Tending Roses has such a wise and universal message. What inspired you to write this book?

A: The seedling for Tending Roses was planted along with a flower bed my grandmother and I tilled in front of my house ten years ago. As we worked, she gave instructions about simple things she had learned through long years of experience-how to wind the roots around an iris bulb, how to prune the branches on a rosebush, how to cut the blooms without harming the plant.

Q: When my newborn son was fussy, we had to go inside instead of finishing the garden. My grandmother settled into a rocking chair, bundled him on her shoulder, and patted his back lightly-quieting him with a special sort of grandma magic.

Closing her eyes, she rocked slowly back and forth and told me about the time in her life when the roses grew wild. When she finished the last words, a tear fell from beneath her lashes, and she let out a long, slow sigh filled with sadness and longing.

Something profound happened to me then. I understood so much about her and about myself that I had never considered before. I had an almost painful sense of life passing by. I had a sense of life being not just a trip from here to there, but a journey with lots of good stuff, maybe the best stuff, in the middle. I realized that I was so focused on goals down the road, that I was missing the value of where I was.

Q: How did this epiphany evolve into a novel?

A: That night, when the baby was asleep and Grandma had gone to bed, I sat down and wrote the story longhand in a notebook. Over the next several days, I added more of her stories. They remained in the notebook for several years, but I never forgot them. I shared them occasionally with other writers and got a powerful response, but beyond that, I had little idea of what to do with them. They weren't appropriate as stand-alone works, and there were not enough of them to make a book.

So I just left them in a drawer and waited. The idea to use my grandmother's stories in a novel came at a time when I was beginning to feel a strong sense of meaning in my life, about four years after I wrote them. I was now the mother of a newborn, as well as a four-year-old. Because of my husband's career, we had moved to a place deep in the countryside. Life was quiet, and there was much less of familiar noises and busy schedules, shopping trips, dates with friends, phones ringing. I had a great deal of time to reflect on what I valued and what gave me joy and peace. Peace, I determined, was centered around my faith in God, my children, my family, and a desire to do something good with my life.

I think Tending Roses grew out of a need to communicate that process of soul-searching. I stumbled upon my notebook of Grandma's stories while cleaning out a desk drawer, and the idea just came to me. I started writing, and the words flowed so fast, I could hardly keep my hand on the keyboard. When I was finished the first day, I had written two chapters of something that was unlike anything I had ever done. I had never before poured so much of my heart into something or written something that was a combination of my own life and fiction. I had a strong desire to create something that had a sense of goodness to it, where good people do the right thing and wonderful things happen to them.

Q: How long did you spend writing the book?

A: The original manuscript took about four months to write. It was more like catharsis than work. The words just seemed to flow, almost as if I was typing a book that had already been written somewhere in my mind. Of course, then I had to revise it about four times!

Q: How much of the book is from your own experience?

A: Kate's feelings about motherhood and the struggle between career, a sense of self, and the demands of motherhood were from my own experience. The difficulty of maintaining self-esteem while being "just" a stay-at-home mom was from my own experience. The power of finding faith in God and forgiveness for those around us were from my own experience, and certainly so were the sense of the importance of parenthood and the need for closeness and the support of extended family.

Happily, a lot of the family problems in the book were fictional. The members of my family are an understanding lot, and we have never suffered the pain of being estranged from one another, though we have often lived at opposite corners of the country, which can create some of the same loneliness and longings.

Q: Your book deals with so many important themes. Which ones do you hope will generate the most discussion?

A: I think some of the more nebulous themes are the importance of family, the need for forgiveness, and the value of faith. Some of the more concrete themes included the question of motherhood versus career, the notion of quality time versus quantity time with love ones, the duty to care for one another, especially the elderly, and the difficulty of deciding how best to care for elderly parents and grandparents.

Secondary themes include the importance of active fathers, the materialistic focus of society, the needs of disadvantaged children, and the loss of the family homestead.

Q: What do you see as the most important secondary themes in the book?

A: Dell's situation is certainly a secondary theme in the book. Thinking about my grandmother's hardships growing up made me realize that, even in this wealthy, advanced, speed-of-light society, many children still grow up with seemingly insurmountable difficulties and desperately need the kindness of strangers. The materialistic focus of today's society is also a focus of the book. These days, we're convinced we are failures if we don't have everything. My grandmother had a lot to say about that.

The importance of community is an inescapable theme in the book. Human beings are basically tribal animals, and I think that these days a lot of us are missing a tribe.

Q: Where are you personally at this stage in your life?

A: Well, I am the mother of two young sons who keep me running and keep me laughing. I wanted girls. I got boys. I never dreamed that boys could be so wonderful. But that is another story.

My husband and I live on a small ranch in the Texas hill country-a beautiful area filled with rugged vistas, ancient trees, and a strong sense of the past. We are avid horse people and spend a great deal of our spare time in various equine pursuits. We think we may have watched too many cowboy movies when we were young.

I have always, always, always been a writer, and cannot remember a time when I didn't write. My older brother, Brandon, taught me how to read and write before I started kindergarten. I wrote and illustrated my first book at five years old and have never stopped writing. I had a very special first-grade teacher, who recognized a little ability and a lot of desire in a small, shy transfer student and started reading my stories to the class. I quickly discovered the joy of having an audience and set out on many, many writing projects, with childhood dreams of one day being published.

Somewhere in between writing projects, I attended Oklahoma State University, received a B.A. in Technical English, and married my husband, Sam, also a OSU grad. After college, I took a job as a technical writer and continued writing and selling freelance projects on the side. Over the years, I have published various fiction and nonfiction titles, and have written more computer manuals than I care to admit. Fiction has always been my first love, particularly anything with a sense of history and triumph of the human spirit.

Q: What things inspire you?

A: People inspire me. God inspires me. Love inspires me. Life's everyday miracles inspire me. I think most of us are stronger than we know, capable of more than we have ever imagined. I like to write about people pushing aside life's confines and roadblocks and setting the spirit free. I like to write about people forgetting the destination and enjoying the journey.

Q: Are you working on another book now?

A: I am working on another novel that combines fiction with true stories and a sense of the past. The main character is very different from Kate, but is also in a rut and searching for her life's meaning. The themes are in some ways similar to Tending Roses and in some ways different. Just as no two people are the same, no two characters are the same, and no two stories the same.

Which is what makes life interesting, and fiction fun, and keeps writers writing. It's all just ...

SOURCE: Interview provided courtesy of Penguin Putnam.

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Tending Roses 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 77 reviews.
Donna1961 More than 1 year ago
"Tending Roses" is a book that makes you want to gather your family members and just hold them tight and make sure they know you love them. It makes me wish I had asked my grandmothers and grandfathers to tell me more about their life when they were young. It is a wonderful book that will make you laugh and make you cry. It is one of hope and faith and how it is not too late to find a simpler life by a little nudging from a grandmother and learning about her life.
DAL More than 1 year ago
I have read several of Lisa's books and have to say I have not been disappointed yet! I found one of Lisa's books at a used bookstore and thought it looked good. Now I own several in paperback and Nook books. For me these books have been "a little something to feel good about" in a world where a lot of times what we see and hear does just the opposite. If you think the story sounds like something youd enjoy, have a little faith and give them a try! ;)
Guest More than 1 year ago
I don't agree at all with the reviewer who didn't like this book. I didn't think the descriptions were syrupy, or lackluster, or that it read like it was written by a high school English student, and I'm a high school English TEACHER, so I'm a pretty good judge of that. Tending Roses was a well balanced, well written, realistic novel, and it was absolutely charming. The characters were real, the descriptions wonderful, and the story very touching. I read it through in one sitting, loved every minute of it, and didn't want it to end.
Anonymous 7 months ago
very+heartwarming+and+moving
Anonymous 10 months ago
Loved this book. Didn’t want to put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Outstanding read! Could not put this book down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have+a+tissue+handy%21+This+one+tugs+your+heart+strings.++Well+written+with+characters+that+come+to+life+.++
mrsdwilliams on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kate Bowman, along with her husband and infant son, travel to the family farm in Missouri to try to convince her strong-wiiled grandmother to move to a nursing home. Kate, used to the frantic pace of the city, dreads returning home and being embroiled in family drama. Grandma Rose, who is stronger than anyone realizes, leaves her journal out so that Kate will read it. As Kate reads the journal, she come to appreciate and know her grandmother and discovers what is really important in her own life.Fine chick lit that encourages all of us to slow down and smell the roses.
HHS-Staff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book makes you think about what is really important in life. The setting is a rural town in Missouri. The main character leaves a high profile job and "finds" what is important isn't money and material possessions, but life itself. Her grandmother teaches her a lot about this. She also befriends a child that has a difficult home life. The other books in the series are just as powerful.Reviewed by:Georganna MansfieldVocational Education Teacher
Darla on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Kate Bowman is on maternity leave from a high-pressure job, so when Grandma Rose starts a fire through her forgetfulness, the family decides Kate and her husband Ben, who's an architect and can "work anywhere", should go stay with Grandma Rose and convince her to move into a retirement home.Grandma Rose is a bit cantankerous and persnickety, and is prone to heartbreaking and alarming bouts of forgetfulness, but she also has a unique sense of humor and the wisdom she's gleaned in her long life.It's mostly Kate's story, as she goes from frustration with Grandma Rose and eagerness to return to her old life, to a real affection for and understanding of the old woman, and the big old house. She periodically finds a journal lying around, in Grandma Rose's handwriting, and each time there's a new story of Grandma Rose's life, but after she's read it, it disappears until the next time.Kate was more understanding of Grandma Rose than I think I would have been, but I really enjoyed Kate's journey. She went from buying in to the yuppie dream at the beginning of the book to understanding what really mattered to her at the end, helped along by Grandma Rose's advice: "maybe you should want less." Ben had the same journey, but it was a little easier for him, I think, since his focus was on architecture rather than on the lifestyle. Too, his life didn't change as much as Kate's.The secondary characters were vivid, unique, and realistic--the other family members, who are concerned that Grandma Rose is manipulating Kate, and the young girl Dell who Grandma Rose takes under her wing.It's a little self-consciously "heart-warming," something I don't particularly enjoy, but the characters made up for that somewhat, and since I'd read the subsequent books in the series, I already knew how some of the more emotional scenes would turn out, so they weren't as tear-inducing as they might otherwise have been.
Bookish59 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Little gem of a story about a hurting family coming together again by learning and adopting the wisdom of a feisty grandmother. She teaches them the importance of giving children memories and time, not money and things. The plot is oversimplified, and preachy, but good writing, characterizations and pace make this a beautiful read!
momof3boysj More than 1 year ago
Kate temporarily moves in with her grandmother as a caregiver. Her husband is trying to telecommute, and her young son is just a baby. As she cares for her son and grandmother, she learns a lot about her grandmother's past through a series of entries left in a journal. These stories serve as life lessons and lead Kate to a new place in her life with her marriage, job, motherhood, and future. One last family gathering at Christmas helps the rest of the family to understand Kate's choices for her grandmother's future as well as her own. The symbolism of tending roses is not just about flowers, it's the lesson for how to care for family, faith, and friendship as we journey through life. I highly recommend this book!
britwit123 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While there are some good life lessons to be learned from this book, it is so 'sweet' that I gained 5lbs while reading it!
allene68 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
heart-jerking story about growing old, Wingate tells it very well and brings characters alive
Nicnac63 More than 1 year ago
Lisa Wingate is one of my favorite authors. She delivers heartwarming, soul edifying stories. Every. Single. Time. Her stories have an abundance of heart and her characters own the perfect balance of strengths and limitations. Tending Roses depicts the realistic falling away of families—becoming busy in our own lives, or holding on to past hurts, that puts a wedge between those we’d preferably cling to. And Christmastime is the premier occasion to join together, even if the circumstances aren’t ideal. After Grandma Rose has a stroke, the splintered family comes together to come up with a game plan for her future. Clearly, this isn’t an easy decision, and one I can relate to in my own life. As with all of Ms. Wingate’s characters, Kate Bowman is easy to connect with. I connected with her from the very beginning and understood her motivations and heart. This is such a beautiful story, showcasing the importance of family bonds and spiritual faith. I was blessed to receive a complimentary copy of this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just reread Tending Roses after many years, and I'm so glad I did. I'd forgotten how much I liked this story and the characters that brought it to life. When I first read it I had children still at home; now, an empty nest. It's funny how one's perspective changes in the later chapters of life. I definitely relate to this family of characters differently than I did over a decade ago. I was told there is now an audio version of this book so I pulled it up and listened to a sample. I really enjoyed hearing Lisa Wingate's voice reading her own story. I will be looking for more audio versions of her books!
fromtheheartJH More than 1 year ago
I read this book a few years ago when I was reading all of Lisa Wingate’s books. It has recently been re-released and has a new cover. I have re-read it as part of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Books promotion. It spoke to my heart all over again. It is an excellent book about relationships, faith, and family. It is a beautiful story of a granddaughter connecting with a grandmother, but with so much more depth to it. The granddaughter comes to realize all that is truly important in life and it changes her life focus, goals, and priorities. These realizations do not come easily and are difficult to learn, and even harder to share. It is a story that comes out of her grandmother’s stories, but affects her profoundly. I loved it because I love hearing stories from another generation and the lessons they lived and learned. This is a book you can read more than once and still glean something from besides enjoying the story.
Brandtpa More than 1 year ago
Lisa Wingate in Tending Roses explores the dynamics in the relationships of a multi-generational family. Katie Bowman has been delegated as the temporary caretaker for her Grandma Rose while the rest of the family plans her relocation from her farm to a nursing home. During the time in which Katie along with her husband and child live at the farm with Grandma Rose, Katie discovers and reads her grandmother’s journal. All of the pressing problems that Katie is facing dim in the light of the insights she gains from her grandma’s words. One of the most intriguing perceptions she gained was to enjoy the journey and not to concentrate only on future goals. Her grandma acknowledged this with the following statement:“ the best times of my life, the times that passed by me the most quickly, were the times when the roses grew wild.” Lisa shares the lessons that she learned from her own grandmother in this book. It is truly a life lesson on “the importance of family, the need for forgiveness, and the value of faith.” This is a must read! Your life will be blessed as a result!
dariaw98 More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love Lisa Wingate’s novels! Tending Roses is the first novel I read by this fabulous author ten years ago and remains one of my favorites. This beautiful storyline caught my attention and my heart from the very beginning. Lisa is a master at character development. Lisa’s unique story lines, settings and the very believable characters who struggle overcome hardship, experience personal growth, reconciliation, forgiveness and redemption really speak to me. Through her stories, I have been inspired by Lisa’s wisdom, laughed, cried and fallen in love with the cast of characters in each book. As with all of Lisa’s novels, I was saddened to see Tending Roses come to an end. Lisa truly has the uncanny ability to make you feel as if these are real people that you grow to know and care about. Gratefully, Tending Roses is the first book of a series so we can revisit the characters and follow their lives. It is always fun to check in and see how they are doing! The wisdom Grandma Rose shares with her granddaughter touched me deeply. Every family has struggles with relationships, but Lisa addresses many difficult issues with such insight and grace. As she drew me into the story, I gained new perspectives and even felt a little chastened from time to time about my own attitudes and narrow-mindedness. Lisa opened my eyes and heart in many new ways. Her stories have helped me to become a better mother, daughter, wife, and grandmother. This tender and heartwarming story is a novel to read again and again over the years. I am grateful it has been re-released for a new reading audience who may not be familiar with this wonderful author. Tending Roses will pull at your heartstrings and make you more appreciative of your family and loved ones-even the more difficult ones! The audio version is perfect for if you prefer to listen to a story rather than read it-or read it AND then listen to it! The narrator lends the characters an authentic southern charm! Tending Roses is a must-read for anyone who enjoys a beautifully well-written story with believable characters with a satisfying resolution.
Jutzie More than 1 year ago
Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate Tending Roses Series Book One Ben and Kate Bowman were “living the life” as some say. Things changed in the blink of an eye. A baby born with heart issues. Hospital bills that were piling up and insurance refusing to pay. And Grandma Rose needing someone to stay with her until after Christmas because of health issues. Kate was on extended leave from work and Ben could work from home. So the adventure began. Grandma Rose was not an easy women to be around. Kate's family was at odds with each other for the past six years. And the money issues were pulling at Kate's marriage. Another story that pulls at the heartstrings and gets the tear ducts flowing. And more. I wish I'd taken more time to sit and learn my own history before my grandparents and mom had passed away. Our busy lives often keep us so focused on the future, that we forget to remember our past. Thank you, Lisa Wingate, for another well-written book that is so much more than just a fiction read. **Received book through Penguin Random House for an honest review
Britney_Adams More than 1 year ago
Tending Roses is a tender and touching tale! Wingate deftly portrays the emotions of motherhood and the intricacies of family ties as Kate’s story unfolds. The entire cast of characters comes to life, but none more so to me than Grandma Rose. Her journey tugged at my heartstrings, and my emotions were stirred by the stories she shared and the wisdom found within her words. Tending Roses holds a special place on my keeper shelf and is a novel I highly recommend!
Soupersally More than 1 year ago
This book needs more than a 5 star rating. So many emotions are stirred up while reading this extraordinary book about family and friend relationships. I was moved by the 89 year-old grandmother, Rose, who was cantankerous, and controlling, and also sweet and generous. Quite a combination! The story is centered around Rose and also her granddaughter, Kate, who had an unforgiving attitude toward her family. When the whole family is gathered together at Christmas, lots of action takes place and that's when I couldn't put down this book. I strongly related to the areas of dementia since I went through similar problems with my mother and brother suffering for years from that dreadful disease. It's the second time I've read this book and it won't be the last. It is the type of story that can be read again and again.
PattyD77 More than 1 year ago
I recently listened to an audio copy of “Tending Roses” and wasn’t sure if I would enjoy listening to it without traveling. Audio books use to keep me company as a traveled for work. Now retired, I knew listening at home would be a different experience. To my surprise, I found that listening to a good audio book isn’t any different than reading a good book. Once I started listening, I couldn’t stop. I have spent the weekend wanting to know more of Grandma Rose’s story and her wisdoms of life. I love her storytelling and writing her experiences in life in story format. In fact, I found myself relating as I started doing the same for my five grandchildren just this year. I am journaling my life in a special book for each of them. Grandmas Rose inspires me to tell them more. As I listened, I felt this family’s sadness in the misunderstandings that caused them to grow apart. But then felt their joy as Grandmas Rose help them mend their relationships. Of course, Lisa Wingate’s storytelling always leaves me wanting more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a retooled book with a new cover and a prologue with an update on Kate and her son Joshua. This is a fantastic story and I would recommend this book to everyone. When I read the original book, it was my first book of Lisa's I read. I fell in love with her writing and have read and collected almost all of her books. The second read of this book was just as fantastic as the first time. Lisa makes the story so life like, that you feel you are there in the story alongside the characters. They become part of your family.
gatorfrog More than 1 year ago
I read this book 17 years ago when it first came out and I had 5 kids 6 to 16 and a mom that was healthy. It was a crazy time in my life and made me appreciate Kate's character. Reading it now, after 17 years have passed and my kids are on their own, my mom had Alzheimers and was put in a memory care center, it meant a lot more to me. It is a heart warming and yet heart wrenching story of love, faith, family, caring for our elders and yet our young little ones too. The main character, Kate, her husband Ben and young, sick son Joshua go to live with her Grandma Rose as a precursor to the family putting Grandma Rose in a nursing home. As Kate lives with her Grandma and reads her journal writings, a change happens. It happens to Kate most of all, but also to Ben and to Grandma Rose. Lisa weaves faith into the book also that has you thinking and contemplating your life and the "what-ifs". It made me wish that I had known more about my own mother's young life and had led me to not let that happen with my own children. A wonderful read, one that will make you laugh and cry. A MUST read!