Despite the pool in our backyard, my dad managed to make it an oasis. Potted roses lined the deck around the pool, we had a fishpond with a waterfall surrounded with tropical plants. The covered patio had pots galore with climbing vines and hanging baskets.
Gardens and ponds must be in my family’s blood. My sister also had a pond in her backyard and it was a haven for birds of all kinds. I have enjoyed having plants surround me as well and even have a large bamboo plant and fountain at work in my cubicle.
When speaking to the Israelites about the type of life that pleases Him, God promised that when they stopped oppression, fed the hungry and did what is right
Then your light will shine out from the darkness,
and the darkness around you will be as bright as noon.
The LORD will guide you continually,
giving you water when you are dry
and restoring your strength.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like an ever-flowing spring.
Not only does that have me picturing the satisfaction we get when our thirst is met, I wonder if the Lord is also thinking of the way that we, as His well-watered garden, will be pleasing to Him in the same way a well-watered garden brings pleasure to us.
When Valleys Bloom Again
Publication Date January 16, 2019
Genres: Historical Fiction, Christian Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: England, Pennsylvania World War II Era - 1939 - 1946
Main Character Ages: 18-24, 25-34
Written for: Adults
As war approaches in 1939, Abby Stapleton’s safety is under threat. Her father, a British diplomat, insists she go back to America until the danger passes. Abby vows to return to her home in London—but where is home? With her family facing mortal danger so far away and feeling herself isolated, she finds it hard to pray or read the Bible. Did she leave God behind in war-torn London too? Abby becomes friendly with Jim, a gardener on her uncle’s estate.
Jim can’t get Abby out of his mind. Did she have a sweetheart in England? Was it foolish to think she’d consider him? He curses his poverty and the disgrace of his father’s desertion and drunkenness haunts him. Can he learn to believe in love for a lifetime and to hope for a happy marriage?
Abby couldn’t know the war would last a long time, nor that she would fall in love with Jim—soon to be drafted by the US Army—or that she’d have to confront Henri, a rejected suitor, determined by his lies to ruin her reputation and destroy her faith in God’s providence. Will she discover the true meaning of home and find happiness with Jim?
I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Jim didn’t feel that he had many talents, yet his skills as a gardener helped Abby’s uncle transform his estate into a place of great beauty. I really liked Jim’s humility, care for his mother, and his ability to enjoy life without worrying about what others thought about him. He was a little insecure, however. Then again, aren’t most of us?
Abby was a little bit of a spoiled brat, at least at the beginning of the book. She sulked over her parents sending her to America where she would be further away from the war that was threatening to come to England. And when her aunt treated her less than kindly, she did everything she could to avoid her. Abby did grow on me, however.
One of the things I really appreciated about When Valleys Bloom Again was the way the garden theme carried subtly throughout the story, and yet gardens played a role in Abby’s life in many ways.
I also liked the way that the Queen Mary was the same boat that transported Abby to America and then transported Jim to England for his military service.
The story spans several years, and I have found novels that encompass a span of time like this can often drag as the author interjects snippets from the intervening time. Pat Jeanne Davis actually did quite well with this and had a good sense of when to add a glimpse of life at a point in time.
The plot was interesting and, for the most part, was executed well. There were some things I didn’t feel made sense or seemed a little out of character. The characters did not quite seem three dimensional, and I didn’t relate to them as well as I like to. While the author used a conversational method of imparting historical details in places, some of these felt forced and a bit like an information dump rathen than showing the reader these things.
I do recommend this for lovers of WWII fiction.