Monday, March 4, 2019

Leota's Garden

Leota’s Garden, Francine Rivers

Leota has lived for years in her home seeking sanctuary in her beloved garden. Now age works against her and she struggles to get through each day. Estranged from daughter Eleanor who thinks her mother abandoned her, and a son who only cares about making money, Leota is lonely.

She contacts a help agency, and is sent Corban, a sociology student who needs a case study for his term project on aged care. Corban is struggling to get to know Leota, wondering why old people are so much work.

Meanwhile Eleanor is bitter and angry and having problems with daughter Annie, whose life she has completely controlled in an effort to ‘give her everything’. Annie moves out and is led to seek out Grandmother Leota to understand what it means when Eleanor accuses Annie of being just like Leota. What follows is a beautiful relationship between Annie and Leota, two women of very different age who both follow Christ and want to serve him.

I enjoyed it. Rivers is very good at writing about women, and grasps well the potential complications of their relationships. This book had very little romance, which appealed to me. Annie longed to look after her grandmother. Leota longed to be reconciled to her children. Her daughter longed to be understood.

The themes centred around the value of life, how we see our side of the story and how much we want to be in control. There were some minor themes about pro-life and euthanasia, which were thought provoking and at times a little disturbing. This book also didn’t end neatly, which I liked. Not everything was tied up with a neat ribbon. The relationships were not all sorted out and characters had to live with disappointment and regret. I found it a little more real than some of her other books.

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