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The Winter Garden

3.47  ·  Rating Details  ·  116 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
When Ika Boerema finds out her estranged mother is incurably ill, she must make a decision whether to visit the pain of her past. Her choice could open the door to answers she's long wondered about, or it could forever chill a heart too long without love.
Paperback, 269 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Bethany House Publishers
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Hot Chocolate Press
Jun 04, 2015 Hot Chocolate Press rated it it was amazing
by Kelly

While this is a little more intense than most of my "cozy" recommendations, Winter Garden is one of the most beautiful books I've ever read. Written from two points of view, one in current day America and one in WWII Russia, Verweerd leads us through initial judgements, "aha moments," shocking revelations, and tears of both joy and heartbreak. It's intense but the final chapters of the book make it worth pushing through the sad parts. One of my favorites. I can't tell you more because it
Georgia Herod
Nov 12, 2012 Georgia Herod rated it liked it
Ika (short for Ikabod) had been away physically from her family for fifteen years, though in many ways she'd never been emotionally close. When she receives a letter from her sister Nelly telling her that their mother was very ill, perhaps nearing death, Ika must decide if she will make another attempt to learn her father's identity and reconnect with her mother. In many ways, this was a very difficult book to read because of the pain that Ika had endured for all of her life. Hurt people hurt pe ...more
Aug 26, 2012 Susanne rated it really liked it
Wow, I just finished this book. Meredith and Nina Whitson grow up deeply loving their father and deeply hurt by their cold mother's seeming inability to express any affection for them. They also know nothing of her history before she met their father. The only time they feel any closeness to their mother is when she tells them "The Fairy Tale", a story she calls the "Prince and the Peasant Girl". The estrangement of their mother colors all aspects of their adult lives. Meredith escapes into cons ...more
Sep 01, 2013 April rated it liked it
I read this book with my mom. However, it was unlike the other books that we've read together in that it was an extremely passive book. I can't think of a better way to phrase it. Not much happened - the majority of the book was internal dialogue, and pretty much every other page there was a flashback that Ika, the main character, had about her (very unhappy) childhood, but not a lot happened in those, either. The reader does get a good picture of how miserable her childhood was, though.

The read
Nov 29, 2013 EThayer3 rated it liked it
I picked this book up the library because 1) it was recommended by one of the workers in the library, 2) I liked the cover and 3) I read another book with the same name and loved it.

This is the story of Ika who has been estranged from her family for many years. She is working as a garden designer when her sister summons her home to see her dying mother. We go backwards to get some history and understanding as to what caused the estrangment. Ika was an illegitimate child and she hopes to learn wh
Janice Dick
Rather a sad book, and the ending didn't satisfy me. However, there was some lovely writing there. I believe Johanna Verweerd is a much loved Dutch author.
May 28, 2014 Amy rated it really liked it
Great historical fiction story. Love the characters, but didn't like that there are a lot of swearing.
Sep 11, 2007 Heather rated it really liked it
This book illustrates very well how messy and slow forgiveness can be, and how the process of forgiveness can take so much energy and determination to really happen. It made me reflect on the forgiveness I've been given freely in Christ and very thankful for it.

The book follows a woman as she returns to her home after 11 years of no contact with her family. There are many past hurts to face as she returns to care for her dying mother. She must confront these shadows which at times stir up anxiet
Aug 06, 2015 Stacey rated it liked it
This book was an "ehh", shoulder shrug, okay, so-so book. That being said, I read it in 24 the story was interesting enough to keep my attention, and easy enough to escape into, put down, and come back too because I was wondering what came next. I wanted so badly for something really wonderful to happen for Ika--she deserved something beautiful in her life, and I am glad the book ended making me think that something good was going to happen. The story was a little slow, probably just ...more
Dec 19, 2013 Catherine rated it liked it
It took me a while to get into the story line. I think the characters were clear and easy to relate to. I had no idea how close to my work day this story would be (hospice social worker) but I felt the author captured very well a dying person's experience as well as the family members' reactions. I felt that this is a story most everyone can relate to even without the mystery surrounding the father of one of the characters. I loved reading good fiction book where faith was a fundamental aspect o ...more
Mar 27, 2011 Joseph rated it did not like it
"The covers of this book are too far apart." Ambrose Bierce

The only reason I started this book, and the only reason I finished it, was that it was the selection for this month's book at my local library's reading club.

From my opening quote you can tell I did not like this book at all. I kept waiting for something interesting to happen as I read and read, and in the end that never occurred. I could also never find any interest in the main character, a timid and helpless person her entire life.
Kathleen Anderson
Oct 29, 2011 Kathleen Anderson rated it liked it
I didn't enjoy this book as much as the "other" Winter Garden book by Kristen Hannah, but it was a good book. Parents should read this book so they can avoid creating sad lives for their children! This points out the difficulties when parents aren't loving and don't communicate well with their family. And it can be hard to break the chain. There was a wonderful teacher in this girl's life that made such a difference. Hooray for teachers who care!
May 29, 2011 Michelle rated it liked it
I ordered this book by mistake but read it and enjoyed it. It is slow-paced book but I liked the characters and was wanted Ika's question to be answered as much as she did. It didn't read like Christian Fiction to me. It was funny when I started to discuss this book at my May book club meeting only to find out everyone else had read Kristin Hannah's Winter Garden!
Feb 07, 2011 Debi rated it did not like it
I didn't realize I was checking out a "christian fiction" book but nonetheless I attempted to read this. Either the translation was awful or the author can't make coherent sentences. I abandoned this book after a dozen pages and I NEVER ABANDON BOOKS. It was that bad. Don't bother.
Mar 14, 2013 Pam rated it did not like it
I checked out this book in audio from my library. Audios help with my commute to and from work. All I can say is this...If I would have purchased this, I guarantee I would have lowered my window and flung it like a frisbee. It was so slow and depressing and didn't finish it.
Jun 04, 2009 Sunshine rated it liked it
An interesting book that takes readers on that ever stimulating journey from past to present and back again. The human spirit is such a tremendously strong entity, it always looks for a reason to continue.
Sep 11, 2011 Deborah rated it really liked it
Nice to read a book not written for the American ear (eye?). Story of love, loss and redemption, but not typical and certainly engaging.
Nancy Lipsett
Not well written however one slogs through the prose to saver the story
May 21, 2012 Valerie rated it really liked it
I liked this book, but it was an effort to get through it.
Brenda Nause-prezenkowski
Oct 13, 2013 Brenda Nause-prezenkowski rated it it was amazing
This story is captivating.
Abigail marked it as to-read
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Sandy added it
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Linda Stuckey
Linda Stuckey rated it liked it
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Laura rated it really liked it
Jan 10, 2016
Deeon marked it as to-read
Jun 27, 2016
Anne Shearer
Anne Shearer rated it liked it
Oct 03, 2015
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