The Red Garden
In exquisite prose, Hoffman offers a transforming glimpse of small-town America, presenting us with some three hundred years of passion, dark secrets, loyalty, and redemption in a web of tales where characters' liv...more
I haven't read an Alice Hoffman book for a few years, but I was intrigued by this one right from the first page. There's something comforting about following families over a three hundred year period -- especially whe...more
In just under 300 pages, Alice Hoffman takes the reader on a journey through the history of a small town in Massachusetts, Bearsville, aka Blackwood, aka Blackwell, which was settled quite by accident. Four families, traveling with William Grady and his wife, Hillie, become lost in a snowstorm and flounder. Hillie, the stronger and more industrious of the two is ultimately the one responsible for successfully settling there and for their survival. This small town of four families, Mott, Partridg...more
Hoffman brings us 200 years in the history of Blackwell, a small town in rural Massachusetts, in her insightful latest. The story opens with the arrival of the first settlers, among them a pragmatic English woman, Hallie, and her profligate, braggart husband, William. Hallie makes an immediate and intense connection to the wilderness, and the tragic severing of that connection results in the creation of the red garden, a small, sorrowful plot of land that takes on an air...more
The red garden of the title is located in the fictional town of Blackwell, MA. The dirt in the garden is red, only red plants will grow there, and Blackwell is heavily populated by residents with flaming red hair - descendants of Hallie Brady, the town founder.
Beginning with Hallie, Hoffman relat...more
Many of the stories felt unfinished, or finis...more
The story in this book flows through time like the novel's Eel River, hopping from one generation to the next, with one character being somehow related to another in a previous chapter, w...more
[b]The Red Garden [/b] is a collection of short stories that revolve around the history of a small town in the Massachusetts Berkshire Mountains. The bears, bees, eels and winters of this isolated community permeate the stories in magical, metaphorical manner. Each story has a central, eccentric character whose life is somehow different from the norm. There is an underlying mystical or magical realism that ties each of the stories to the next, even when the c...more
I loved how she maintained some continuity throughout the book by mentioning characters from former chapters in latter ones. A character I liked fro...more
The story where the "paleontologist" from Harvard comes out was by far the worst. Hoffman confused paleontology with archaeology and should have done a little research before writing the nonsense she wrote. I went to graduate s...more
I enjoyed the book more as I bega...more
A self-proclaimed love letter to Massachusetts, The Red Garden is a compilation of linked short stories revolving around the town of Blackwell. From the day Blackwell is founded, it becomes a town like no other. Whether the deat...more
This book has them all, so of course I liked this book.
It evokes moments from many of her other stories - a woman inadvertantly forming the path her family will take for decades to come (Practical Magic), the life and death of gardens with specific emphasis on tomatoes (The Story Sisters), following lives to create the full story (The...more
This book is very much a Hoffman book, and is clearly written later in her publishing career. She has an incredible talent for interweaving stories that can easily stand on their own, but when combined create a vivid and rich tapestry that leaves the reader wondering about the characters and wanting more of their stories.
"The Red Garden" is a novel that could easily be one of short stories, but instead it is a rich story of a town and several of the characters and families that are the heart an...more
The story is about the town of Bearsville, renamed Blackwell. The town was founded when some settlers were trapped there by a snowstorm. None of them knew anything about hard labor or farming. But Hallie Brady, whose husband was the con man who had led them out there, was determined that she had not fled England and the milinery...more