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Leota's Garden

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  12,350 ratings  ·  513 reviews
Leota’s garden was once a place of beauty, where flowers bloomed and hope thrived. It was her refuge from the deep wounds inflicted by a devastating war, her sanctuary where she knelt before a loving God and prayed for the children who couldn’t understand her silent sacrifices.

Now, eighty-four-year-old Leota Reinhardt is alone, her beloved garden in ruins. All her efforts
Hardcover, 425 pages
Published September 1st 1999 by Tyndale House Publishers (first published July 8th 1999)
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Redeeming Love by Francine RiversThe Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. LewisA Voice in the Wind by Francine RiversThe Shack by Wm. Paul YoungThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
Best Christian Fiction
99th out of 1,632 books — 1,978 voters
Redeeming Love by Francine RiversMark of the Lion Trilogy by Francine RiversLeaper by Geoffrey  WoodThe Master's Plan by Stephany TullisThe God Cookie by Geoffrey  Wood
Christian Fiction Favorites
20th out of 402 books — 318 voters

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Community Reviews

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I find myself faced with trepidation when writing a review of Leota's Garden. A little info on my perspective may be helpful. I am a public librarian--I read a ton, and a mammoth variety. I even do some reading because I "should"....some of you librarians in the crowd know what I am saying. I feel a need to be well-read and to have a basic knowledge of most genres. While I dig a ton of different types of books, genres and information, of course, I do have my favorites. And I certainly am not afr ...more
I could almost say this was the best book I had read in 2011. I loved the characters, particularly Leota and her Grand-daughter. There are moments I laughed and I cried. I like that in a book. I love reading characters that seem real.

What kept this book from a 5 star rating since I did enjoy it very much.

1. It is very, very heavy in the Christian theme and genre. Not that it bothered me but I know it would turn off many people and I even found myself skipping many pages in the middle when some h
If I could have given this book a score greater than 5 I would have. Leota is an elderly lady whose children feel she was a bad mother and whose granddaughter wants to get to know her. At 84 time is running out, she lives in a run down neighborhood surrounded by a once-beautiful garden. Anne-Lynn her granddaughter breaks the ties with her mom, heads to California to go to art school, and determines to develop a relationship with her grandmother. The complex characters in this story: Eleanor and ...more
This is one of my very favorite Francine Rivers books! I have recommended it to many woman, and even to a womans study group (who just loved it). Do not hesitate to read it, you will be so glad you did.

From dust jacket:

"Once Leota's garden was a place of beauty where flowers bloomed and hope thrived. It was her refuge from the deep wounds inflicted by a devastating war, her sanctuary where she knelt before a loving God and prayed for the children who couldn't understand her silent sacrifices.

As far as Rivers' books go, this one is deeply subtle (versus, for example, the Mark of the Lion trilogy--wait, the books about Romans persecuting Christians are Christian literature?--or the Women of the Bible series (duh.)) Actually, correction - the male love interest's girlfriend is an obvious "big bad secular feminist" - but a, she's so loathsome why stop to think about how much you hate her, and b, anyone who went to a liberal arts college knew someone like her and ARGH she was so ANNOYING ...more
"Leota's Garden" is the story of a crotchety old woman estranged from all her family members, who becomes the case study of a sociology student. From the beginning, it is clear that Leota is more than just a bitter old lady, and Rivers' writing brings to life a woman who desperately longs to reconnect with her children. It is only when her granddaughter, Annie, arrives on her doorstep unexpectedly, that Leota's past and present can be resolved. At the same time, Corban, the sociology student, is ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Very nicely writting. Entertaining and hard to put down. Some portions of the book stirred my anger. Would have liked to see Eleanor AKA "Nora" set straight sooner with a more thorough reality check. Though Leota's two adult kids live very close to her, they have very little to do with her. She's 86ish and can no longer take care of her home, garden, and even walking to/from the store has become a chore. She's very lonely. Sitting around her home looking at all the things that need to be cleaned ...more
Victoria Green
Another profoundly applicable book to our lives. Leota's heart sold out the Jesus Christ and yet she like myslef struggles with so many family dysfunctional relationships. Leota 84 years young is abandoned by her two older children (Nora and Micheal)...both self serving/self centered people who believe they are intitled to have had a 'normal' life...Leota lives in a run down neighborhood though she is easily loved by neighbors....a young man, Corben, is a university student. He comes to her with ...more
Francine Rivers does an excellent job of showing what lack of communication, lack of understanding, lack of keeping God in our hearts can do to an individual and a family. Amazing how one individual in this story seems to really let the love of God shine through. Rivers does an outstanding job describing the loneliness of the elderly, and painfully tells a story of people who lack compassion and understanding. By Chapter 10 of this book, I opted not to put it down, but stayed up all night readin ...more
Mallory Miller
Nov 09, 2007 Mallory Miller rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: someone with pateince and likes a slow good book!
This book is a reality check book! This is a fiction book. In this book there is an old lady named Leota! She is alone and her childeren left her alone to rot by herself. Untill one day her grandaugher comes to visit! She shows Gods love to her grandmother and a helper who comes to help her grandmother.
Start with a lonely old lady, two selfish adult children, a granddaughter breaking away from living her mother's dreams instead of her own, a college student with head knowledge but not heart knowledge. Add in a parrot with a nervous breakdown, a close friend and her Christian family (including a brother with a past and a romantic interest in the granddaughter), and a collection of neighbors of various ethnic backgrounds, and you have the cast of characters.The story is a great story of redempti ...more
Amazing!!! Probably one of the best books I have ever read.
Jenny Wilson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
If you've read Redeeming Love, you know what a gifted storyteller Francine Rivers is and the wonderfully mult-faceted characters she creates.
Leota is 84-years-old and facing the end of her life. She is alienated from her children and grandchildren, lives alone in a run-down house full of "history", mourns a garden that once thrived with creativity and life is now neglected and overgrown, a heart full of regrets and a heartfelt prayer and desire for reconciliation with her family before she dies
A bit slow to begin but I'm so glad I stuck with it!! Before I knew it, the book had ended. Kept me turning page after page.

From dust jacket:

"Once Leota's garden was a place of beauty where flowers bloomed and hope thrived. It was her refuge from the deep wounds inflicted by a devastating war, her sanctuary where she knelt before a loving God and prayed for the children who couldn't understand her silent sacrifices.

At eighty-four, Leota is alone, her beloved garden in ruins. All her efforts to r
Aside from the horrible, unexpected twist at the end, the book was good. I felt it was irritating the way the main character and her grandaughter refuse to speak up and let the truth be known, when it was so obviously the whole problem with their relationships with Eleanor. They let her go on believing a lie, and blaming Leota for it her whole life. I did, however, like the way the author spoke to the dignity of life in all it's phases, and how easy it is to intellectualize that away, for the "g ...more
So this was my second of Francine Rivers books. It is different from anything I have ever read. I have shied away from many Christian novels because they end up being silly romances. But that was certainly not this book. It was about love, but not the romance kind. Family love, love for God, and the love God has for us all.

Leota was my favorite. She was sweet, feisty, and deep. Annie was almost too sweet, but I really did like her. I was a bit disappointed where her story ends, but who knows wha
Eighty-four year old Leota is alone in the world, feeling unloved, unneeded and praying to die. She sits day after day in the small house her in-laws gave to her long-deceased husband after the war, staring out the dirty windows at her once-beautiful victory garden that brought her so much joy and comfort.Like the overgrown and forgotten yard, so are the unattended and uncultivated relationships with her hateful, self-absorbed daughter and her too-busy, preoccupied son.

When her granddaughter, An
This book had been at the bottom of a stack for about 2 years. I was supposed to return it when I finished it so I was being protective of it. Well, I finally read the very moving fiction story which seemed so real like I knew the people well. I believe it is a story that my generation can understand so well, as we contrast our relationships to grandparents compared to 50 years ago. But most of all, we see people change, which is magical indeed. A young man who hasn't experienced much life gets ...more
I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was better than the Marta series. Grandma Leota did her best to take care of her family both to be sure her kids had food and shelter but also in caring for the feelings and emotional,health of her Inlaws as well as her husband who came home from the war with emotional scarring. It cost her the love and respect of her own children. The story focuses on her granddaughter coming into her life. It is a story of love, forgiveness, really res ...more
Lisa Rathbun
Bitterness, resentment, pride, unforgiveness, secrecy, assumptions - so many weeds that choke out life and love. Only God's grace can heal the wounds. The sad stories of some of these characters hurt to read about, but you rejoice as you see how God can restore and renew. It was frustrating to see how misunderstandings kept people from each other. If people only knew how to "speak the truth in love," years of sadness could be prevented.
This was such a great read. I couldn't put it down. The relationship between mother/daughter/grandma was amazing. Francine never fails to bring God's word to life. Lots of material to use for witness opportunity.
My favorite part when Sam asked Annie "what's your sign?" Her response "The fish" Sam, "Pisces." Annie "Nope. Ichthus. Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior"
I am definitely going to be using that one next time I'm asked about my sign.
Leola Ogle
This was a sad, depressing book. But, as usual, Francine Rivers takes you into the heart and mind of her characters. The depressing aspect for me was that a family was so torn apart by things that could have, and should have, been resolved. I kept waiting for that to happen (sooner than later). If you like Francine Rivers, you'll love this.
Lisa Crenshaw
I could not put this one down. I was so engrossed and connected to the characters that I was in disbelief during a sudden occurrence in the story and I had to go back and reread! The author certainly does not shy away from the ugly in life. This definitely makes for a great and believable story. I love the strength and flaws in the Christian life, the strong of faith, the part time Christians, and the unbelievers just as involved and just as in need. It's so true to life. Wonderful read.

Leota i
Aleta Kay
Loved this book, along with every other book I've read by Francine Rivers. This book brings out the tragedy of holding on to bitterness, and how it permeates all of your relationships. It is also the story of how elderly people can feel so lonely, dejected and forgotten. They may reach a point in their lives where they expect nothing more than misery and disdain, especially when they are widowed and alone. It is the story of how a young person can breach the gap and bring healing between generat ...more
I loved this book. It made me think and gave our Book Club some good discussion. The characters are likable and lovely (at the least those that are supposed to be). Francine Rivers grazes some delicate issues and leaves you forced to form an opinion of your own on these topics.
Mary Crow
I really wanted to like this book more than I did. The shell of the story was wonderful! A daughter who doesn't connect with her mother, but takes the time to give her estranged grandmother a chance. She cares for the elderly woman. The problem was the repeating dialogue, and the obvious witnessing. Now, I'm not against Christian witnessing, but if you're reading this kind of book, it doesn't need to be so heavy handed. It kind of strangled the story line and I found myself skimming page after p ...more
Michelle Nix
This will down as one of my favorite all time books. So many many lessons can be learned from this book. Leota is old and appears to live a life that is coming to the end with nothing left to give or even really to live for. She is living with out the comfort or joy of having anyone in her life to care for her and about her. She had lost her hope. Though she remained faithful to God, she seemed to live as though he was through with her and she has been forgotten by Him. My favorite part of the b ...more
For those who like reading Christian-based novels, I certainly would recommend this one. Leota's Garden by Francine Rivers is very family oriented, or at least focuses on one family in particular. It is based in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a 20th century story. I liked the way the author presents each character as being very human. Some family members are peace-makers while others have a chip on their shoulder, or always want to argue, many times because of misunderstandings or being misun ...more
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New York Times best-selling author Francine Rivers began her literary career at the University of Nevada, Reno, where she graduated with a bachelor of arts degree in English and journalism. From 1976 to 1985, she had a successful writing career in the general market, and her books were highly acclaimed by readers and reviewers. Although raised in a religious home, Francine did not truly encounter ...more
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“Every religion in the world is about man trying to reach up to God, like working your way up the ladder. They’re all about striving to achieve something for yourself. Christianity is the only religion about God reaching down to man and offering salvation as a free gift, with the added bonus of a personal relationship with the Creator God through Jesus Christ, who was there in the beginning.” 3 likes
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