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The First Gardener by Denise Hildreth Jones
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Jul 18, 2011

it was amazing
Read in July, 2011

About the book - Mackenzie London is dying. She is not dying of cancer, not of Aides, not of any other kind of disease. She is dying of a broken heart. Mack is in all but a catatonic state after the death of her daughter. This is not only about the grief that Mack is suffering from but also the grief of all those around her, her husband, Gray (the Governor of TN), her mother, Eugenia, and even the gardener, Jeremiah. They are all suffering from a broken heart as well. First they all lost a beautiful little girl in the tragedy of a car accident and now they are loosing Mackenzie to her depression as she crawls deeper and deeper into herself.
This book is about the deepest kind of sorrow you can find - the loss of a child and then loosing the will to live.

My review - This is just about the saddest book I have ever read. I have read almost all of Denise's books and they have all touched me in some way. She is a very gifted writer! I consider her to be one of my favorite Christian Authors
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Denise has a way with the characters in her books. You absolutely feel the pain and loss felt by Mackenzie and Gray. I loved Mack and was sad for her but was also frustrated with her at the same time. Part of me just wanted to shake her and yell "Snap out of it! Life goes on." I know that some people loose their faith in God after a great tragedy. But it is also God who is always there for us and will help us through if we allow him. We can't shut him out like Mackenzie did in our greatest time of need.

You also feel Gray's pain. He is not only grieving the death of his daughter but now the loss of a wife. What can he do to help her as she no longer touches him or talks to him, never leaves the bedroom and won't even eat. Can he help her in time before she slips away for good? And with an upcoming election, he has the decision of running for office again or being there for his wife, or can he do both?

Eugenia, Mack's mother is my favorite character! What a feisty old woman she is. She reminds me of Shirley McLaine in the movie "Steel Magnolias". She is trying to be the strong one, giving up her own life and moving in to take care of her adult grieving daughter, bathing her, feeding her, dressing her, all while deep inside she herself is hurting and unable to show it.
Even thought I spent a good 3/4 of this book bawling my eyes out I also spent some time chuckling thanks to Eugenia!

Then there is sweet old Jeremiah, the black, southern gardener for over 25 years now. He has seen pain before in the death of his own wife, but Mackenzie's grief is stealing his heart. Jeremiah is trying desperately to help Mack to heal.He listens as God speaks to his heart and tells him what to say and what flowers to give her according to their meaning.

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