Judy's Reviews > The Red Garden

The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman
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Mar 31, 12

Read in March, 2012

A friend and I are on an Alice Hoffman kick and he encouraged me to grab a copy of The Red Garden. "Read and we will discuss". And since I will do anything for a dinner and a book discussion, I was on the case. Since I love books with interconnecting stories, this book hit the spot with me. The unifying theme is the history of a small town in the Berkshire Mountains in western Massachusetts and the people who have lived there. I love that area so I was predisposed favorably to like the book even before I started reading. And once I started the first story, I was hooked. Covering almost three hundred years, the fourteen stories are centered around the individuals who have lived in in the town from its beginnings when it was known as Bearsville and moves toward the modern period where the town is known as Blackwell. And in the telling of this town's history, the residents share dark secrets, there are acts of magical mysticism, tales of loyalty, and webs of intrigue. You know, just like living in every small town everywhere. Thse stories are full of sisters, gardens, old houses, the effect of family relationships, family ancestors, and family ties. Often things are not what they seem as reality is interpreted differently by those involved. My one complaint is that the tales are of an uneven quality even as the magical realism of Alice Hoffman shines through each. But even that didn't detract from the enjoyment that I experienced spending time with the citizens of Blackwell.
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