Set in the Spring of 1930, the garden club of Darling, Alabama is celebrating the life of the founding member, Mrs. Dahlia Blackstone, by renaming their club in her honor.” Henceforth and forever, the would now as the Darling Dahlias.”
The club was also left the Blackstone home and gardens to use as their clubhouse. The home isn’t too large but the gardens have been written about in the Montgomery Advertiser and the Selma Times Journal. There is also a large cucumber tree in front and another in back of the house. Town librarian and Dahlia club member insists they be called by their proper Latin name, Magnolia acuminata, but they are now and will forever be cucumber trees to the people of Darling. Both the house and the gardens need work as Mrs. Blackstone health was failing she was unable to keep up with everything. Inheriting the home was totally unexpected by the group but they will do what they need to do to restore everything.
Life in Darling isn’t all a garden party though. A convict has escaped from a nearby prison, a car is stolen, there are rumors started about the local bank being in trouble and a ghost has been sighted digging in the backyard of the Dahlias new home. The Dahlias start digging themselves for information to see if the can get to the root of all these mysteries.
While reading this I was struck at how similar life is today with what was going on in 1930. We keep hearing that this economic downfall is as bad as the “great depression”. This story shines a light on the struggles being faced then and it is glaring in the similarities being faced by people today.
The author has created wonderful characters that are each vastly different but come together through their love of gardening. They also come together to help each other when without the garden club they may not even be friends. We are introduced to each and learn how the fit together while they use their individual talents to solve a series of problems plaguing their beautiful town.
A wonderful debut to what I am sure will be a wonderful series. Susan is a very talented author and I would expect no less. This is the perfect time of year to curl up with the Darling Dahlias and their mysteries.