Joanna's Reviews > Quite a Year for Plums

Quite a Year for Plums by Bailey White
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's review
Sep 27, 2007

really liked it
bookshelves: bookgroup, general-fiction, favorite, favorite-covers
Read in November, 2000

I absolutely love the gardens in this book. Growing things are everywhere, and the characters cherish them. These characters range from gently befuddled through dangerously insane, but are lovable throughout. The joy is in the details---the difficulty one faces trying to paint chicken's feet (so difficult many artists contrive to leave them out of the scene)for example. As exasperating as they all are, these characters feel like family. Meanwhile, the story is laced with a deep sadness for the passing of a long held way of life. Heirloom plants and heirloom livestock varieties, longstanding marriages, the ties that bind children into a multi-generational family, all are slipping away from these women. Even as they organize their Thursday evenings in May and go on adventures all summer, there are moments of bitter disappointment as the younger people humor them and diminsh them carelessly. Despite this, there is an underpinning of hope and happiness that supports the entire experience. This is a marvelous book.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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Gill Probably you have put your finger on the reasons why this appeals to me so much! I live in rural Wales, son's family now in GA which is why I mooched it on Bookmooch. I'd read the two volumes of short stories and assumed this was similar (didn't notice the words A NOVEL) on the front cover. My life is as rural, as filled with eccentric characters, small doings and conservations issues as those found here, and as for some other reviewers' complaint "No plot" well I lost the plot long ago, if life ever has a plot, that is!
I did enjoy your review. Thank you. I normally avoid reading them till finished, but just dipped in half way through the book and reading fast..

Joanna Thank you so much! I really enjoyed this book and every once in a while I remember the gardens fondly. Up here in Vermont I can't really garden the way those ladies do and so I am a little jealous. And I don't think this book needed a plot. Some do. I also avoid reading Goodreads reviews until I have written mine. I don't like to be influenced and also sometimes when I read one before I have read the book I am disappointed that something has been given away. I try very hard not to do that to other people! Thanks for writing.

Gill Hi, yes the Bailey White books I've read (this is my third) have all been gentle and rural and I like this one too. The criticism many have of not remembering all the characters may be valid, but then she does give a cast list, and to me that is a bonus (Poor memory at the best of times). The environmental issues are ones I have shared for all my life, and we are very rural so their are strong resonances of life here in Wales. What would the approx. population of a small town be there? Where my sisters live a town is what I'd call a city, and our 'hamlet' has perhaps 12 houses spread over a square mile! The village a mile and a half away has one shop and is losing its primary school, the local secondary is almost 5 miles away and has 200 in 7 school years.
I'm jealous of the gardening - managing a 20 acre holding on land that is mostly not machine-friendly means I get little beyond the necessities done, and my gardening is mostly enabling wildlife and wild flowers to flourish! Gill

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