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The Sinners' Garden

4.19  ·  Rating details ·  358 ratings  ·  115 reviews
In a small town where hope and tragedy intermingle, things—and people—are not always what they seem.
Andy Kemp has suffered most of his life from both physical and emotional scars, and he believes that the scars on his face are proof that God doesn’t love him. Andy has grown into a withdrawn teenager, keeping to himself, until his uncle, ex-con Gerald Ripley, shows up and w
Paperback, 416 pages
Published December 24th 2013 by Thomas Nelson (first published December 17th 2013)
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Average rating 4.19  · 
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 ·  358 ratings  ·  115 reviews

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Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)
Sep 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
Sirls combines a bit of fantasy with allegory to tell an amazing story of the power of forgiveness. The characters are relatable and their situations will cause readers to examine their own faith. The imagery is so vivid that it is easy to picture the entire story as it unfolds. Fans of James L. Rubart and Frank Peretti should pick up this novel.
From a young age, Andy has lived with facial scars from abuse, and his mother, Judi, blames herself for not protecting him. Now, Andy is hearing what se
Gayle Pace
Feb 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was an action filled book that I became so interested in that I couldn't turn those pages fast enough. There are a lot of lessons to be learned abut God in this book. No matter what we do or how bad they are, God loves us. God chooses people to lead because they are broken. You can go to the Bible and find many of God's followers who became great leaders even though they had done terrible things or had a physical impairment. All of us do things wrong and under God's grace we are for
Feb 12, 2014 rated it liked it
This is an OK read but it did not grab me. Sirls writes in the style of magical realism but for the Christian market. God talks prophetically to a teenager through an iPod. Flowers mysteriously appear and are related to people being changed. The spiritual emphasis is on God, in general. People are admonished to "believe" but only in God, not in the saving work of Christ. I felt the spiritual message was vague. There is forgiveness and healing of relationships and that was good. See my full revie ...more
Cyrus Webb
Nov 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
We live in a world that is so quick to count us out or put us down, depending on how it sees us.

How grateful we should be that our Heavenly Father sees who we are, knows what we have done and loves us unconditionally. In Williams Sirls' newest literary offering THE SINNERS' GARDEN, we are reminded not only of God's love but his purpose for all of us.

The cast of characters we meet are just like us: broken, imperfect, yet capable of things that might seem impossible to some.

Take Andy for instance.
Anne Marie
Oct 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I was blessed to receive an Advance Readers Copy of The Sinners' Garden by joining William Sirls Street Team while back when he had posted openings on his facebook page.

BRAVO! BRAVO! BRAVO! Mr. Sirls, you did it again! This book deserves more than 5 stars!!!

In this book we met Andy (a teenager who hates his mom), Judi (Andy's mom), Rip (Judi's brother) and Heather (long time friend of Judi and Rip). Andy doesn't understand why things has happened to him and why he has a scar on his face and he
Janice Workman
Jan 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be readable, engrossing, understandable. It represents God in such a loving, positive light. I also appreciated that life's realities were shown: sometimes things are different than what we expect, what we want may not be what God has planned, love and kindness matter. ...more
Oct 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arc, owned
I recieved an advanced copy of this book for review purposes and I recieved no monetary compensation for this review.

Have you ever read a book so fast because you wanted to find out what happens in the end that you know you are missing a lot of details of the book? I felt like that when reading The Sinners' Garden . This book is so action packed that I could not put it down. The great plot was not the only amazing part of this book though; the lessons that I learned about God while reading th
Kate Joyce
Nov 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
My friend Linda could not have given me this book at a more perfect time. I was home from work for 5 days after having my final cataract surgery. Once again William Sirls has delivered a book that is wrapped in the Word and put it in today's culture, proving that what was Truth when Jesus walked this planet is still Truth today. I finished The Sinner Garden in 3 days! I read half of it in one sitting. I could relate to the characters especially Rip. I too have found the everlasting grace that He ...more
Sep 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. It was very detailed and emotional. Although I love Christian fiction, this book was outside of the usual book I read because the ending wasn't 100% happy, and there was no romance. This book was about healing from past family issues.

Andy, the teenage boy, hears from God through an iPod. Yes, God can speak to us through a variety of ways, and this was a new one for me. His speaking to Andy though nature was less of a stretch for me. I appreciate how each of the charac
Apr 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a great read. On the supernatural side but as they said, if miracles can happen 2000 years ago, why is it so hard to believe today?
I liked the pace of the book and (view spoiler)There was also an element of mystery as to who was the Summer Santa and (view spoiler) I
Denise Taylor
Aug 09, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I don't know why I even finished this. It was sad. The characters were one dimensional and the diaogue was painfully awkward. How did mom think she could get away with NEVER telling that kid why his face was disfigured? And the big 4 had zero relationships outside each other. Sure, they attennded church, but they spent all their time together. The garden came off to me as weird. New testament God isn't really about calling people out for their sin in front of the whole church. Just....this is wh ...more
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Christian fiction. Loved it!

In the small Lake Erie township of Benning, someone is at work cultivating a supernatural garden...

Andy Kemp's young life has been as ravaged as his scarred face. Disfigured by an abusive father, the teenager hides behind his books and an impenetrable wall of cynicism and anger.

As Andy's mother struggles to reconnect with him, his Uncle Rip returns transformed from a stint in prison and wants to be a mentor to the reclusive boy, doing everything he can to help e
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book surprised me, in a good way. The plot didn't sound like the sort of thing I normally enjoy reading (I don't usually like to suspend belief in my reading), but this one actually worked for me. I'm still not exactly sure what the point of the garden was. The symbolism was a bit lost on me. But overall, it was written in an easy-to-read way, and I found myself engaged the whole way through. ...more
Shirley Klooster
Many Biblical life principles lived out in the lives of these people who have suffered circumstances and consequences of their life lived.
Quote from main character, Rip: ".... all lies have to change or die, because they are constantly haunted by the truth. And as much as we sometimes want to convince ourselves that we can...we can't change the truth. Only accept it."
Oct 29, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Christian novel about a family of mother, her son, her brother, and their best friend all of whom have lost their faith and experience guilt , sorrow, and anger. When Uncle Rip returns from finding his faith again in prison, his witness and story and supernatural events begin to change them. Serious but uplifting.
Sally Andrews
Apr 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really liked this book, written by a former executive who did prison time for money laundering. He grew close to God in prison, as did the main character in this book. There was a touch of the surreal, as God spoke through an iPod, but I believe God can speak any way He wants. And He spoke beautifully into the relationships in this book.
Lauri Gentry
May 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ntm20
Received this book in a "mystery box" and I am so glad I got it and read it. This book has a little mystery and suspense near the end. It is also a story of faith, trusting God and listening to His voice. Couldn't help but feel joy at the conclusion of the book. I will read from this author again. ...more
Ben Harris
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read. Thoughtful tale of forgiveness and hope. Suspenseful parts at the beginning and toward the end.
Abigail Ford
Sep 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorite-books
SUCH an incredible book. It may have just changed my life. Absolutely amazing. A must-read for sure!!!
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can usual catch the plot twist in books. Not this one! Threw me for an entire loop. Pleasantly surprised. Really enjoyed the ending as well.
David Pyle
Jul 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent storytelling, although it is very clearly evangelical in its message. I loved the twist at the end and encourage anyone who likes Christian fiction to give it a read.
Roberta Monroe Clark
So good!
Jennifer M
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a great little story. I need an ipod from heaven in my pocket sometimes for some words of encouragement. It's a must read. ...more
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this book once I got into it, but I almost didn't read it because of all the bad language. A book is way more enjoyable when it is clean! ...more
Lisa Boatwright
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I first started reading this book, I thought it was going to be quite predictable. I was pleasantly surprised at the unexpected and would definitely read this author again.
Jan 04, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really well written book. I can't say much else without adding spoilers. It is a very good story. It made me cry and cry, in a good way. ...more
J. Else
Jan 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
This story centers on a few main themes, one of which is forgiveness. Giving forgiveness to yourself and to others and then contrasting it to the ultimate forgiveness given through Jesus. There were some good Biblical illusions which provided character growth. I think the best reference was the one about Cain and Abel. That was a shocker for me when it was finally figured out! I can’t say I was overly surprised at who Cain was, but the reference used was brilliant and well revealed. I also liked ...more
Feb 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book opened up a lot of emotions for me. An entire one fourth of the book I had tissues in hand. It had amazing characters-- Judi Kemp who suffered domestic abuse for years, Heather Gerisch who was a police with the Benning Police Department and was haunted by her father's death, Judi's son Andy whose face was scarred at the age of three and carried hatred and unbelief like a cloak, Pastor Welsh whose spiritual wisdom was an integral part in all of their lives and Gerald "Rip" Ripley, and e ...more
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
What do a scarred teenager, his victimized mother, a born-again ex-con drug dealer, and a deputy who hasn’t gotten over the death of her father have in common? God’s undeniable Presence in the form of a miraculous flower garden appearing overnight on the grounds of a long-deserted ghost of a steel mill on the banks of the Detroit River. Author William Sirls brings these people together in his second book, “The Sinners’ Garden.”

Teenaged son Andy and his divorced mom Judi are victims of an abusiv
Amanda Stephan
Dec 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
First, let me begin by saying Mr. Sirls is a good, solid writer. You can't help but care for his characters and wish the best for a couple of them and want to smack some sense into them a few times. In his biography, he is very clear that he comes from a less than pristine background and it shows in his storyline, plot, and development. Using a Robin Hood type of hero, the reader is forced to wonder several things. Is it right for the Summer Santa to break into peoples' homes to leave them much ...more
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Over the course of his life, William Sirls has experienced both great highs and tremendous lows--some born of chance, some born of choice. Once a senior vice president at a major investment firm, he was incarcerated in 2007 for wire fraud and money laundering, where he learned a great deal more than he ever bargained for. Life lessons involving faith, grace, patience, and forgiveness are evident i ...more

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