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Gardenia Duty

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4.40  ·  Rating details ·  25 ratings  ·  19 reviews
In 1957 jobs are scarce in rural Ashland, Alabama. Bobby Higgins is facing life decisions; his family’s farm struggles and threat of the draft hangs over 18-year-old males as the Cold War rumbles in the distance. Bobby heads off to boot camp, vowing to provide for his family from his pay. Between shore and sea duty, Bobby leaves broken hearts in every port. When his own he ...more
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Average rating 4.40  · 
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 ·  25 ratings  ·  19 reviews


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Joyce C Sprouse
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an outstanding book! I was up until 3am reading this before I had to put it down to get some sleep. The life of a Navy man, a single Navy mother with 4 girls, the combination and blending between the 6 lives makes this a GREAT READ! Along with the insight of being raised a Navy family with trials and tribulations is fabulous. There were times I cried and laughed! I recommend this book to everyone. EXCELLENT BOOK KATHLEEN VARN!!
Bonnye Reed
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I received a free electronic copy of this self-published novel on November 1, 2019, from Netgalley & BookReviewBuzz and author Kathleen Varn and Gatekeeper Press. Thank you so much for sharing your hard work with me. I have read Gardenia Duty of my own volition, and this review reflects my personal, honest opinion of this work. I am pleased to recommend this novel to friends and family.

This novel is well-paced with sympathetic characters and covers different time frames and three generations, w
...more
Kathleen Varn
Jul 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
Shelves: june-30-2013
As the author, I hope the thread of nature vs. nurture and birth order resonates with the reader. As a daughter/stepdaughter of career military fathers, I found the transient lifestyle a double edged sword. Adaptation and resilience were positive lessons. Lack of community roots as children were handled individually. My sisters and I learned to become our own tribe/community. Hope the reader recognizes something familiar in Gardenia Duty as I married the story of the Silent Generation with the B ...more
Seraphia
Gardenia Duty by Kathleen Varn is a historic military romance novel that tells a story of love, loss, and one character’s military service. The blurb tells readers that this story is about a young military man who meets a young woman, falls in love with her and learns that she has four young children. He questions whether he is prepared for an instant family, and must work through his reservations. This book goes beyond this simple explanation in the blurb. This story takes readers back in time ...more
B
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it
I received this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book tells the story of a Navy man who meets a single mother of four daughters and marries her and raises the girls as his own. The storyline alternates between the present and past. A touching and well-told story filled with love, heartache, duty and fulfillment.
Marilyn Kavanaugh
A package deal

Glimpses into the life and sacrifices of a military family and the wounds, cohesion, and love family members inflict on one another.
Infosleuth
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautifully written book that goes back and forth between two points in time. It is very well organized and each time and place is clearly marked so the reader is not confused. One time period begins in 1957, when Bobby, the main character, enlists in the navy. It takes us through his career, his meeting and falling in love with wife Rose, and his life as a married, military man with four step-daughters. It also tells of the meeting from Rose’s perspective and gives some of her story.

T
...more
Dwina Willis
Nov 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gardenia Duty by Kathleen Varn is the story of a Navy family. Rose marries a Naval officer and they have four girls. She cannot deal with his total absorption in his job and the long months of being a single mom. They divorce. Later she meets Bobby, also a Navy man who has so far managed to stay single. But Rose and her four girls find a place in Bobby's heart. He marries Rose and loves her daughters as though they were his own. Then Bobby dies and the four girls come home for his funeral. What ...more
KL Cassanello
Nov 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book goes back and forth in the time line, from when Bobby leaves home to join the Navy, to marrying the love of his life and getting a ready-made family, to the grief surrounding his family when he dies. This isn't just Bobby's story, though, but the story of all of his girls as well. They become a cohesive and loving family, as they grow and make life choices.This is a beautiful story, happy and sad at the same time. It was well written, with engaging characters. I'm the daughter of a ret ...more
Janet Graham
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Women's Fiction with a Naval Bend
This is a deeply moving bit of Women's Fiction that is sure to tweak your heartstrings. Much of it is based upon Naval Duty. Partly about the young mother at home trying to keep the pieces together. Part of it about the young Sailor who is trying his best to balance his duty and his family. Part of that is the sailor not telling his loved ones about the dangers and the parents never letting the children worry about war. All of this delicate balance is performed
...more
Lee
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gardenia Duty is a heart-warming story of a young soldier, Bobby, who falls in love with a mom of four little girls. The book goes back and forth between his courtship and marriage and his passing as an elderly grandfather. I love the way the story shows the girls as children and as adults with their own families. It all flows so naturally, and captured my heart as it showed the many ways Bobby was an outstanding father to the girls, all through their lives. There are moments of fun, and sadness ...more
Andy Budd
Nov 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I just finished reading Gardenia Duty. It is one of the most moving and elegant novels I have ever read. I was surprised and delighted by how talented Kathleen Varn is. Her writing and storytelling moved me to tears (and laughter) on more than one occasion. The book was recommended to me by a high school friend and fellow military brat. I must tell you I was more than a little skeptical. I told my wife, "I hope this is not one of those self-published books that I will have to pretend that I like ...more
Christine Lowe
Nov 16, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a lovely book full of joy and heartache. It's told from different times and points of view with seamless transitions. Bobby is introduced as he is preparing to join the navy. Rose and her four daughters join the story as a family unit. I quickly grew fond of these characters and I cared about them as I discovered what was in store for them. This is a satisfying story that portrays family life at its best while life carries them forward in good and sometimes awful circumstances.

I received
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Karen Warner
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This books flips back and forth from the 1950 to present day. It is a love story about an entire family. A rural boy with little choices upon graduation joins the Navy and sends some of his pay back to support his family. He mets and falls in love with a widowed Navy wife with 4 little girls and the story begins.
Debbie Umbaugh
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book highly resonated with me, coming from a Naval military family of 4 girls close in age. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Once I started reading, it was hard for me to put the book down. I highly recommend for book club, or individual reading.
DB Umbaugh
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book highly resonated with me, coming from a Naval military family of 4 girls close in age. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Once I started reading, it was hard for me to put the book down. I highly recommend for book club, or individual reading.
Debbi
Dec 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
2.5 Ok story of a career Navy guy who marries a woman with four daughters.
Kathryn Taylor
Jul 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
A touching story about the love and commitment that holds a family together-irregardless of how that family came to be.
Arthur
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has it all. LOVED everything about it.
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Kat Varn’s love affair with words manifested when she turned four and taught herself to read. As she grew older, books and reading were an escape from responsibility. As the oldest daughter in a transient Navy family, words fed her imagination to embrace adventure and magical worlds. Kat was drawn to the strength of little girls in The Little Princess and The Secret Garden.

Eventually, Kat dove int
...more

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