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Leota's Garden

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  20,365 ratings  ·  828 reviews
Once Leota’s garden was a place of beauty—where flowers bloomed and hope thrived. It was her refuge from the deep wounds inflicted by a devastating war, her sanctuary where she knelt before a loving God and prayed for the children who couldn’t understand her silent sacrifices.

At eighty-four, Leota is alone, her beloved garden in ruins. All her efforts to reconcile with her
Hardcover, 425 pages
Published July 22nd 1999 by Tyndale House Publishers (first published July 8th 1999)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  20,365 ratings  ·  828 reviews

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Aug 31, 2011 rated it liked it
I find myself faced with trepidation when writing a review of Leota's Garden. A little info on my perspective may be helpful. I am a public librarian--I read a ton, and a mammoth variety. I even do some reading because I "should"....some of you librarians in the crowd know what I am saying. I feel a need to be well-read and to have a basic knowledge of most genres. While I dig a ton of different types of books, genres and information, of course, I do have my favorites. And I certainly am not afr ...more
Marnie  (Enchanted Bibliophile)
All important things happened in a garden

First Sentence: CORBAN SOLSEK'S HEART DROPPED AND HIS STOMACH CLENCHED tight when he saw the B on his sociology proposal.

All the emotional turmoil is so accurately portrayed, you can't help to think of Leota, Annie, Corban and Nora as people you know.
After all these years this re-read was so worth it. I got so much more out of the book this time around.
Rivers truly have a God-given talent.
I could almost say this was the best book I had read in 2011. I loved the characters, particularly Leota and her Grand-daughter. There are moments I laughed and I cried. I like that in a book. I love reading characters that seem real.

What kept this book from a 5 star rating since I did enjoy it very much.

1. It is very, very heavy in the Christian theme and genre. Not that it bothered me but I know it would turn off many people and I even found myself skipping many pages in the middle when some h
Mar 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
My rating is 4.5 stars
Dec 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing
If I could have given this book a score greater than 5 I would have. Leota is an elderly lady whose children feel she was a bad mother and whose granddaughter wants to get to know her. At 84 time is running out, she lives in a run down neighborhood surrounded by a once-beautiful garden. Anne-Lynn her granddaughter breaks the ties with her mom, heads to California to go to art school, and determines to develop a relationship with her grandmother. The complex characters in this story: Eleanor and ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
"Leota's Garden" is the story of a crotchety old woman estranged from all her family members, who becomes the case study of a sociology student. From the beginning, it is clear that Leota is more than just a bitter old lady, and Rivers' writing brings to life a woman who desperately longs to reconnect with her children. It is only when her granddaughter, Annie, arrives on her doorstep unexpectedly, that Leota's past and present can be resolved. At the same time, Corban, the sociology student, is ...more
Feb 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: wwjd
As far as Rivers' books go, this one is deeply subtle (versus, for example, the Mark of the Lion trilogy--wait, the books about Romans persecuting Christians are Christian literature?--or the Women of the Bible series (duh.)) Actually, correction - the male love interest's girlfriend is an obvious "big bad secular feminist" - but a, she's so loathsome why stop to think about how much you hate her, and b, anyone who went to a liberal arts college knew someone like her and ARGH she was so ANNOYING ...more
Very nicely writting. Entertaining and hard to put down. Some portions of the book stirred my anger. Would have liked to see Eleanor AKA "Nora" set straight sooner with a more thorough reality check. Though Leota's two adult kids live very close to her, they have very little to do with her. She's 86ish and can no longer take care of her home, garden, and even walking to/from the store has become a chore. She's very lonely. Sitting around her home looking at all the things that need to be cleaned ...more
May 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: christian
This is one of my very favorite Francine Rivers books! I have recommended it to many woman, and even to a womans study group (who just loved it). Do not hesitate to read it, you will be so glad you did.

From dust jacket:

"Once Leota's garden was a place of beauty where flowers bloomed and hope thrived. It was her refuge from the deep wounds inflicted by a devastating war, her sanctuary where she knelt before a loving God and prayed for the children who couldn't understand her silent sacrifices.

Victoria Green
Mar 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Another profoundly applicable book to our lives. Leota's heart sold out the Jesus Christ and yet she like myslef struggles with so many family dysfunctional relationships. Leota 84 years young is abandoned by her two older children (Nora and Micheal)...both self serving/self centered people who believe they are intitled to have had a 'normal' life...Leota lives in a run down neighborhood though she is easily loved by neighbors....a young man, Corben, is a university student. He comes to her with ...more
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: christian
I would have given this book 3 stars but for some glaring time line errors. Nora, is born before her father enlists in the US Army during WW2 yet in the 1990s she is 45 years old. Her mother, Leota is a young woman when her husband left but is now 85. Argghh. Francine Rivers is a famous writer and Tyndale House is a reputable publishing company. Surely a barely competent proof reader or editor should have caught these obvious errors.

I enjoyed the story but once again skipped over big chunks of t
Jun 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was such a great read. I couldn't put it down. The relationship between mother/daughter/grandma was amazing. Francine never fails to bring God's word to life. Lots of material to use for witness opportunity.
My favorite part when Sam asked Annie "what's your sign?" Her response "The fish" Sam, "Pisces." Annie "Nope. Ichthus. Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior"
I am definitely going to be using that one next time I'm asked about my sign.
Jenny Wilson
Jan 07, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing
So this was my second of Francine Rivers books. It is different from anything I have ever read. I have shied away from many Christian novels because they end up being silly romances. But that was certainly not this book. It was about love, but not the romance kind. Family love, love for God, and the love God has for us all.

Leota was my favorite. She was sweet, feisty, and deep. Annie was almost too sweet, but I really did like her. I was a bit disappointed where her story ends, but who knows wha
Hannah Lipka
May 29, 2015 rated it liked it
I am a Francine Rivers fan as I greatly enjoyed both Redeeming Love and The Atonement Child. So I had high expectations for this book. Leota's Garden was slow and not very exciting. It didn't get very good until about halfway through. The ending was full of twists and turns and ended with a satisfying resolution, but it took so long to get to that point and it wasn't what I had hoped. It wasn't an awful book, but I'm not sure I'd recommend it. Francine Rivers has better books out there. ...more
Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)
Nov 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
I didn't think I would like this one as much as I did, I'm not super into gardening, I thought the story would be depressing...but overall, it's a beautifully told tale that will stay with me a long time. ...more
Amazing!!! Probably one of the best books I have ever read.
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Leota Reinhardt is in her eighties. She has a son George, and a daughter Eleanor, neither of whom keep in touch with her very often, and so she lives alone struggling to keep up her house and do simple tasks like getting to the grocery store without a car.

Enter Corban Solsek. A spoiled young college student from an affluent background (with a spiffy new car), and determined to succeed, Corey (or Corban) has a task to fulfill; a sociology assignment given to him by his professor. In order to ge
Cedar Lea
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
I did it. I finally finished!

I wanted to like this book and give it a high rating. But in the end, I felt like it just plodded along too much and that the story arc didn't have enough resolution.

- I thought the book had a good main point, which was to try to understand the decisions that people have made in life, before jumping to conclusions about why they made the decisions that they did.
- I found myself feeling like I understood the perspective of the elderly more - the feelings they h
Sep 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
If you've read Redeeming Love, you know what a gifted storyteller Francine Rivers is and the wonderfully mult-faceted characters she creates.
Leota is 84-years-old and facing the end of her life. She is alienated from her children and grandchildren, lives alone in a run-down house full of "history", mourns a garden that once thrived with creativity and life is now neglected and overgrown, a heart full of regrets and a heartfelt prayer and desire for reconciliation with her family before she dies
Nov 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
I did enjoy this book because of the things I learned and fortified the things I already knew. There are many scriptures illustrated in this book on Leota and her family. One scripture that is illustrated is Proverbs 3:5-6. So many times we look to our own understanding of things instead of looking at a providential God who is going to have His will done in our lives and in history.
Devin Vanderpool
Apr 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
I will start off by saying I did like this book. It (obviously) was not my favorite of her books, but it was still an enjoyable read.

That said, I felt like I had already read it. I have read her work on mother-daughter relationships in the Marta's Legacy duo. I have read her work on abortion in The Atonement Child. Therefore I didn't feel that this book was particularly original.

I also really struggled with her character believability. Leota was downright mean to her neighbor. I would never ha
AlegnaB †
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Crystal McGough
Mar 15, 2018 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Natacha Ramos
Sep 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Why do I read?", I thought last night after finishing Leota's Garden.

I want to learn, of course, but I also read to be happy and have a good time.

I want a nice story where characters have a happy ending after all the struggles.

Then, I wondered: "why in the world if I like so much being happy while reading I still choose Francine Rivers?". I don't know.

So Francine-Rivers-like, there was a lot of drama and tears. I felt kind of sad at times for Leota and her family, even for Annie.

And then again
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was better than the Marta series. Grandma Leota did her best to take care of her family both to be sure her kids had food and shelter but also in caring for the feelings and emotional,health of her Inlaws as well as her husband who came home from the war with emotional scarring. It cost her the love and respect of her own children. The story focuses on her granddaughter coming into her life. It is a story of love, forgiveness, really res ...more
Nov 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book had been at the bottom of a stack for about 2 years. I was supposed to return it when I finished it so I was being protective of it. Well, I finally read the very moving fiction story which seemed so real like I knew the people well. I believe it is a story that my generation can understand so well, as we contrast our relationships to grandparents compared to 50 years ago. But most of all, we see people change, which is magical indeed. A young man who hasn't experienced much life gets ...more
Jan 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Francine Rivers does an excellent job of showing what lack of communication, lack of understanding, lack of keeping God in our hearts can do to an individual and a family. Amazing how one individual in this story seems to really let the love of God shine through. Rivers does an outstanding job describing the loneliness of the elderly, and painfully tells a story of people who lack compassion and understanding. By Chapter 10 of this book, I opted not to put it down, but stayed up all night readin ...more
Aleta Kay
Aug 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book, along with every other book I've read by Francine Rivers. This book brings out the tragedy of holding on to bitterness, and how it permeates all of your relationships. It is also the story of how elderly people can feel so lonely, dejected and forgotten. They may reach a point in their lives where they expect nothing more than misery and disdain, especially when they are widowed and alone. It is the story of how a young person can breach the gap and bring healing between generat ...more
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New York Times bestselling author Francine Rivers continues to win both industry acclaim and reader loyalty around the globe. Her numerous bestsellers include Redeeming Love, A Voice in the Wind, and Bridge to Haven, and her work has been translated into more than thirty different languages. She is a member of Romance Writers of America's coveted Hall of Fame as well as a recipient of the Lifetime ...more

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18 likes · 7 comments
“Every religion in the world is about man trying to reach up to God, like working your way up the ladder. They’re all about striving to achieve something for yourself. Christianity is the only religion about God reaching down to man and offering salvation as a free gift, with the added bonus of a personal relationship with the Creator God through Jesus Christ, who was there in the beginning.” 12 likes
“As for Leota, She had chosen to close her mind to the things she couldn't change and move forward. There were many good things in life to allow things beyond your control to destroy you.” 5 likes
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