Michele's Reviews > The Red Garden

The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman
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Oct 19, 2011

it was ok

While I enjoyed each individual story, the 2-star rating comes mostly from the frustration I had due to the fact that the stories were just far apart enough in time and with just similar enough names (given names as well as surnames) that I was never sure who was related to whom and what the lineage was. Two things that could have helped with this would have been a) to make the stories just a bit closer in time, historically, or b) to provide a family tree chart at the front of the book. Or both. As it was, I eventually stopped trying to connect everyone, but it detracted from my overall enjoyment of the book. I especially liked how "Dead Husband's Meadow" became "Husband's Meadow" and eventually "Band's Meadow" and wished there had been more references like this. "Harry's Bear" was mentioned once, and could have been a great place name to see a century later, but we never heard it again. Red Garden had a lot more potential than it delivered, ultimately, and I was a bit disappointed in it because I usually have a much stronger connection to Alice Hoffman's books. My two favorites remain Blue Diary and The River King.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
October 18, 2011 – Finished Reading
October 19, 2011 – Shelved

Comments (showing 1-7)

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Gina CH I love the book so far and two stars is bit low, but I agree a family tree in front of the book would have been helpful, but I think she didn't do it because it would have been so hard to make. So many of the characters had children from outsiders that there would have "technically" had branches all over the place. It would have to be big! lol. If you have ever read 100 years of solitude that has a family tree in the front because otherwise you'd totally be lost. I love River King and Blue Diary too. My other fav is The Story Sisters.

Kristen I may go ahead and write my own review on this book....forgive me if it sounds a lot like yours....I agreed with you on every point. If I try another by this author I will read one of the two you mentioned.

Dannie I agree.

Allison Your review was so spot-on, I don't feel I need to add much more. However I gave the book 4 stars because of the pleasure of her luminous writing

Karen Completely agree with this one. I have read The Museum of Extraordinary Things and The Dove Keepers and really liked both. This one is very different for me work the intertwined sorry stories. I am not finished weigh this one yet, and I desperately want a genealogy chart!

Judie I totally agree with everything you said.

Siina Morin I couldn't agree more! I love her magical realism, and characters. After awhile, I found myself distracted, trying to piece everyone together. Finally, I just gave up and tried to appreciate each individual story. Which in the long run, I believe took something away from the overall.

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