Angela M's Reviews > Fresh Water for Flowers

Fresh Water for Flowers by Valérie Perrin
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it was amazing
bookshelves: edelweiss-reviews, 2020-favorites

This is a beautifully written story of tragic loss and grief, but it is tempered by friendship and beautiful memories and love. Violette Toussaint has been the caretaker of a cemetery for twenty years . A recluse in a way, at night when it’s quiet and the people she interacts, with the gravediggers - Nono, Gaston, Elvis , the undertakers - the Lucchini brothers and the priest Cedric have left for the day. She interacts with others, as well, those who bury, those who mourn. I found it so moving how reverential and respectful, Violette was to those who were buried there as she meticulously records their funerals, the celebrations of their lives, and tends to the graves when families are unable to with flowers. It’s a wonder how she is able to do this when she is filled with grief of her own, but as her story unfolds, we understand why she is there. She hasn’t had a happy life, with exception of the years with her daughter Leonine. Abandoned at birth, moving from foster home to foster home, she seeks solace in a marriage which isn’t a happy one.

A cast of characters cross Violette’s path and their stories are revealed as the novel progresses. Her missing husband Phillipe, his miserably mean spirited mother and father, her dearest friends Celia and Sasha, one of my favorite characters, the former caretaker of the cemetery who makes her laugh. Her life, though, will be changed forever when Julien Seul shows up at her door bringing with him the story of his mother Irene Fayolle, whose ashes he wishes to bury at the gravesite of a man buried there. The plot becomes a little more complicated as the stories entwine, and I won’t talk more about it here, other than to say, I was captivated. Each chapter begins with a poetic thought, too moving not to share a few :

“When we miss one person, everywhere becomes deserted.”

“There’ll always be someone missing to make my life smile: you.”

“Life is but a passage, let us at least scatter flowers on that passage.”

“You’re no longer where you were, but you’re everywhere that I am.”

I love when a translation is so beautifully rendered. It doesn’t always happen this way and sometimes I feel as though I miss out from not reading the story in its original language. This didn’t feel like a translation, so kudos to Hildegarde Serle, and of course to Valerie Perrin for this beautifully , affecting story of a character I will remember.


I received an advanced copy of this book Europa Editions through Edelweiss.
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Reading Progress

February 11, 2020 – Shelved
February 11, 2020 – Shelved as: to-read
June 4, 2020 – Started Reading
June 8, 2020 –
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June 8, 2020 – Shelved as: edelweiss-reviews
June 8, 2020 – Finished Reading
July 1, 2020 – Shelved as: 2020-favorites

Comments Showing 1-50 of 69 (69 new)


Kriste Pleased you loved it. One of best books I read last year.


Karen Yes!!!


Elyse  Walters Wonderful Angela. I I just read Sara‘s review and market to read my cell nice to know you guys both liked it.


Elyse  Walters Oops I was thanking of another book… But I read this one and liked it a lot. 💕


message 5: by Sophie (new) - added it

Sophie I can't wait for your full review, Angela. This is near the top of my TBR pile!


Angela M Thanks , Kriste, Karen, Elyse and Sophie !


message 7: by Richard (new)

Richard Sounds a lovely, poignant read - enjoyed your review Angela and loved the poetic lines you quote.


Angela M Richard, thanks so much as always for your comment!


Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews Fabulous review Angela! Starting this soon and really looking forward to it!


message 10: by Carole (new)

Carole Lovely review Angela!


Angela M Thanks so much , Lindsay . Hope you love it!


message 12: by Angela M (last edited Jun 09, 2020 11:14AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Angela M Thanks very much, Carole .


message 13: by Cheri (new) - added it

Cheri Lovely review, Angela. I really loved this one, too, when I saw you were reading it, my heart melted a little, just remembering the beauty, and some of the heartbreak, of this little story.


Angela M Thanks , Cheri. Such a fabulous read for so many reasons!


Diane Barnes It sounds like me, Angela. Fortunately, it's not that long a wait til publication.


Karen Beautiful review Angela for a beautiful book!


Angela M Diane , it’s a moving story in a lot of ways . I hope you enjoyed it.


Angela M Karen, thanks so much . A beautiful story for sure .


Kriste What a lovely review, as IT person, I am struggling to write reviews but trying


message 20: by Phyllis (new)

Phyllis Beautiful review, Angela.


Angela M Kriste, thanks so much . I think all you need to do is say how you felt about a book, how it impacted you .


Angela M Phyllis, thanks so much. I think you might enjoy it.


Angela M Kriste , as I commented on your review, I thought it was beautiful!


message 24: by Bianca (new) - added it

Bianca Lovely review, Angela. I've requested it, I hope I get approved.


Angela M Bianca, thanks so much! Hope you get a copy !


message 26: by Usha (new) - added it

Usha Love the title, the cover and the review!


message 27: by Jen (new) - added it

Jen A moving review, Angela. Am adding - thanks!


Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader I can’t miss it, Angela. Beautiful review. ❤️


Angela M Thanks very much , Usha, Jen and Jennifer.
Jennifer, please don’t miss it ! I think you’ll love it .


message 30: by Candi (new) - added it

Candi Wonderful review, Angela. I'm definitely interested in reading this one :)


message 31: by JanB (new)

JanB I find the themes of loss and grief so relatable and poignant. Lovely review Angela. I like the sound of this.


Angela M Candi , thanks very much.


message 33: by Kaceey (new)

Kaceey Wonderful review Angela!


Angela M Jan, I do, too. I think I also connected with flowers on the graves . It’s something we have done our family as far as I can remember- fresh flowers or plants in good weather and silk flowers when it’s not . Thanks so much .


Angela M Kaceey , thanks very much.


Brenda ~Traveling Sisters Book Reviews Lovely review, Angela!


message 37: by Connie (new) - added it

Connie G Beautiful, moving review, Angela. I'm adding it to my list.


message 38: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Metcalf Lovely review Angela. I've just popped across to NG and requested this. Fingers crossed for an approval. Thanks 😊


Angela M Brenda, Connie, and Sharon, thanks so much .
Fingers crossed 🤞, Sharon,


message 40: by Mischenko (new) - added it

Mischenko You made me add this one, Angela. Sounds excellent. Wonderful review! ☺️


Angela M Mischenko, thanks ! I’ll be interested in your thoughts.


message 42: by Erin (new)

Erin Sounds like a beautiful book! Thanks for your thoughtful review.


Angela M Erin, thanks so much !


message 44: by Sallie (new) - added it

Sallie Dunn Lovely and I want to read too!


Angela M Sallie, thanks so much. Hope you enjoy it!


message 46: by Sophie (new) - added it

Sophie Such a lovely and well-written review, Angela. Emotionally calling me to read this book!


Angela M Sophie, thanks so much ! Hope you love it !


message 48: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Excellent review!!!


Angela M Deanna, thank you!


message 50: by Kristin (new) - added it

Kristin Oh, Angela this sounds like a book to touch one’s soul. Thank you for this meaningful review. And I too feel some books miss out when they are translated. But it sounds like this one was beautifully rendered.


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