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Fresh Water for Flowers by Valérie Perrin
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it was amazing

"My present life is a present from heaven...As I say to myself every morning...I have been very unhappy, destroyed even...But since I've never had a taste for unhappiness, I decided it wouldn't last. Unhappiness had to stop someday".

Violette Trenet got off to a bad start. She was abandoned at birth and raised in a succession of foster homes. At seventeen, waitressing at a bar, she met Philippe Toussaint. "The first months of my life with Philippe, I was on a perpetual high...but...I think he was already cheating on me...he went for rides on his motorbike...Philippe only worked occasionally". Their daughter Leonine, born in 1986, brought Violette her greatest joy. Leonine amused her father Philippe for a few minutes but then he was off cruising on his motorbike.

In 1997, Violette and Philippe Toussaint arrived in Bourgogne to become the cemetery keepers at Brancion-en-Chalon Cemetery. "When it came to laziness, I'd won the lottery with [Philippe]". Violette was the sole cemetery keeper after Philippe became a police footnote, a "disappearance of concern".

Violette's cemetery was a very beautiful place. "I planted some pine trees...[it's]...all about caring for the dead who lie within it. It's about respecting them. And if they weren't respected in life, at least they are in death. [But] I'm sure plenty of bastards lie here...And anyhow, who hasn't been a bastard at least once in their life?"

How was the cemetery kept ship shape? There were three gravediggers: Nono,the most trusted, Gaston, a clumsy oaf, and Elvis, who couldn't read or write but knew the lyrics to every Elvis Presley tune. The Lucchini Brothers: Pierre, Paul and Jacques, were the undertakers. "Since Father Cedric Duras's arrival, many women...seem to have been struck by a divine revelation...I think I'm more confided in by those that pass through then Father Cedric is in his confessional. It's in my modest home and along my cemetery avenues that families let their words pour out".

Early morning daily gatherings, before the cemetery opened, provided an opportunity for Violette and her colleagues, her true friends, to share their experiences. How about the time Nono warned Gaston that the soil was crumbly this season, but Gaston tumbled into a grave face down. Elvis started singing...Face down on the street, in the ghetto, in the ghetto. Violette exclaims, "Sometimes, I feel as if I'm living with the Marx Brothers".

Through back stories, the reader learns of unspeakable tragedy and heartbreak, colorful anecdotes, infidelities and surprising liaisons. The multi-faceted characters are very engaging. Several mysteries abound. Julien Seul arrives at the cemetery to explore his mother's "cloudy" request. Perhaps "rotten to the core" Philippe is not what he seems. "Fresh Water for Flowers" by Valerie Perrin introduces the reader to Violette, a delightful narrator with a zest for life. Violette provides her "cemetery family" with food and drink and tends her garden and flowers. She could occasionally be seen as a "fluttering ghost" on a unicycle scaring teenagers who, with beer in hand, ran screaming into the night heading for the cemetery gates! A delightful tome I highly recommend.

Thank you Europa Editions and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Reading Progress

November 20, 2019 – Shelved (Other Hardcover Edition)
November 20, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read (Other Hardcover Edition)
May 9, 2020 – Started Reading
May 9, 2020 – Shelved
May 14, 2020 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-38 of 38 (38 new)

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message 1: by Cheri (new) - added it

Cheri Wonderful review, Fran, I loved this story, too. Reading your review makes me want to read it all over again!


Karen Wonderful, Fran! So happy you enjoyed this one too.. I just loved it!


message 3: by Mary Beth (new)

Mary Beth Wonderful review, Fran!


message 4: by Beata (new)

Beata Terrific review, Fran :)) Unfortunately, my request was denied ... I may find this book somewhere though :)


message 5: by Kevin (new)

Kevin Ansbro Fran, I LOVED the image I had in my mind of those gravediggers! : )
Excellent review!


message 6: by Maureen (new)

Maureen That’s a fantastic review Fran 👏🏻


Fran Karen wrote: "Wonderful, Fran! So happy you enjoyed this one too.. I just loved it!"


Thank you so much, Karen. I would have loved to meet Violette!😎😍


Fran Maureen wrote: "That’s a fantastic review Fran 👏🏻"

Thank you, Maureen. You are a fantastic book friend!😍😎


Fran Kevin wrote: "Fran, I LOVED the image I had in my mind of those gravediggers! : )
Excellent review!"


Thank you, Sir Kevin. Perhaps the gravediggers were a motley crew, however, their devotion to Violette was ever present! 😁😍😎


Fran Beata wrote: "Terrific review, Fran :)) Unfortunately, my request was denied ... I may find this book somewhere though :)"

Beata...keep the tome in mind for the future....when we request, we win some, lose some...sorry you did not get it first go around.😁😎


Fran Terry wrote: "I just requested and added this to my list today. Great review. Fingers crossed I get approved! :)"

Terry...good luck...I hope you score a copy!😁💕


Fran Cheri wrote: "Wonderful review, Fran, I loved this story, too. Reading your review makes me want to read it all over again!"

Cheri...I'm so glad you warmly remembered this wonder tome!😁🌹


Fran Mary Beth wrote: "Wonderful review, Fran!"

Thank you, lovely Mary Beth!🌹💕


message 14: by Paromjit (new)

Paromjit Your spectacular reviews are always a joy to read, gorgeous Fran! :) 🌺🌸♥️☘️😻


message 15: by Hanneke (new)

Hanneke Lovely review, Fran! Sounds like a wonderful read!


Fran Paromjit wrote: "Your spectacular reviews are always a joy to read, gorgeous Fran! :) 🌺🌸♥️☘️😻"

Paromjit...I am humbled by your words...you are too kind!🌹💕💖


Fran Hanneke wrote: "Lovely review, Fran! Sounds like a wonderful read!"

Hanneke...it was bittersweet, humorous and definitely thought provoking!💖💕


message 18: by Julie (new) - added it

Julie Great review, Fran!! I think I'll add this one! 💖


Fran Julie wrote: "Great review, Fran!! I think I'll add this one! 💖"

Great Julie...I'm glad you are adding it!💕🌹


message 20: by Maureen (last edited May 16, 2020 05:04PM) (new)

Maureen Great review Fran


message 21: by Deanna (new)

Deanna Great review, Fran!!


Fran Maureen wrote: "Great review Fran"

Thank you a bunch, Maureen!🌹💕


Fran Deanna wrote: "Great review, Fran!!"

Thank you so very much, Deanna!💕💖


message 24: by Yigal (new)

Yigal Zur great review


Fran Yigal wrote: "great review"

Thank you, Yigal!


message 26: by Susanne (new)

Susanne  Strong Nice review Fran! Glad you loved this one!


Fran Susanne wrote: "Nice review Fran! Glad you loved this one!"

Thank you so much, Susanne!😁😊😍


message 28: by Jaidee (new) - added it

Jaidee Fran you have me very excited to have this on my Netgalley list !
Nicely reviewed my friend :)


message 29: by Laysee (new)

Laysee What an engaging review, Fran. Sounds like a delightful story for a sobering setting.


Fran Jaidee wrote: "Fran you have me very excited to have this on my Netgalley list !
Nicely reviewed my friend :)"


Thank you , lovely Jaidee. Your words are much appreciated! Enjoy the book!😍😁😊


Fran Laysee wrote: "What an engaging review, Fran. Sounds like a delightful story for a sobering setting."

Laysee...you are right on the money...sobering setting..sprinkled with humor! Thank you!🌹💖


message 32: by Kimber (new)

Kimber Silver Splendid review, Fran! This sounds like a terrific story! :-)


Fran Kimber wrote: "Splendid review, Fran! This sounds like a terrific story! :-)"

Kimber...Thank you! I'm sure you would love it!💖🌹


message 34: by Christine (new)

Christine Hi Fran, very nice review! This sounds fascinating and unique!


message 35: by Mike (new) - added it

Mike I'm with Christine on this one. Really enjoyed your review, Fran.


Fran Mike wrote: "I'm with Christine on this one. Really enjoyed your review, Fran."

Christine wrote: "Hi Fran, very nice review! This sounds fascinating and unique!"

Thank you so much Mike & Christine!👍👍


message 37: by Peter (new)

Peter Beautiful review, Fran and glad you loved this one. :):)


Fran Peter wrote: "Beautiful review, Fran and glad you loved this one. :):)"
Peter...I appreciate your thoughtfulness!😜🤪


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