About the Book
Jeremiah Williams has been tending the gardens of the Tennessee governor’s mansion for over twenty-five years. And like most first families who have come and gone, this one has stolen his heart. Mackenzie and her husband, Governor Gray London, have struggled for ten years to have a child and are now enjoying a sweet season of life—anticipating the coming reelection and sending their precious daughter, Maddie, off to kindergarten—when a tragedy tears their world apart. As the entire state mourns, Mackenzie falls into a grief that threatens to swallow her whole. Though his heart is also broken, Jeremiah realizes that his gift of gardening is about far more than pulling weeds and planting flowers. It’s about tending hearts as well. As he uses the tools that have been placed in his hands, he gently begins to cultivate the hard soil of Mackenzie’s heart, hoping to help her realize what it took him years to discover.
A Southern tale of loss, love, and living, The First Gardner reminds us that all of life is a gift, but our heart is the most valuable gift of all.
If ever an inanimate object could be treated as a person, and treated poorly, it is this book. My dysfunctional relationship with this story spanned the extremes of emotional reaction: I laughed with it, screamed at it, sassed back at it, and-to my shame-slapped it around when things didn’t go my way. But the jump from anger to love grew smaller and smaller until I couldn’t let this book go. It embraced me like a warm blanket and soaked up my salty tears when my heart was overwhelmed. This story is raw and will chafe at your heart until you swing open the doors and let it to rejoice in its beauty.
The characters in this story were so vivid that I could literally here there drawls, twangs, and whispers, and murmurs. Their points of view were unique and distinct, creating an intriguing complexity to the plot. While each and every one served a specific and irreplaceable purpose, it was Jeremiah who planted seeds of truth and hope in my heart that will resonate for a long time.
This is not a book you can read in one go. As the characters, you need to move through the stages of happiness, mourning, and restoration with enough time to process and appreciate the journey and life lessons. Denise Hildreth Jones is an author that has never let me down and who continually breathes fresh life into the Christian contemporary fiction genre with her Southern wit, charm, and heart of gold.
**review copy provided through Tyndale Blog Network**