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Like a Watered Garden    by Patti Hill order for
Like a Watered Garden
by Patti Hill
Order:  USA  Can
Bethany, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

When garden designer Mibby Garrett receives a box of flower bulbs from her recently deceased husband, she feels knocked off her feet by grief all over again. She remembers the day when they looked through the catalog together, and now regrets all of the wonderful things she didn't say to her husband when he was alive. 'Grief is an unfamiliar room on a moonless night. The lightswitch is never where you remember. Someone has moved the rocker. Whammy.'

Mibby knows that she needs to get herself under control for the sake of her thirteen-year-old son Ky, but the everyday tasks of life are too daunting. Luckily she has best friend and neighbor Louise to be strong where Mibby is weak. Mibby's garden clients keep her mind and body occupied also. But when she takes a job with attractive Ben Martin, who wants to plant a rose garden in memory of his recently deceased wife, Mibby feels tugs on her heart that aren't entirely compassion. Just when Mibby thinks she's got her head above water again, along comes one of the biggest shocks of her life in the form of a young woman named Andrea. Can she keep herself together when her whole world feels like it's falling apart?

This is the first book in Patti Hill's new Garden Gates series. Located in the high desert of Colorado, the setting and gardens are almost like characters themselves. Readers will be able to picture the plants, flowers, and intricate landscapes as if they were there. Mibby is obviously reeling from her grief. The depiction of the depth of her loss is beautifully conveyed and readers will empathize with her feelings. The secondary characters all add to the story, and their individual personalities enhance the core plot. Blink, the black Lab, adds comic relief as a very opinionated character.

Mibby's steadfast relationship with God through her numerous trials brings hope and peace. Book two, Always Green, is due out in August 2005. I would have loved to see a few of Louise's bed-and-breakfast recipes included - reading about raspberry muffins and lemon scones made my stomach rumble and I wished I could make them for myself. I look forward to the next addition to the series to read more about Mibby's life.

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