Select one of the keywords
The Garden Angel    by Mindy Friddle order for
Garden Angel
by Mindy Friddle
Order:  USA  Can
Picador, 2005 (2004)
Hardcover, Paperback

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Mindy Friddle is a welcome new name on the bookshelves - The Garden Angel is her debut novel. Cutter Johanson, living in Sans Souci, South Carolina, finds that trying to save her ancestral home from prospective buyers is a losing game. Her brother and sister want her to sell. They need the money - her brother to buy a fancy new car to impress women, her sister because she wants to move on in her life and leave the dilapidated old house behind her.

Cutter's sister is having an affair with a married man. Nothing new about that situation. Happens all the time. But when the married man's wife ends up on Cutter's doorstep, her life takes an abrupt turn. While trying to remain loyal to her sister, Cutter can't help but be caught up in the wife's plight. Friddle writes with an understanding of a flawed mind. The wife needs help, which Cutter recognizes and responds to with sensitivity, even though her own world is dissolving around her.

The Garden Angel was a Southeastern Booksellers Association bestseller, an honor well deserved. It is written with sensibility and compassion. But it is far from a maudlin story. It reveals tenacity and the grit needed to achieve a goal. The author's keen sense of humor is subtle and keeps Cutter on an almost even keel. Friddle's writing made me stop to enjoy the words and then to absorb the content of such turns of phrase as 'You couldn't use someone like a bandage to staunch the bleeding of loneliness.'

The story unfolds slowly while still giving the reader the impetus to keep turning pages. Once opened, I had a hard time putting this novel down. Enjoy Friddle now and look for anything new she might write. It's sure to be another winner.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Contemporary books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews