The First Gardener, by Denise Hildreth Jones (Review and Giveaway)

 4 1/2 Stars!

About the book - Mackenzie London is dying. She is not dying of cancer, not of Aides, not of any other kind of disease. She is dying of a broken heart. Mack is in all but a catatonic state after the death of her daughter. This is not only about the grief that Mack is suffering from but also the grief of all those around her, her husband, Gray (the Governor of TN), her mother, Eugenia, and even the gardener, Jeremiah. They are all suffering from a broken heart as well. First they all lost a beautiful little girl in the tragedy of a car accident and now they are loosing Mackenzie to her depression as she crawls deeper and deeper into herself.
This book is about the deepest kind of sorrow you can find - the loss of a child and then loosing the will to live.

My review - This is just about the saddest book I have ever read. I have read almost all of Denise's books and they have all touched me in some way. She is a very gifted writer! I consider her to be one of my favorite Christian Authors
Denise has a way with the characters in her books. You absolutely feel the pain and loss felt by Mackenzie and Gray. I loved Mack and was sad for her but was also frustrated with her at the same time. Part of me just wanted to shake her and yell "Snap out of it! Life goes on." I know that some people loose their faith in God after a great tragedy. But it is also God who is always there for us and will help us through if we allow him. We can't shut him out like Mackenzie did in our greatest time of need.

You also feel Gray's pain. He is not only grieving the death of his daughter but now the loss of a wife. What can he do to help her as she no longer touches him or talks to him, never leaves the bedroom and won't even eat. Can he help her in time before she slips away for good? And with an upcoming election, he has the decision of running for office again or being there for his wife, or can he do both?

Eugenia, Mack's mother is my favorite character! What a feisty old woman she is. She reminds me of Shirley McLaine in the movie "Steel Magnolias". She is trying to be the strong one, giving up her own life and moving in to take care of her adult grieving daughter, bathing her, feeding her, dressing her, all while deep inside she herself is hurting and unable to show it.

Then there is sweet old Jeremiah, the black, southern gardener for over 25 years now. He has seen pain before in the death of his own wife, but Mackenzie's grief is stealing his heart. Jeremiah is trying desperately to help Mack to heal.He listens as God speaks to his heart and tells him what to say and what flowers to give her according to their meaning.

Even thought I spent a good 3/4 of this book bawling my eyes out I also spent some time chuckling thanks to Eugenia! Here are a few of my favorite lines -

"I'm not wild, Mackenzie London. I hang out with old women who get winded playing Skip-bo and think Starbucks is a newly discovered planet. Trust me. I'm boring"

"I'm incapable of surrendering drama. I'm from the South. We created drama. To surrender it would be to amputate a limb. And I'm fond of myself."

"The Movies?"
"No child, a show. The Theater. I don't go to the movies. I'm not gonna pay to watch people shoot people, drink their blood, or flaunt their fake boobs. I get enough of that with Berlyn. I live with characters far more entertaining that I'll ever see at the movies."

Thank you Tyndale Publishers for sending me this book to review!

Giveaway -  I am giving away my copy of this book!
To enter -
*Please be from either Canada or the US
*Please comment here or email me - forevereading at gmail dot com
*If you are not a follower, please become one (but not necessary to win).
*Winner will be chosen by and announced on July 30th.
*Winner will then have 48 hrs to respond with their mailing address before another winner is chosen

**Please be aware that I do not have any rules on how many of my contests you enter or how many times you win! So good luck everyone!


  1. This sounds like a great book! Thanks for this giveaway!


  2. Sounds good! Please sign me up.

  3. GFC follower, thanks for the giveaway.

    littleone AT shaw DOT ca

  4. Sounds like a real tear jerker!!!!
    Sign me up...

  5. GFC Follower, Literati Wannabe

    vanessanicole21 at yahoo dot com

  6. I really want to read this book!
    Thanks for the giveaway.

  7. I'd love to win this book. It sounds very moving.

    New GFC follower: Vicki Newell


  8. would LOVE to read denise's latest novel...thanks for the chance :)

    kmkuka at yahoo dot com

    i'm a follower, too :)

  9. Sound AWESOMEEE! please sign me up tooo!
    GFC follower: Gisele Alvarado


  10. Thank you for the giveaway. The books sounds good. I follow via GFC as Jessy.

    hootowl1978 at gmail dot com

  11. Thank you for the giveaway. The books sounds good. I follow via GFC as Jessy.

    hootowl1978 at gmail dot com

  12. I love the fact that this is a Christian book, so therefore I know it will probably have a happy ending. It must be written well to elicit tears!

  13. Great review! Sounds like a good book. Thanks for the giveaway!


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