Where Lilacs Still Bloom, the latest novel from Jane Kirkpatrick, is the story of Hulda Klager. From an early age, Hulda had an interest in growing plants and improving them to create new hybrids. Her father encouraged her to work in his apple orchard, and later her husband encouraged her by allowing her time and money to work on flowers. Hulda started with daffodils and then moved to tulips before finding her passion in hybridizing lilacs, starting with a hybrid between local lilacs and French imports. As Hulda copes with tragedies in her life, her garden is her one constant, reminding her of God’s grace and glory.
Hulda Klager was a real woman who lived from 1863-1960, and whose gardens in Woodland, Washington are on the US National Register of Historic Places. Kirkpatrick was able to glean information from Klager’s granddaughter-in-law to flesh out the story and bring the history of one of the earliest female botanists to life.
I found the story got off to a slow start, perhaps because there were so many characters to introduce to the reader. This is not my favorite Kirkpatrick work; I prefer both A Flickering Light and Barcelona Calling. Nevertheless, the book improved as I read further on and came to a satisfying ending, along with providing more information on Hulda’s gardens at the end of the book.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group Blogging for Books program for this review.