Where Lilacs Still Bloom by Jane Kirkpatrick
This is a novel based on a real lady’s life work and life story. Hulda Klager was an amazing woman, who with only an eighth grade education, learned to breed her beloved lilacs for the characteristics she desired. The author visited Hulda’s garden before starting to write this book and I’m sure that is the reason behind the title.
The setting is Woodland, Washington, where Hulda and her family lived between the Lewis and Columbia Rivers, both of which flooded regularly to the detriment of Hulda’s gardens. The story picks up in 1889, when Hulda was a young mother expecting her fourth child, and goes through 1958, though Hulda lived to be nearly 97 when she died in 1960.
The bulk of the story is about Hulda’s attempts to grow first a crisper apple, then a deeper hued daffodil, and for most of her life, the creamy white, and red, lilacs with 12 petals. Her life struggles are with the rivers overflowing, necessitating starting over so many times, some people judging her for trying to change things God had made, and the family health needs and losses along the way. Hulda loved her family deeply and ministered to them with flowers through the sad times.
There were fictional characters added in to the story that were hard to follow or figure out how they were ever going to connect to the story. Eventually, the connection was made—people Hulda loved and taught and healed through her flowers.
Hulda spent her life fulfilling her father’s wise words of advice: “We are not here just to endure hard times until we die. We are here to live, to serve, to trust, and to create out of our longings” p. 8-9.
To me, this book was not an exciting “can’t put it down” type of book, but was a “friend” I could pick up and learn from, enjoying the good times, crying with the sad times, and exulting in the successes of Hulda’s experiments with nature.
Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Blogging for Books program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”