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Susannah's Garden [Mass Market Paperback]

Debbie Macomber
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

May 1 2010
It was the year that changed everything…

When Susannah Nelson turned eighteen, she said goodbye to her boyfriend, Jake—and never saw him again. She never saw her brother, Doug, again, either. He died unexpectedly that same year.

Now, at fifty, Susannah finds herself regretting the paths not taken. Long married, a mother and a teacher, she should be happy. But she feels there's something missing in her life. Not only that, she's balancing the demands of an aging mother and a temperamental twenty-year-old daughter.

Her mother, Vivian, a recent widow, is having difficulty coping and living alone, so Susannah goes home to Colville, Washington. In returning to her parents' house, her girlhood friends and the garden she's always loved, she also returns to the past—and the choices she made back then. What she discovers is that things are not always as they once seemed. Some paths are dead ends. But some gardens remain beautiful….


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Bestselling author Macomber (There's Something About Christmas) explores the intricate dynamics of family with sincerity and wit in this well-crafted novel. At 50, Seattleite Susannah Nelson is unsatisfied with her American dream: she's got a devoted husband, two teenage children and a rewarding career teaching fifth grade. She's also got a recently deceased father, a mother increasingly unable to care for herself,and recurring dreams about her high school sweetheart, Jake Presley, who disappeared around the time of the death of her brother, Doug, 30 years ago. Returning to her hometown of Colville, Wash., over the summer to look after her mother, Susannah has an ulterior motive: to find Jake. As she orchestrates her mother's rocky move to a nursing home and tries to keep track of her household (particularly her petulant daughter, recently taken with shiftless townie Troy Nance), Susannah picks up Jake's trail with the help of a private investigator and a childhood friend. As tension mounts between Susannah and her family, she uncovers the shocking details of Jake's disappearance—and of Doug's death—and ultimately faces her long-buried resentment toward her father. Macomber excels at detailing family conflict and the resulting tangle of regret and anger, but her God's-eye-view keeps her characters at arm's length, showing readers their emotional complexity rather than providing a view from within. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Most of us wonder what our lives would have been like if we had taken another path and made different choices. Susannah Nelson has a wonderful husband, two nearly grown kids, and a teaching career, but ever since her father's death, she has been vaguely unsettled. Never on especially good terms with him, she has always believed that he had a hand in running off her first love. Now her mother seems to be failing mentally. Susannah's husband encourages her to visit her mother, possibly settle her into an assisted-living facility, and try to shake off her depression. He has no idea that Susannah can't stop thinking about her lost love, Jake, and intends to find out why he left her. When she arrives in Colville from Seattle, Susannah discovers her mother is much worse than she imagined. Her inquiry into the road not taken reveals shocking truths about her family and, most importantly, herself in Macomber's latest touching and resonant tale. Maria Hatton
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely and Heartwarming - Family and Relationships March 15 2006
Format:Hardcover
When she was eighteen, Susannah Nelson was sent abroad to school. In what she saw as her fathers attempt in dictating her life it effectively separated her from her boyfriend Jake, and she never got to see her brother Doug again who was killed that summer in an automobile accident. After a few short letters, Susanna never heard from or saw Jake and though it hurt at the time, she later met, married a fine man, and raised a family.
Now her children are just about grown, she’s hitting midlife, and Susannah’s marriage seemed stale as her thoughts continually seemed to focus on what ‘could have been’ if her father hadn’t interfered in her life and romance with Jake. With her father recently passed on, she had been summoned home sooner than she’d planned when alerted by neighbors and friends that her widowed mother was having difficulties dealing with her loss and living alone. Back in the house and town she’d grown up in Susanna would have to deal with her mother’s increasing aging problems, and make some tough decisions regarding her care. Additionally, she would she face the past, discovering new insights into her troubled relationship with her dad, and dealing with a similar issue concerning her rebellious nineteen year old daughter.
With girlhood memories resurfacing along with long lost friends, Susannah discovered secrets that revealed not only an unselfish act of love, caring, and protection, but a surprising revelation of a mysterious presence once thought to be a figment of her mothers failing mind.
*** What a wonderful read! Macomber writes with heartbreaking realism when dealing with the decisions and choices made in friends and family relationships.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good read Feb. 22 2014
By Kathy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Kept me wondering on how this was a part of the Blossom Street series! Wrapped it up nicely in the end.
A good read with no dull moments.
Lots of exciting twists and turns. Thoroughly enjoyed this book!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  187 reviews
50 of 53 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely and Heartwarming - Family and Relationships June 4 2006
By M. Rondeau - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
When she was eighteen, Susannah Nelson was sent abroad to school. In what she saw as her fathers attempt in dictating her life it effectively separated her from her boyfriend Jake, and she never got to see her brother Doug again who was killed that summer in an automobile accident. After a few short letters, Susanna never heard from or saw Jake and though it hurt at the time, she later met, married a fine man, and raised a family. -----

Now her children are just about grown, she's hitting midlife, and Susannah's marriage seemed stale as her thoughts continually seemed to focus on what `could have been' if her father hadn't interfered in her life and romance with Jake. With her father recently passed on, she had been summoned home sooner than she'd planned when alerted by neighbors and friends that her widowed mother was having difficulties dealing with her loss and living alone. Back in the house and town she'd grown up in Susanna would have to deal with her mother's increasing aging problems, and make some tough decisions regarding her care. Additionally, she would she face the past, discovering new insights into her troubled relationship with her dad, and dealing with a similar issue concerning her rebellious nineteen year old daughter. -----

With girlhood memories resurfacing along with long lost friends, Susannah discovered secrets that revealed not only an unselfish act of love, caring, and protection, but a surprising revelation of a mysterious presence once thought to be a figment of her mothers failing mind. ------

*** What a wonderful read! Macomber writes with heartbreaking realism when dealing with the decisions and choices made in friends and family relationships. She offers beautifully written prose that packs a mountain of emotion into every chapter. Through laughter and through tears, she nails relationships with astounding realism and understanding in this well-paced and heartwarming story, once again solidifying Macomber as a leader in fine woman's literature.

Marilyn Rondeau - RIO, Reviewers International Organization
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hated to see it end. June 25 2006
By Tonya Speelman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book could have gone on forever and I wouldn't have minded. Susannah has been married for twenty-five years and is happy with her husband and two kids. So why is she dreaming of a boyfriend from long ago? She thought her dad was against her all those years. She gets a phone call from her mother's maid, who says her mom seems to be a bit confused and thinks Susannah should come and visit earlier than planned.

So she travels from Seattle to Colville, also hoping to meet up with the long lost boyfriend, Jake. She gets her mother to finally move into an assisted living facility, and is packing all her parent's stuff up in hopes of selling soon. Her daughter arrives without notice and says she wants to help her mom and also be there for her grandmother. In the meantime, she meets a "bad boy". Now Susannah knows how her parents felt when she was in love with Jake. Susannah starts to feel as if someone has been in the house a few times and taken belongings of her parents' and her dead older brother, Doug.

Mysteries unvail and Susannah figures out what her husband means to her. This book will go by so quick, you won't want it to end. I for one, hope there is another one coming!
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Story for Today's Woman, Facing Today's REAL Issues May 12 2006
By JJ Stark - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Debbie Macomber is one of my favorite authors and I never miss her HC release each spring. SUSANNAH'S GARDEN will not disappoint loyal fans and will entertain and welcome new readers. This time around, Debbie throws in a little mystery along the way, which to be honest, wasn't too hard (for me, anyway) to figure out early on.

Susannah is a woman nearing 50 who finds herself returning home to care for her ailing mother, convincing her that it's time she move into an assisted living facility. In addition to making this tough decision, she's stuggling with doubts and questions about a long-lost love, who abruptly left her while she was studying in Paris many years ago. She's also missing her father, who died about a year ago & who she had not gotten along with since she was in her early 20's. To further complicate things, her teenage daughter, home from college for the summer, has decided to come & stay with her to help her get her mom's house ready to sell, but instead, finds herself fallling for the local "bad boy" & spending every waking moment with him, against Susannah's better judgment & wishes.

Mothers, wives, daughters and women in general will identify with Susannah as she makes some of life's hardest decisions, trying to find herself and figure out how life got so hard & what has led her to this stage in her life. With so many unanswered questions and difficult choices to be made, Susannah cannot find peace within herself and be happy with her life until she finds the answers she thinks she's looking for.

As she sets out on a journey to find the answers that she needs, we meet her friends & family and even a few enemies, who cause Susannah to look at her life from an entirely different angle and see things she never imagained would be possible. Doubts come into play, as well as more unanswered questions, all leading up to Susannah's "happliy ever after."

The end of the story seemed to wrap up a little too neatly, but I enjoyed the journey of Susannah's self-discovery, and imagine it's a journey most women take around this age. I wouldn't say it's Ms Macomber's best work of fiction, but it's certainly worth the read. Debbie Macomber knows women and writes for them so that everyone can identify with her characters. She writes about today's women experiencing real problems in a real world and her characters can be anyone's friends & family, neighbors and loved ones.

If you're a fan of Debbie Macomber, I'm sure you will enjoy & appreciate SUSANNAH'S GARDEN, but if you've never read a Macomber HC & you're a woman who likes a good book about real issues facing today's women in an entertaining, emotional way without coming off as preachy, you should give it a try. I don't think you'll be disappointed. If you do like this book & have never read any of Ms. Macomber's prior HC novels, go back & try BETWEEN FRIENDS or THURSDAYS AT EIGHT - - I think these are two of Ms. Macomber's best works of fiction (BETWEEN FRIENDS is one my favorite all-time books!). Looking forward to future HC novels - Keep up the great work!
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If You Like Macomber... Feb. 26 2007
By Wendy Kaplan - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
You will love this book, which is reminiscent of her Cedar Cove series.

Seattle is home to Susannah Nelson, a fifty-ish housewife and mother who finds herself uneasy, at loose ends, and daydreaming about her first love, whom she loved and lost in her small Washington State home town.

When Susanah's mother starts showing serious signs of impending alzheimers, Susannah leaves her husband Joe and two children to scope out the situation. But she has another agenda: She wants to find Jake and see why he left her right after proposing elopement.

Once back in her small town, Susannah encounters all kinds of demons never put to rest, like her uneasy relationship with her dead father; her worry about, but resentment of, her mother, her grief for her long-dead brother, and all the usual detritus of a life lived and sometimes regretted. In the process of moving her mother to a nursing home, searching for Jake, meeting up with old friends and cleaning out her deceased father's study, Susannah uncovers paperwork and other clues that point her to a mystery--one that increasingly looms large.

The mystery is solved in a totally unlikely manner that defies belief, and everything is put right in the end, but that is a Macomber novel. There is a hint in the end that we might be treated to a meeting between Susannah and the wonderful characters from "Blossom Street" and the other "knitting novels," and that's enough to keep this reader interested.

Macomber is what she is, and if you're in the right mood to read her, nobody is more satisfying.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Debbie Macomber Page-Turner June 15 2006
By Misty609 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Debbie has written another good one. I enjoyed it very much and hated to see it end.

I loved Vivian, Susannah's mother, and would like to have spent more time with her.

There is only one negative I have regarding Debbie Macomber's books - they are so good, I just can't put them down so I don't get to relax and take my time savoring the contents, and then have to wait patiently for the next book.

I did figure out the "mystery" early on, but that's okay. I still enjoyed seeing how Debbie worked it all out and it did have a predictable "happy ending." In this angry, anxiety-driven world we live in, we can all use some happy endings, can't we?

Susannah's Garden was an enjoyable read and I am looking forward to the sequel as I get the feeling there will be a sequel - The Yarn Shop and the Florist...interesting possiblities on the way.
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