I don´t know what I´ve expected from this novel. This book is so different from the other Blossom Street books and with a tone in it, I don´t think of when I want to read a Debbie Macomber novel. It was a bit of a surprise, that the structure of this novel was totally different from the one, the first two books show. And yet I can´t see this book any different.

Susannah´s Garden*
by Debbie Macomber
Blossom Street Series #3
Publisher Mira on April 20, 2010
Genre Novel
Pages 384
Format Paperback
Source Library

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-old daughter. Her mother Vivian, a recent widow, is having difficulty coping and living alone, so Susanna 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 …
Susannah is feeling that something needs to change. She isn´t happy with her current life and missing something. What if she´ rebelled against her father during her teenage years and done things differently? And why is she dreaming of her past boyfriend Jake? When she gets informed, that her mother isn´t able anymore to live alone, Susannah has to make decisions she doesn´t want to make, and her marriage is at stake.

Don´t get me wrong. Debbie Macomber has kept her soft and quiet writing-style. And she shows you the typical family life as you probably expect it from her. And I was kind of okay with that for most of the book. But on the other hand, she shows some characters that make you almost furious. A young twenty-year-old who behaves as if the world is only fun and nothing she does has consequences or the wife who feels responsible for everything that went the wrong way. And then this end. The author turns everything into a cheesy novel and was digging very deep into the box where you find all sorts of stereotypes. But more to that later. I missed the charm and humor the author shows in all her other novels. Or at least, in some of them. As nice as this novel is to read, it is also very dull and doesn´t get over the level of being an average novel.

A mother in need of her daughter (Vivian), a twenty-old girl (oh yes, Chrissie is nothing but a fretful and unmatured girl who behaves more like a three-year-old) who still believes that life is only fun and butterflies, drugs, a judge and a woman (Susannah) who always acts as if she is responsible for everything humankind does wrong and who feels responsible for everyone.

I might sound bad when I say this, but why on earth is Susannah always acting as if she is responsible for everything that happens outside her family and world? Sure, she is a mother with two kids who aren´t the perfect ones. Especially not her daughter Chrissie. Never saw twenty-year-old acting the way this girl is acting. Holy moly, somethings while reading I could have easily taken her aside and ask her what the hell she was thinking that she´s doing.

Chrissie demands answers to everything she is asking her mother but doesn´t see a point to answer her mother´s questions herself. She wants to help, but the moment a man is showing his interest in her, she is gone.

Susannah is for sure, a loving and caring mother. And one, and that is what I love about this figure, who sees all the flaws her daughter is having. She is not excusing everything Chrissie does but trying to help her the best way she can to learn a new lesson life is trying to teach her. On the other hand, Susannah is a woman who acts as if she is responsible for everything. Even the things others do wrong. Always asking herself why haven´t I seen this or that coming, why haven´t I done this a different way or why haven´t I shown her how she can do things better?  All these self-doubts are good and for a while, you can read them very well, as long as they are presented in a decent way. But here it soon starts to make you shake your head. Don´t misunderstand me. Every mother is asking herself if she´s done everything the best way, but Susannah? If the world is at war, it is her fault, and hers alone. That is no healthy thinking and for sure not good. Not for her and not for this novel.

From all the Debbie Macomber novels I´ve read so far, this one is one of her weakest works. Sure, if you are in for a book that drips from all the cheesiness and stereotypes, then this is absolutely your book. For me, it was only average, though it had its moments. At this point, I am not sure if I will continue with this series. But I will for sure read others of her standalone novels since the author seems to show in them her humor and so much-loved irony.

Happy reading

*I read the German edition new release by mtb on April 10, 2017

Debbie Macomber
Debbie Macomber ©Dan Gregory Meyer

Debbie Macomber is the owner of the Victorian Tea Room and the yarn shop A Good Yarn, which was named after the store in her successful book Blossom Street. She is the author of Sweet Tomorrows, among many other books, and a leading voice in women´s fiction. Ten of her novels have reached #1 on the New York Times bestseller lists, and five of her beloved Christmas novels have been hit movies on the Hallmark Channel, including Mrs. Miracle and Mr. Miracle. Hallmark Channel also produced the original series Debbie Macomber´s Cedar Cove, based on Macomber´s Cedar Cove books. She has more than 200 million copies of her books in print worldwide. Debbie Macomber, who likes to be a grandmother, lives with her husband Wayne in Port Orchard, Washington, where her novels play and spends the winter in Florida. 


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