Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Naked Gardener - L.B. Gschwandtner

Summary: In a remote forest of northern Vermont, Katelyn Cross takes five women on a wilderness canoe trip where they hope to come up with ideas for saving their dying town. Although the river is not always what it seems and the women have not left their problems behind, a painting ritual creates a new way to look at the world - and themselves.

Artist Katelyn Cross loves Greg Mazur and he loves her. He wants to be married but a previous relationship that went sour has made Katelyn overly cautious about any permanent commitment. And what about Greg's first wife? He lost her to cancer and Katelyn worries that he's only looking for a replacement. What's a girl to do? Canoe down a river with five gal pals, camp out, catch fish, talk about life and men. The problem is, a river can be as unpredictable as any relationship and just as hard to manage. On their last day, when the river turns wild, the women face the challenge of a lifetime and find that staying alive means saving themselves first while being open to help from a most unlikely source. As Katelyn navigates the raging water, she learns how to overcome her fear of change in a world where nothing stays the same. When Katelyn returns to her garden, she'll face one more obstacle and the naked gardener will meet the real Greg Mazur. What readers are saying about The Naked Gardener: Lyrical ... Scandalous ... Empowering ... Exhilarating ... Honest ... Sensual ... Fun ... Gentle ... Pleasurable ... Transporting ... Timeless In her first novel, award winning writer L B Gschwandtner explores the push and pull of love, a woman's need to maintain her individuality within marriage, and the bonds that can make women stronger even when the world feels as if it's breaking apart
Cover photo from, summary from book, book received free for review

My Review: This book arrived beautifully packaged with a matching packet of seeds tied with ribbon around the front cover. Truth be told, I was worried that what I would find inside the cover would not live up to the outer beauty. I was pleasantly surprised that this was not the case. This is a light, easy flowing novel with gorgeous characters and a pleasant story line.

Katelyn Cross and her partner Greg have carved out a little piece of heaven to spend their summers. The two of them spend the school year working at a university in the south and then take life back to a simpler time by heading north each summer. They bought a run down farm and live inside the chicken coop. This summer is a bit different as Kate ponders a big decision...take a year-long fellowship in Europe or finally buckle down and marry Greg. The result of this dilemma is a canoe trip with five other women allowing time for Katelyn to ponder over her life.

There is an odd mix of women on this trip; from the rich man's wife to the obese happily married baker, the religious virgin to the man-loving marriage-hating self dependent. These ladies come alive within the pages of this novel, each with her individual struggles. Through laughter and tears, Katelyn finds that her dilemma is not so monumental after all.

The trip is a pleasant one full of humorous moments. There is a bit of drama at the end but nothing that shakes the novel up too much. While the novel began with a focus on Katelyn and Maze's relationship it quickly turned more towards a theme of female empowerment. Mostly this is just a laid back float on the river among friends, where each woman discovers a bit more of herself. This is a perfect light read, yet could also make for some interesting conversation at a book club.

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

To Sum it up: A novel that will leave you longing for a leisurely weekend among girlfriends.


MindySue said...

Do you have any notes for a "sensitive reader"?

Anonymous said...

Great review! thanks! for sharing


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