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The Red Garden

Hoffman, Alice

(Book - 2011)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
The Red Garden
Random House, Inc.
The Red Garden introduces us to the luminous and haunting world of Blackwell, Massachusetts, capturing the unexpected turns in its history and in our own lives.
In exquisite prose, Hoffman offers a transforming glimpse of small-town America, presenting us with some three hundred years of passion, dark secrets, loyalty, and redemption in a web of tales where characters' lives are intertwined by fate and by their own actions.
From the town's founder, a brave young woman from England who has no fear of blizzards or bears, to the young man who runs away to New York City with only his dog for company, the characters in The Red Garden are extraordinary and vivid: a young wounded Civil War soldier who is saved by a passionate neighbor, a woman who meets a fiercely human historical character, a poet who falls in love with a blind man, a mysterious traveler who comes to town in the year when summer never arrives.
At the center of everyone’s life is a mysterious garden where only red plants can grow, and where the truth can be found by those who dare to look.
Beautifully crafted, shimmering with magic, The Red Garden is as unforgettable as it is moving.

Baker & Taylor
Traces the multi-generational story of wintry Blackwell town through the experiences of such characters as a wounded Civil War solider who is saved by a passionate neighbor and a woman who meets a fiercely human historical figure.

& Taylor

Traces the multi-generational story of wintry Blackwell town through the experiences of such characters as a wounded Civil War solider who is saved by a passionate neighbor and a woman who meets a fiercely human historical figure. By the best-selling author of The Third Angel.

Publisher: New York : Crown Publishers, c2011
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307393876
Branch Call Number: FIC H
Characteristics: 270 p. ; 24 cm.


From the critics

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Oct 11, 2013
  • dollfacecrafter rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

this is classic Alice Hoffman, magical and wonderful stories! this was a very fast read, hard to put down. loved it.

Aug 01, 2012
  • BarbaraA rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A beautifully written book that spans centuries. The story of a town, and the extremely varied people that live there, this is more a series of interconnected short stories than a traditional novel. Each story is engrossing and poetic.

Mar 15, 2012
  • Boosterl16 rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

I felt a lack of closure in the ending - perhaps because I never wanted it to end. Fantastically written, the stories of all families in town are well interwoven.

Great Read - I couldn't put it down.

Nov 12, 2011
  • cmwallsm rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

This is one of my new favourites. A portrait of a small town over a period of 300 years. The haunting stories can fill you with longing. As always with Hoffman, the writing is slightly magical and the prose is perfect.

Jul 05, 2011
  • DanniOcean rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

reviewed in the Stratford Gazette's Shelf Life column

reviewed in the Stratford Gazette's Shelf Life column

Jun 29, 2011
  • 21221018293347 rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

I enjoyed the format of each chapter being a different story all linked to the red garden. It was a different kind of read but quite enjoyable.

Apr 16, 2011
  • VNSSHB rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

An interesting, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, read. Glad I picked up this book.

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Feb 22, 2011
  • DanniOcean rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

Alice Hoffman is known for her character-driven stories that have elements of ‘magic realism’ – her characters might know what you dream, have an unnaturally hot touch, or might see how you will eventually die. In The Red Garden, the character that is mystical is actually the town of Blackwell, Massachusetts, and the founding families who have dwelt there through generations. The novel is actually a series of short stories each revolving around the town, in different periods. The first is set in 1750, the year the town was a settlement and 17-year old Hallie Brady saved the settlers from starving during the winter. She named the field Dead Husband’s Meadow, and protected the bears on Hightop Mountain. Such are the ways local legends are born. The next ‘chapter’ is set in 1792, a generation later, when a mystical man named John Chapman came to town, and planted an apple orchard – a variety that became known as the Blackwell Look-No-Further, it was so delicious. He camped in a part of town called Husband’s Meadow and loved all of nature. He also left behind a baby, the great-grandchild of Hallie, and a distinct love of nature that subsequent generations would inherit. And so it goes: Husband's Meadow becomes Band's Meadow, the descendants of Blackwell's settlers find love, loss, ghosts and belonging, and become legends to their own descendants. This novel, similar to Hoffman's Blackbird House, is a gem for readers who like tracing genealogy, or witnessing a town's historical microcosm develop, grow and change throughout time. Blackwell cannot isolate itself from world events, the Civil War, and World Wars touch it's citizen's lives, but the town below Hightop Mountain survives; the black eels in the river and black bears on the mountain sustaining, protecting and teaching each generation - in its own context - about life.


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