Monday, January 8, 2024

The Gardins of Edin by Rosey Lee Book Review

About the Book:

The four women of the Gardin family live side-by-side in Edin, Georgia, but residing in tight proximity doesn’t mean everything is picture-perfect. Ruth runs the family’s multimillion-dollar peanut business, a legacy of the Gardins’ formerly enslaved ancestors. But tensions have intensified since the death of her husband, Beau, and she feels like an outsider in the very place she wishes to belong.

Sisters Mary and Martha fuel the family tension. Martha’s unfounded mistrust of Ruth causes her to constantly seek ways to undermine Ruth’s decisions with the business, while Mary, trying to focus on her new restaurant that serves healthy comfort food, is dragged into the family fray by Martha.

For years, Naomi, the matriarch who raised the sisters after their parents’ death and supported Ruth in her grief, has played peacemaker. But as she decides to take a step back, hidden truths, life-and-death circumstances, and escalating clashes finally force the Gardin women to grapple with what it means to be a family.

A heartwarming Southern story of family and all its many complexities, The Gardins of Edin delivers a thoughtful portrayal of four women trying to hold on to their secrets. Women who just might—if they can only let go—find the peace they seek by holding on to one another.

My Review:

This was a hard novel for me to read. While it might be described as touching in the end, there was way too much bickering. There was so much bickering between the family members it seemed endless. This would be a very difficult novel for readers who have had or have difficult family relationships. I found myself skimming after a while, tired of the bickering that lasted almost until the very end.

I missed character descriptions. While clothing was sometimes overly described with brand names and other details, descriptions of facial features were missing. I could not picture the characters, not knowing if they were lanky or plump or had dimples or sparkling eyes.

The structure of the novel seemed a bit unorganized. Mary has a very emotional scene with Tynan but it is not until much later that we find out the background to their relationship. An explanatory sentence or two at the time would have helped. Another example is all of the talk early on about the Gardin Family Enterprises. It is not until much later we find out it is about peanut farming and associated productions. A revealing sentence or two early on would have helped my understanding and appreciation of the business.

This is a debut effort and I think Lee has great potential. I hope her next novel has fewer pages devoted to relationship dysfunction and more to healing and restoration.

My rating: 3/5 stars.


About the Author:

Rosey Lee writes stories about complicated families and complex friendships, but a happy ending is guaranteed. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia, where she enjoys cooking, flower arranging, and occasional bursts of fanatical bargain shopping. She grew up on the Westbank of New Orleans, Louisiana, and carries the area and her loved ones in her heart when she’s away from them.

WaterBrook, 320 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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