Sometimes I dream about moving to a small town where everybody knows your name and you can walk to anywhere you need to go and the stress level is virtually nonexistent. But then I remember that there wouldn’t be a Whole Foods three-quarters of a mile from my house and I would be hard pressed to find an Asian market or a symphony hall. So I am satisfy my urge by reading about such a community.
For that reason, I enjoyed Tending Roses, the first in a series by Lisa Wingate. I had previously read — and reviewed — Before We Were Yours, also by the same author. I really liked that book and the author’s writing style. Tending Roses is very different, much cozier than the somewhat disturbing Before We Were Yours.
Kate and her husband Ben, along with their baby Joshua, come to visit Kate’s grandmother, mostly at the behest of other family members. Grandma Rose lives alone in the house where she brought up her children, but now, because of aging and increasing dementia, the family believes it is time for her to move into a nursing home. Kate has been asked to break the news to her grandmother.
It isn’t long before Kate realizes this is easier said than done. Grandma Rose is very happy where she is, and it becomes increasingly clear to Kate why this is so. The slower life in the smaller town is a big change — and a refreshing one — from their busy life in Chicago.
Days turn into weeks turn into months, and Kate becomes more and more peaceful. Adding to her quiet joy is a journal of stories apparently written by her grandmother that tell the tale of her life, and her wonderful memories of being a child and raising her family in this small town.
The book has a quiet charm that was refreshing after reading some of the graphic mysteries I mostly enjoy. I found myself rooting for Kate to convince her family that a slower, easier life is the way to go.