Friday, November 21, 2008

A Book Review

I just finished The Unlikely Lavender Queen: A Memoir of Unexpected Blossoming</a> by Jeannie Ralston.

This wasn't a book that I had heard of, or that was recommended to me. It simply caught my eye while I idly perused the stacks at the library. Lavender, hmm, my favorite flower, what's this book about? Normally I'm not interested in memoirs, particularly ones of people I never heard of before. I hope I can convey how this book affected me.

The author was an up and coming journalist in New York City when she met the love of her life, Robb Kendrick, a National Geographic photographer. For him she gives up her beloved metropolis and moves to Austin, Texas, and then moves again to a piece of property in very rural Texas. Inspired by the lavender fields in France, Robb decides to plant lavender on their property but his work requires him to travel extensively, leaving Jeannie to handle the business of the lavender alone. Meanwhile she is trying to get pregnant, trying to deal with her feelings of resentment towards her husband, and trying to cope in a place where she feels she doesn't fit in.

She believes it was the lavender that eventually taught her to let go and that her life with her husband, their life adventure, is more important than her idea of living a metropolitan lifestyle. Once she began to accept her new life she marketed the heck out of that lavender and turned her town and region into the lavender capital of Texas. Then Robb asked her to reinvent herself again, move again, accept him again.

This is a wonderful story, a fantastic manual on marriage, a terrific gardening journal. And in many ways I could relate to the author. I too moved from a large city, Philadelphia, to very rural New York for the love of my life. Gardening was the catalyst that has taught me to accept my life here. In short, I was very moved by this memoir and I'd recommend it to anyone, particularly married women.


Jerry Waxler said...

I don't know which I love more, memoirs or the internet. I have my google alerts set to "Philadelphia Memoir" and just clicked through to your delightful blog, reading about a fascinating memoir. I love your passion for it, and your description. You have made me want to read it, and also have reminded me once again that despite all the lousy things going on in 2008, there are still some amazing things, like love and flowers and people trying to do their best and reaching out to each other to share that best.

Best wishes,
Jerry Waxler
Memory Writers Network

Patti Major said...

Thank you for your comment! I'm so glad you enjoyed the review and I hope you do read this book. I should add that the author seems truly gracious. After I read it I sent off an email to her through her former business. She replied the next day.