Thursday, November 3, 2011

The First Gardener by Denise Hildreth Jones ~ review

Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (July 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 141433558X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1414335582

A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the book;

If heaven had a backyard, it would look like the gardens of the Tennessee governor’s mansion.
Jeremiah Williams has been tending those gardens for over twenty- five years. And like most first families who have come and gone, this one has stolen his heart.

Mackenzie and her husband, Governor Gray London, are enjoying a sweet season of life when a tragedy tears their world apart. As the entire state mourns, Mackenzie falls into a grief that threatens to swallow her whole.

Though his heart is also broken, Jeremiah realizes that his gift of gardening is about far more than pulling weeds and planting flowers. It’s about tending hearts as well. So he gently begins to cultivate the hard soil of Mackenzie’s heart, hoping to show her what it took him decades to discover.

A Southern tale of loss, love, and living, The First Gardener reminds us that all of life is a gift, but our heart is the most valuable gift of all.

My take on this book:

Mackenzie London is the wife of the governor of Tennessee. She and her husband Gray struggled for years with fertility problems, but after ten years of struggling and four miscarriages they were blessed with their beautiful daughter Mattie. While Mack dreaded it, Mattie at the age of five was ready to head off to kindergarten. When an unexpected tragedy strikes the family everyone's life is changed forever. 

I enjoyed the southern flavor of this story,and the dialect that was used was quite a treat to read. While this was a sad tragic story there was also hope and God's healing to be had as well. As the story started it was easy to think that Mack and Gray seemed to have it all, but as their story unfolds we see their struggles with infertility and Gray's longing to have a son. When tragedy struck my heart broke not only for them but those around them as well. I thought Mack's mother really added to the story, but for me my favorite character had to be the gardener Jeremiah, his wisdom came from the lessons in life that he had learned.
There were a few laughs to be had with this story, but it was also profoundly sad. The author does a great job of weaving many difficult issues together such as infertility, death,depression, grieving and broken hearts, taking these feelings and ultimately giving us life lessons full of hope and forgiveness.

rating 4/5

A complimentary copy of this book was provided for an honest review.


  1. Thanks for your review of this book. I was considering this one as a book club pick.

  2. Beckie, I really enjoyed the writing and dialect with this one, but boy was it sad.


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