Hope and her husband, Brandon, were the perfect couple until a car accident resulted in Brandon’s death. Two years later, Hope is trying to get her life back on track, but living in a small town means that everyone follows the rumor mill and tries to help. Hope is tired of hearing “I’m so sorry,” and listening to advice about dating. Attending the wedding of Brandon’s brother, Logan, at the Kingsette Inn, she seeks refuge on the roof, encountering Will, who served her a drink at the bar. Soon, the two are sharing a bottle of wine and stories. Is this a one-off, or the beginning of a relationship?
Will is not a bartender, but the owner/manager of the inn, which has been in his family for generations. Will left Kingsette years ago, moving to Los Angeles where he writes for many popular TV shows. But when his mother, Helen, abruptly leaves town, Will is forced to return and take over running the family business. After being back for a short period of time, Will learns that the inn is in serious financial trouble. Will he be able to turn things around?
Seeking to shake off bad vibes from the wedding, Hope takes a long walk and comes upon Ahava cottage occupied by a recent arrival to Kingsette, Maeve Winters, who has the ability to heal and can communicate with the dead. Maeve has not endeared herself to the locals since her advice caused one young woman, Bailey, to break off her engagement to Rory and move to attend art school in New York. Hope loves Maeve’s garden and offers to help tend the flowers. Hope’s last words to Brandon right before the accident continue to haunt her. She wants to reach Brandon one last time. Can Maeve help?
Two years isn’t nearly enough time to get over the loss of a spouse. No wonder Hope is a jumble of mixed emotions. A registered nurse, she’s quick to take on extra shifts until a supervisor orders her to cut back. While she appreciates people’s concerns, when they try to solve her problems, she reacts, sometimes lashing out. She upsets her sister, Tessa, Logan and his new wife, Tanya, and Brandon’s cousin, Selena, who offended Hope by using the same bride/groom dance song at her wedding.
Elaine Roth (Photo Credit: Anne Mitchell)
Distancing herself from her family, Hope offers to help Will at the inn. Their mutual attraction is obvious, but neither is willing to commit. Hope still feels guilty about Brandon’s death, while Will’s agent calls with a writing job that will bring him back to L.A. Will these star-crossed lovers ever work things out to be together?
The Midnight Garden rings true because the author, Elaine Roth, like Hope, became a young widow when her husband was diagnosed with a rare, terminal cancer. She began a blog to share her emotions and found a receptive audience. Her story was covered by major publications, including People magazine and the New York Times. Writing a novel seemed like the logical next step.
While Hope is a young woman who has lost a husband, The Midnight Garden will resonate with anyone who has suffered the loss of a spouse, child, close relative, or friend. There is no finish line for grief, but Roth’s novel offers hope, a way forward, without forgetting the past.
The Midnight Garden
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