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Always Green    by Patti Hill order for
Always Green
by Patti Hill
Order:  USA  Can
Bethany, 2005 (2005)
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

Mibby Garrett is not having a very nice summer. Drought and extremely hot weather have hit Colorado, and her garden design and maintenance business is suffering. Her fourteen-year-old son Ky has become sullen and irresponsible. And don't get Mibby started on her love life, or lack thereof. The only man who seems interested is not the one Mibby would choose for herself. Larry is a nice guy and a good friend, but he doesn't give her the shivers that Ben did (before she told him she wasn't ready for a relationship). The icing on the cake is Mibby's mother. The free spirit who comes and goes at irregular intervals from the lives of Mibby and her sister Margot has decided to live with Mibby for awhile. All of these trials serve to teach Mibby how to trust in God. Will she be able to give up control and let God work in her life?

This is the sweet sequel to Like a Watered Garden, which introduced Mibby and her family. Patti Hill writes with a clear voice, and Mibby's character is fresh and likable. Readers of all ages and levels of experience will relate to her transparency and willingness to be open and honest with God. The scenes of parenting a teenager hit very close to home and endeared Mibby even more to me. The issues of becoming independent (even at forty) and dropping expectations of our parents are poignant and timely. As the story ended with much unresolved, there will be more in the Garden Gates series. Though the author deals fairly well with backstory and getting readers caught up with the previous novel, it is unfortunate that some of the main characters from the previous book have only peripheral mention in this one.

All in all, readers will delight in Always Green, which is full of fascinating gardening information and advice. Reading the gorgeous descriptions made me feel like I was walking through Mibby's beautiful gardens - if only I could hire her to make over my yard!

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