Review: The Welcome Home Garden Club by Lori Wilde

The Welcome Home Garden Club: A Twilight, Texas NovelReviewer: Valerie

The Welcome Home Garden Club by Lori Wilde

Series: Twilight, Texas (#4)
Publisher: HarperCollins
Page Count: 238
Release Date: April 2011
Source: eBook purchased on Nook
Blurb: Traditional meaning of Pink and White Roses: I love you still and always will.

Caitlyn Marsh stopped believing in happily-ever-after when high-school sweetheart, Gideon Garza, left for Iraq. Now she raises her small son while her matchmaking gardening club members drive her crazy. Then Caitlyn’s world turns upside-down when Gideon swaggers back to Twilight.

Gideon had left town in the middle of night with threats ringing in his ears. A lot of things have changed since then. This bad boy-turned-Green Beret bears scars from the war, the timid girl he loved is an independent mother, and the father who refused to recognize his son in life has, in death, left him a vast cattle ranch.

He still aches for Caitlyn, and now there’s a dark-haired boy who looks exactly like Gideon did at that age. Could the child be his? And can this war-weary soldier overcome the scars of the past to claim the family he so richly deserves?

Review: I am a huge fan of books with series based on small towns. Right now, there are quite a few different series to choose from, including this one, the Twilight, Texas series. For me, the pull of these types of books is that not only do I get to read a story and learn to love the characters in that book but I also get small glimpses into their lives after their story is told by reading the rest of the books in the series. Book four was a heartrending story and yes, I cried at times. It had all the elements that make a story so complete and I read this one late into the night until the very last page. While you might think the storyline is predictable and guy ends up with girl, it’s much, much more than that. This guy is DEAD to the girl. This guy has been on three tours, not one, not two, but three tours of duty and is scarred. In fact, Ms. Wilde dedicated this book to our servicemen and women. The girl is recently widowed, estranged from her father and raising a young son, alone. Yes, it’s a story full of baggage and relationships and forgiveness.

In the center of it all is a beautiful victory garden that Caitlyn is dedicating to her dead first love and all the servicemen and women from their town. By designing the garden, she feels some healing and it also helps her support her young son. Her garden club reaches out into the community and she has support. The only catch is that the garden club wants the garden designed around her father’s old carousel, her inheritance. Asking him for it requires that she speak to her father. Remember it’s a small town and everyone knows everything – including the fact that her son is not for her dead husband. On the day a prominent citizen is being buried, her son’s grandfather, she hears the roar of a motorcycle and sees a rider. When he removes his helmet, she faints.

How these two once-in-love as teenagers reconnect and try to figure out all the changes in each other and their world was a joy to read. When Gideon cried and had nightmares, I was there. When Caitlyn cried and hugged her son, I was there. When her young son questions why he doesn’t look like his dead dad, I was there. When the townspeople were taking bets on who will end up with who, I was laughing. While you don’t have to read the other books in this series to read this one, you will want to. The characters come alive from the very first page and don’t let go until the end. I can’t wait for the next book in this series!

Quote: “Her soul ached in mournful remembrance. Time might have blunted the old wounds, but it hadn’t healed them. Her throat constricted.” Page 23
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