Perennials by Julie Cantrell

My Review

I came to sympathize with Eva (nicknamed Lovey), the protagonist of Perennials. She feels betrayed by her older sister Bitsy. No matter which direction Lovey turns, Bitsy is doing everything in her power to hurt and destroy her. I could empathize with Lovey. I could imagine Lovey, at age 45, becoming tired of running. I could believe her seeing her father’s request to come for his and her mother’s 50th anniversary as a way to “come home again.”

I was looking forward to reading Perennials, by Julie Cantrell. I had not read any of her books but had heard many good things about her work as an inspiration fiction writer. I think of the inspirational fiction genre as a publishing arm of the Christian community. You can imagine my surprise when I found the protagonist follows the teachings of her Buddhist mentor. I was even more surprised at allusions to Mary, Christ’s mother, speaking to and guiding other characters in the book.

I love to learn from the novels I read. Julie Cantrell vividly weaves an abundance of flowers and trees into the story’s setting, along with information about the cities portrayed in the book. Perennials teaches us about the color and greenery God has planted in His world.

Perennials is an interesting story. It speaks to our heartfelt need for home and family, even under circumstances that are desperately difficult. The book resonated in my life; it inspires.

I received this book from Fiction Guild. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.

Publisher’s Summary

When two estranged sisters reunite for their parents’ 50th anniversary, a family tragedy brings unexpected lessons of hope and healing amid the flowers of their mother’s perennial garden.

Eva Sutherland—known to all as Lovey—grew up safe and secure in Oxford, Mississippi, surrounded by a rich literary history and her mother’s stunning flower gardens. But a shed fire, and the injuries it caused, changed everything. Her older sister, Bitsy, blamed Lovey for the irreparable damage. Bitsy became the homecoming queen and the perfect Southern belle who could do no wrong. All the while, Lovey served as the family scapegoat, always bearing the brunt when Bitsy threw blame her way.

At eighteen, suffocating in her sister’s shadow, Lovey turned down a marriage proposal and fled to Arizona. Free from Bitsy’s vicious lies, she became a successful advertising executive and a weekend yoga instructor, carving a satisfying life for herself. But at forty-five, Lovey is feeling more alone than ever and questioning the choices that led her here.

When her father calls insisting she come home three weeks early for her parents’ 50th anniversary, Lovey is at her wits’ end. She’s about to close the biggest contract of her career, and there’s a lot on the line. But despite the risks, her father’s words, “Family First,” draw her back to the red-dirt roads of Mississippi.

Lovey is drawn in to a secret project—a memory garden her father has planned as an anniversary surprise. As she helps create this sacred space, Lovey begins to rediscover her roots, learning how to live perennially in spite of life’s many trials and tragedies.

Years ago, Lovey chose to leave her family and the South far behind. But now that she’s returned, she’s realizing things at home were not always what they seemed.


5 thoughts on “Perennials by Julie Cantrell

  1. Thank you. From personal experience I KNOW one of the most difficult markets is the inspirational, fiction genre. If you also have historical accuracy it can make it more difficult. I have come to the place where with the blog anyone who wants to check out my writings can be assured that I am a Christian. When characters pray ….it is to the Christian Lord and Saviour. First theme is forgiveness and this can be hard to handle in a straight fiction story where the heart beat is of Christ but the story is a journey where only one personal is a believer. Love your book reviews. Thank you. http/ is a link if you would like to check out my ‘stuff’. This one thing I go know…..God inspired everything. Book reviewed sounds interesting. Anyone interested in Australian Christian Fiction?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m sorry you’re having such a hard time bringing into the market, Faye. I normally post on Mon, Wed, and Fri. However, the last few months have been messed up due to my fall. I have so many Dr. appt., PT, dental appt. etc. that I don’t always get to follow that schedule (for instance all day today was spent at a Doctor’s office). I am usually booked out for 6-9 months for review, so I don’t usually take on more past that time. I’ll often go for about three months, then schedule out the last three months of the year. Unfortunately, I’m booked out now for approximately 11 months. So, I won’t be taking on any new books that I‘m not already obligated to review (through street teams, advanced reading and book tours-many of these are booked months before the books are published).
      I hope you can get into the market soon!


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