I have been a huge fan of Lisa Wingate’s books since I picked up my very first one. I believe they are all on my bookshelf but I have had a bit of difficulty working them into my heavy review schedule. For that reason, I have heard wonderful things about Tending Roses but have never gotten around to reading it until now. When asked if I wanted to review its re-release, I was happy to have an excuse to read it. I only regret that it has taken me so long to get my review posted.

Tending Roses was everything I expected and more. I don’t think I fully expected it to hit quite as close to home as it did. My circumstances are a bit different than Kate’s but we have had to deal with some anesthesia/surgery related dementia in my mother this year so I fully appreciate the vast range of emotions experienced by Kate. Thankfully my mother’s problems were mostly temporary and her symptoms are mostly gone.

I loved how the author managed to convey Kate’s thoughts and reactions to her grandmother’s problems with such realism and honesty. We would all like to think we would rise to the occasion and sweetly take care of our loved one no matter the cost but the truth is most of us will have moments of resentment and selfishness and Kate was a character true to that mold. I just hope that if that time comes (and I expect it will), that I will be able to face it with kindness and love and allow myself to learn something from the experience.

Tending Roses is a book everyone should take the time to read. It is a book about family loyalty and devotion as well as the differences between each family member and the faith and love that bind them all together. I have hopes that I will be able to read this book again, perhaps more than once because it has many reminders about what life is really about.

I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by the author. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.

From the New York Times bestselling author of Before We Were Yours comes a heartfelt novel about the bonds of family and the power of second chances.

When Kate Bowman temporarily moves to her grandmother’s Missouri farm with her husband and baby son, she learns that the lessons that most enrich our lives often come unexpectedly. The family has given Kate the job of convincing Grandma Rose, who’s become increasingly stubborn and forgetful, to move off her beloved land and into a nursing home. But Kate knows such a change would break her grandmother’s heart.

Just when Kate despairs of finding answers, she discovers her grandma’s journal. A beautiful handmade notebook, it is full of stories that celebrate the importance of family, friendship, and faith. Stories that make Kate see her life—and her grandmother—in a completely new way…


Selected among BOOKLIST’S Top 10 for two years running, Lisa Wingate writes novels that Publisher’s Weekly calls “Masterful” and ForeWord Magazine refers to as “Filled with lyrical prose, hope, and healing.” Lisa is a journalist, an inspirational speaker, and the author of a host of literary works. Her novels have garnered or been short-listed for many awards, including the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, the Oklahoma Book Award, the Utah Library Award, the LORIES Best Fiction Award, The Carol Award, the Christy Award, Family Fiction’s Top 10, RT Booklover’s Reviewer’s Choice Award, and others. The group Americans for More Civility, a kindness watchdog organization, selected Lisa along with six others for the National Civies Award, which celebrates public figures who promote greater kindness and civility in American life. She’s been a writer since Mrs. Krackhardt’s first-grade class and still believes that stories have the power to change the world.

IN THE WRITER’S OWN WORDS: A special first grade teacher, Mrs. Krackhardt, made a writer out of me. That may sound unlikely, but it’s true. It’s possible to find a calling when you’re still in pigtails and Mary Jane shoes, and to know it’s your calling. I was halfway through the first grade when I landed in Mrs. Krackhardt’s classroom. I was fairly convinced there wasn’t anything all that special about me… and then, Mrs. Krackhardt stood over my desk and read a story I was writing. She said things like, “This is a great story! I wonder what happens next?”

It isn’t every day a shy new kid gets that kind of attention. I rushed to finish the story, and when I wrote the last word, the teacher took the pages, straightened them on the desk, looked at me over the top, and said, “You are a wonderful writer!”

A dream was born. Over the years, other dreams bloomed and died tragic, untimely deaths. I planned to become an Olympic gymnast or win the National Finals Rodeo, but there was this matter of back flips on the balance beam and these parents who stubbornly refused to buy me a pony. Yet the writer dream remained. I always believed I could do it because… well… my first grade teacher told me so, and first grade teachers don’t lie.

So, that is my story, and if you are a teacher, or know a teacher, or ever loved a special teacher, I salute you from afar and wish you days be filled with stories worth telling and stories worth reading.