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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

The First Gardener

If heaven had a backyard, it would look like the gardens of the Tennessee governor's mansion.

Jeremiah Williams has been tending those gardens for over twenty-five years. And like most first families who have come and gone, this one has stolen his heart.

Mackenzie and her husband, Governor Gray London, are enjoying a sweet season of life when tragedy tears their world apart. As the entire state mourns, Mackenzie falls into a grief that threatens to swallow her whole.

Though his heart is also broken, Jeremiah realizes that his gift of gardening is about far more than pulling weeds and planting flowers. It's about tending hearts as well. So he gently begins to cultivate the hard soil of Mackenzie's heart, hoping to show her what it took him decades to discover.

A southern tale of loss, love, and living. The First Gardener by Denise Hildreth Jones, reminds us that all of life is a gift, but our heart it the most valuable gift of all.

My Review

This is such a heart-wrenching story to capture between the pages of this novel but Denise Hildreth Jones has achieved a perfect blend of perfection. Dealing with such unspeakable joy, then tragic loss that will pull your heart to its breaking point and rediscover how God can work through ANYTHING to bring about His perfect will for us, as is shown through the lives of Governor Gray London, a man of honor and impeccable strength, and his transparent and loving wife Mackenzie. We discover how hard it's been for them to have children and have resorted to fertility treatments that have produced many miscarriages. When Maddie is born is seems like God is finally smiling on them and the lasting and warm friendship that develops between the family and their gardener Jeremiah will just melt your heart.

Jeremiah's love for flowers has inspired him to show kindness in the best way he can through sharing flowers he lovingly tends all around the governors mansion. It isn't until Mackenzie's mother, Eugenia, a southern belle from long ago, informs her that these flowers have a message and each one of them is meant to encourage and convey God's meaning to Mackenzie, although at times, Jeremiah questions just the reasons behind the ones he is asked to bring her.

In the end, the reader is left filled with God's unconditional love and the knowledge that in His love, He shows up with unexpected blessings, amazing friendships, beautiful opportunities and yes, sometimes He allows inexplicable pain but He NEVER leaves us to handle it alone. This book will steal your heart and soul and leave you with a lasting sense of perfect peace and smiles to warm the coldest nights.

I received this book compliments of Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review. This is my second book by Denise Hildreth Jones and it certainly will not be my last. She writes so well you care about every single character with such love that they ingrain themselves into your heart and in the end feel like your family has grown a bit larger. This one is highly recommended. It will make you smile, cry, and love like never before and for that reason I proudly give it 5 out of 5 stars.

For more information on this book, the author and where to pick up a copy of this book today, please click on the links below:

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You can also find her website by clicking here.


  1. This is a wonderful review. I will place this on my reading list.

  2. I was caught by your review almost immediately. Then I read your line "the reader is left filled with God's unconditional love", and that cinched it!! Adding this book to my shelves!


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