I can only describe reading Julie's novels as a comforting heartache. Her new novel, Perennials, is about the bonds of family, the bonds of love and those of pain. Perennials are flowers that return; they are flowers that continue to grow and bloom in cycles. In the Sutherlands, Julie has created a family that represents all of us. You may not share the struggles of any one member of this family, but you understand the bonds and the love they represent. Our family dictates so much of who we become; even if that means we are running from who we are. Eva Sutherland is struggling agaist her family's mantra of 'Family First' and not knowing where she fits in. Reading Perennials, Julie's greatest gifts as a writer shine through her unending wealth of empathy. The Family First mantra of the Sutherlands extends outward to our human family and even as this novel pushes you to sorrow, following quickly behind that sadness is a hope and kindess. It's a comforting heartache.
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.
We are so thrilled to be hosting Julie Cantrell on November 18th! She will be discussing and signing her new book, Perennials!
"This is a book to read more than once." --Karen White, New York Times bestselling author
"If Julie Cantrell isn't on your reading list, she should be." --Lisa Wingate, national bestselling author