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Review: Leota’s Garden by Francine Rivers

Leotas Garden by Francine Rivers

Leota, old and poor, is no longer able to work in her garden.  Actually, she can do very little of anything, and her life is so sad and empty that she asks God to call her home.  Instead, he sends her Corban, an arrogant university student who helps her in exchange for information, and Annie, a loving granddaughter who has always been kept from her.  As artistic Annie tackles the garden, much of Leota’s life changes but her painful relationship with Nora, Annie’s mother, does not.

Obviously this is not the story of a garden.  It is the story of an old lady, a university student, the daughter of a controlling mother, and the bitter daughter of a sad mother.  It is a story of love, self-deception, circumstances, and the gospel.  And so, perhaps it is the story of a garden after all, because all of the most important events of the universe happened in a garden.

It is also the story of lives cut short and opportunities missed.  It tells about our arrogant intellectual ideas, the importance of love, and the importance of life.  Above all, it tells about our Savior and how he forgives all our sin, pride, selfishness, and foolishness.

But, if you’ve ever read Francine Rivers, you know that all of this is only background.  The story is front and center.  You will learn to love dear Annie.  You will puzzle with Leota as she reflects on the mistakes of the past, and you will shake your head over Corban and Nora until you realize you are just like them.  In the end, you will be comforted by God’s good news and filled with horror at where our society is going.

A friend told me this was her favorite book.  Reading the story, I understood why.  Well-written, fast-paced, and character-driven, it was difficult to put down.  Once you’ve begun the book you will want to finish it, and thus Francine Rivers ensures that each of her readers experiences her powerful prolife message.  Highly recommended.

This is yet another book in the in the 2015 52 Books in 52 Weeks Challenge and is also linked to Saturday Reviews, Booknificent Thursdays, Literacy Musings Monday, and The Book Nook.

Disclosure:  A friend gave me her extra copy of this book (and I have now loaned it out to another friend); I am not compensated for this review and my opinions are my own. 


  1. Aritha says:

    Een mooi en krachtig review. Je hebt het boek op een goede manier gevangen in woorden!

    1. Annie Kate says:

      Dank je wel, Aritha. Het is fijn om zoiets van jou te horen.

  2. Jenn says:

    I keep meaning to get started on her books. Yes, I have never read one! Which one would you suggest? Redeeming Love was a friend’s recommendation.

    1. Annie Kate says:

      I’ve read a few of her books, and this one was by far my favorite. So if you can find a copy, start with Leota’s Garden.

    2. I love this book, Leota’s Garden, as well as Redeeming Love, but my very favorite Francine Rivers’ books are her The Mark of the Lion trilogy. You really can’t go wrong. Thanks so much for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday, Annie Kate!

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