The Red Garden introduces us to the luminous and haunting world of Blackwell, Massachusetts. Hoffman offers a transforming glimpse of small-town America, presenting us with some three hundred years of passion, dark secrets, loyalty, and redemption in a web of tales.
From the town's founder, a brave young woman from England who has no fear of blizzards or bears, to the young man who runs away to New York City, the characters in The Red Garden are extraordinary and vivid: a young wounded Civil War soldier who is saved by a neighbor, a woman who meets a fiercely human historical character, a poet who falls in love with a blind man, a mysterious traveler who comes to town in the year when summer never arrives. At the center of everyone's life is a garden where only red plants can grow, and where the truth can be found by those who dare to look. The Red Garden is as unforgettable as it is moving.
©2011 Alice Hoffman (P)2010 Random House Audio
"In gloriously sensuous, suspenseful, mystical, tragic, and redemptive episodes, Hoffman subtly alters her language, from an almost biblical voice to increasingly nuanced and intricate prose reflecting the burgeoning social and psychological complexities her passionate and searching characters face in an ever-changing world." (Booklist)
"Hoffman has done it again, crafting a poignant, compelling collection of fairy tales suffused with pathos and brightened by flashes of magic. Her fans, as well as those of magical realism in general, will be enchanted." (Library Journal)
"Fans of Hoffman's brand of mystical whimsy will find this paean to New England one of her most satisfying." (Kirkus Review)
I found this to be more like short stories set in the same town. sometimes I felt it left a story just as I was getting to know the character. despite this, I do love getting lost in Alice Hoffman's books and this was no different.
"pleasant but unfulfilled"
Lovely premise and written well enough, but I had hoped for more connection in the end of the pleasant ride up through the history of the small town. In the end, it was like anytown, with the ghosts and memories of the past always lingering but it missed a satisfying resolution of some sort. I won't say don't try it, because the stories have character and depth, but I just can't rave on this.
"Amazing book - I listened twice!"
You have to go in to this book knowing it's episodic - it covers about 250 years in the life of the town, and each chapter skips ahead to another generation. Knowing that, you let go of your expectations for a "regular" novel and just go with the flow.
At first I had a hard time getting into the book. But once I understood the structure and got about three chapters in, it completely hooked me. I loved every bit of it. The characters are so rich, and the town itself develops a personality and becomes a character we root for. Alice Hoffman has such a terrific insight into human nature, and in this book she examines all kinds of people, allowing the reader to understand each of them, in their weakness, in their nobility, in their humanity.
I listened to this book twice through, then listened to my favorite chapters a third time. It wouldn't let me go!
This isn't for someone wanting major action or romance. It's not a genre novel, but more literary. I think you have to allow yourself the time to sink into this one, and when you do, you'll be glad you did.
"mgical, interesting, creative, compelling"
Another wonderful book from the sublime Alice Hoffman. Fabulous recording. Beautiful writing. A must listen!
"Alice Hoffman in her best!"
Absolutely! If my friends does'nt know Alice Hoffman they ought to. Best writer ever!
The bears in the cave scene
"This was a beautifully written and gorgeous book.."
....to read. It was filled with lush thoughts of gardens and rivers, mountains, bears, and flowers. You could easily imagine what was being portrayed by the way Alice Hoffman places her words in sentences. It was a book of short stories that all intertwined like a geneology project. From the 1600's to the present time.....the people in this book felt like your own family by the time you were done. There was a bit of the supernatural in it.....which helped the book to be a bit intriguing. I enjoyed every minute of this book....I LOVE Alice Hoffman!!!....
"Classic Alice Hoffman"
This book reflects the qualities that makes Hoffman one of my favorite authors. It has nuances of Blackbird House which marks the unique signature of Hoffman's writing. The characters are strong, and insightful, with human frailties that make them both unique and relatable. The worlds she creates are as if the stories are told by the form of a mountain with omnipresent qualities that watches our worlds come and go with the passage of time. She incorporates the everyday with a subtle hint of the mistical that opens ones heart to the wonders and unknown possibilities of the world around us.
"History of a Town"
Alice Hoffman is amazing!
This book felt like a series. In fact, I often thought as I read it that I would love to see it fattened and become a television series or at least a book series.
Each time period and the person it represented left me wanting more. From the very first character I wanted more than the lifespan that was given. What happened next to Hallie Brady, for example, when she left town?
I was angry, at first, when I borrowed the book from the library for my Kindle that it didn't have text-to-speech enabled. Even so I was drawn into the story enough that I kept reading, even past my eyestrain. But by the middle of the book I started feeling like this would be a book to own. I already want to read it again. I bought the Audible version and a used copy from Amazon. I want to go back to Blackwell, soon. I loved Nancy Travis's interpretation of the various characters. Way better than my text-to-speech voice!
I look forward to reading and listening to this again in the future.
This was highly entertaining. The sound quality was poor at the beginning, but after the first half-hour, it was great. (This may have also been my speakers).
"A good read, very entertaining, true Hoffman prose"
Stories artfully tied together by the history of a small town. Mystical/realistic trademark blended beautifully.
Heartful story-- following the town over the years, its stories and residents, their children and ancestors, the trees, land, animals.
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