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“This book was such a delightful and refreshing read, especially as a new release in a world dominated by paranormal romance, high-concept mysteries, literary war novels, or teen fantasy. The Red Garden follows several generations of residents of the fictional town of Blackwell,...”see full review » see other reviews »
“I tend to either love or dislike Alice Hoffman books and this one I loved! I think she does a magnificent job in weaving in different stories and timelines so that you can see how characters and cities and times have evolved. This book reminds me of how The Blackbird House is written and I loved that one as well. The characters were believable in all their strengths and weaknesses, hate and kindness. I definitely recommend the book if you like historical pieces. ”Kat wrote this review 3 weeks ago. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“: Really interesting book that was made up of different stories involving a small town. Many interesting characters. I loved all the stuff with the bears.”Chelsea Hannah H wrote this review Tuesday, November 5, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Pretty good. It was what I expected of an Alice Hoffman book. Maybe not her best, but certainly better than a lot of stuff out there.”Lore wrote this review Tuesday, October 22, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Really fantastic collection of connected short stories.”Susan K wrote this review Tuesday, July 16, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This novel lacks the immediacy of many of Hoffman's books. That's not necessarily bad, only different. Instead of an intense focus on a couple of main characters, here she takes a broad, historical view.
The red garden of the title is located in the fictional town of Blackwell, MA. The dirt in the garden is red, only red plants will grow there, and Blackwell is heavily populated by residents with flaming red hair - descendants of Hallie Brady, the town founder.
Beginning with Hallie, Hoffman relates the stories of several generations of the town's residents. I found some of the stories compelling, and a couple not so much. It's almost more a short story collection with a common theme than a novel. And not every story felt complete to me. I did like the recurring traits of various community members and how the families and their dynamics changed throughout the years.
Magical realism is very much an element, as many of the characters have deep connections to animals, beginning with Hallie and a black bear. There's also the aptly named Eel River, encounterd by nearly every character in the book. And of course, the red garden itself.”
“ It's Alice Hoffman. So I loved it. Although I must admit that it isn't her best, but if you like her, you won't be disappointed! ”Jeffrey Blount wrote this review Friday, May 3, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“I believe this is the first book by Alice Hoffman I've read, though honestly, I have no idea if that's right or not (you read enough you lose track). Regardless, Hoffman's generation to generation integration of the lives of so many various characters, all of them linked to one small spot on earth, make for an almost poetic read. There is a very real sense of the human condition to her writing, especially in 'The Red Garden', but told in such a way that it often sounds magical as well. Each character in this book offers such a different perspective on this cold, solitary town in the midst of Massachusetts with the growth of the ages. All-in-all it was absolutely a beautiful read, even if it wasn't as compelling as maybe I would have preferred, but altogether a wonderful introduction into the literary talents of Alice Hoffman. I'm very much looking forward to seeing what else she has in store for me as my shelves house so many of her novels as it is!”Laura B wrote this review Friday, April 26, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is a somwhat strange book, and if you are not into magical realism, then this is not for you. I enjoyed the chain of stories that combine to form a history - some passages are very touching, whilst some stories seem to speak to you at a level that you don't really understand. Wonderfully written”Luce of the woods wrote this review Friday, April 26, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This is a series of short stories chronicling the history of a small town in New England. While many of the stories were intriguing and very engaging I felt like I wanted more. Some of these would have made great novels in and of themselves. ”CreativeGlo wrote this review Sunday, March 17, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“ It was okay, I guess. It was kind of the history of a town called Blackwell, Massachusetts. Each chapter was about a different person, starting with the person who settled there and started the town, and following down through the generations of her posterity to the present time. Each chapter was basically unrelated to the last except for one or two characters who had aged. Each layer added upon the history of the town. People moved into town, people moved away. The last few chapters included several instances of what I would consider foul language and a lot of sexual encounters, which I wasn't too happy with because it started out so clean and interesting. In the end, though, I'd have to give it mixed reviews. Literary critics would probably love it because of the "themes" -- people with certain character traits and hair color, and it all coming back around to the red garden. It was well-written and there was enough commonality between stories to carry the theme through to the end. I mostly liked it, but there were a few things that I didn't, so I'm giving it 4 stars.”Maria's Bookshelf wrote this review Wednesday, February 20, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No