In the Light of the Garden by Heather Burch
Setting: Gaslamp Island, Florida
Genre: Women's Fiction
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Release Date: January 10, 2017
Charity Baxter's mother was never really the ideal mother. While Charity grew up wanting her mother's attention, she was thrilled to spend her summer's with her grandparents on Gaslamp Island. There, Charity experienced the magic of the island and the true meaning of family. That all ended with her grandmother's unexpected death.
Now an adult, Charity returns to the island after her grandfather dies. She now owns the large house and his life savings. What she wants more than anything is to return to a time when the island didn't hold bad memories.
Dalton Reynolds needs time away. He's on Gaslamp Island to renovate a cottage. While there, he is able to hide from the realities he faces. When he meets Charity, he soon realizes that maybe his time for hiding is over.
Charity and Dalton form a friendship that has the potential to blossom into more. That's just the start of this book as Charity's elderly uncle returns harboring his own secrets. Plus, Charity takes in a runaway who is looking for a chance to start anew. For once, Charity finds herself surrounded by a family of sorts that seems to be exactly what she needs, providing she can get past her own guilt and shame.
Strengths and Weaknesses
In the Light of the Garden is part women's fiction, part romance, and part mystery. There's also the weeping willow that adds a bit of fantasy to the story of love, forgiveness, and family. While there are a few different storylines, it's easy to keep up with each one.
I loved the setting. It came to life. I could smell the salt air, feel the breeze, and wanted to be the one walking to the town for fresh seafood, coffee, and conversation. The setting was almost as appealing as the characters. I was sad when my time in Gaslamp Island came to an end.
RTR's Bottom Line
Pick up In the Light of the Garden and embrace a story that looks at lives and loves of several island residents or visitors. I have to say that while this is a complete novel, I do have hopes that the author will return readers to this charming community. Maybe bring us back to see Daisy as an adult? I'd love that.