I’ve known about Hulda Klager for a number of years. I think the year I read my first Jane Kirkpatrick novel, A Gathering of Finches - my all-time favorite – was the same year I read about Hulda’s lilac gardens in the Oregonian. I quickly scanned the article, making a mental note that I would need to visit someday.
After all, Woodland, WA, was only up the road a piece. The years would flit by, but it seems fitting that I would finally visit the gardens for a book signing with Jane Kirkpatrick and her latest novel, Where Lilacs Still Bloom.
I love the way Ms. Kirkpatrick captures the strength of the courageous women she writes about. And I believe she truly portrays the very essence of Hulda’s in this very moving story. I think it is my all-time favorite now!
Told in first person, you’ll feel you pulled up a chair on Hulda’s sun porch with a glass of lemonade as you slip into her story. Encouraged by her father, her fascination with horticulture began with grafting two varieties of apples to produce a larger, crisper fruit.
Over the years Hulda’s passion turned to lilacs, a flower she says means “here is a place to stay”. She cross-pollinated in search of a lilac with many petals and a creamy white. I was touched by the joy she found and the heartaches she endured. And through it all, she hoped her children knew that her endeavors were never more important than they. A timeless wish, I think.
A wonderful surprise was the tender love story, tucked within the pages of the novel. The quiet touch of her husband’s hand, a look exchanged with no words needed, gripped my heart and brought tears to my eyes as easily as the deepest loss.
I loved the tour of the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens, which was included with Jane Kirkpatrick’s book signing. And now that I’ve read this beautiful story, I want to go back and wander the paths again, just like I will want to read this book again. And again.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” KJV Psalms 19:14