The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman


If you’ve ever been to a small town, where everyone knows everyone and each house is full of old names and ancient history, this book should feel familiar. It’s the story of a place, from its foundation to current day. Each chapter tells a different part of local history, and family names and traits flow down through the generations and into local legend.

There are the looming mountains and bear filled forests around the town of Blackwell, Massachusetts, and a garden that will turn anything planted in it red, the ghost of the little girl by river and a monster in the forest. The book tells three hundred years of history in local folklore, and each story is beautiful and poignant. It’s a delightful read, with romance, tragedy, war and fighting the elements. I love the way that it gives insight into how landscape and events shape people, as well as the magical elements of ghosts and women who feel an affinity with bears. The way that family names and traits pass through generations. Wonderful.

Read It If: You love history and a good story. These shine.

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