?Review: The Lily Garden by Barbara Josselsohn

Posted on July 8, 2021 by Nadene @ Totally Addicted to Reading in Reviews / 14 Comments

The Lily Garden served as my introduction to the work of Barbara Josselsohn. Readers who enjoy heartwarming stories in a small town setting should pick up a copy of this wonderful story. Read on and see why it would make the perfect summer read.

The story introduces Caroline, a widow and single mom, to a seventeen-year-old. Caroline currently works in her Aunt’s textile company. The same aunt who raised her from she was twelve years old. She has accepted the life she had living in Chicago, but she wants more for her daughter. Although she had fond memories of her childhood home prior to and after losing her parents where she lived with her mom’s best friend for four years, she never returned to her roots. 

Amid preparing for a two-week vacation, which included college tours with her daughter Lee, she received a heart breaking message. Her mother’s lily garden faced imminent destruction, causing her to change her plans and make an unplanned trip to the place she once called home. While there she meets Aaron, a history professor, who  recently moved to Lake Summers to take up a professorship at the local university.

Aaron grapples with issues stemming from a recent discovery. However, meeting Caroline proved a welcome distraction.

Caroline exhibited immense growth as the story progressed. I enjoyed watching her leaving her comfort zone and embracing the challenges surrounding the lily garden. Also, I cheered for her when she began making decisions for herself. The secondary characters with their words and actions added to richness of the story.

I loved the relationship Caroline had with her daughter. It reminded so much of the one I shared with my mom. Also, I found the developing romance between Caroline and Aaron to be ok. It received little page time, making it difficult to connect with them as a couple.

The synopsis hinted at a terrible secret, one which I waited eagerly to be revealed. The big reveal occurred almost at the end, which I found sad rather than terrible. I must admit I teared up at the revelation.  Also, several misunderstandings in relation to the past were cleared up which allowed for healing to commence. 

One of my biggest peeves is a story ending without there being closure to the issues and leaving me to make my own conclusions.  The story ended in such a fashion leaving with unanswered questions.


Despite my issue with the ending, I enjoyed this heartwarming and uplifting story of family, friendship and love.  


Story Evaluation
World Building
Writing Style
Overall: One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star



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About Barbara Josselsohn

Barbara Solomon Josselsohn is the author of two novels, The Lilac House (Bookouture, 2020) and The Last Dreamer (Lake Union, 2015). Her articles and essays appear in a range of publications, including New York Magazine, Parents Magazine, the New York Times, Westchester Magazine, WorkingMother.com, and NextAvenue.com. Barbara also teaches writing at the Sarah Lawrence Writing Institute and other venues, and is the founder and coordinator of the Scarsdale Library Writers Center, which supports and promotes local writers. She and her husband have three adult children and an indefatigable shih-poo named Mosley, and she is currently at work on her third novel, which is scheduled for release this fall.

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14 responses to “?Review: The Lily Garden by Barbara Josselsohn

  1. I’m not sure if this one would be a good fit for me, but I’m happy you enjoyed it! I really struggle with books that end without enough closure. I don’t want there to be loose ends when I turn the last page. That’s what epilogues are for!!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? ?