In the heart of bustling modern Dublin is a littered, overgrown garden of tangled weeds and a stagnant, hidden pond. Belonging to an iron-willed elderly lady named Mrs. Prendergast, who is rumored to have murdered and buried her husband there, the garden draws Eva Madigan, a young mother struggling to move on from the pain of her past. Eva is joined by Emily, a beautiful but withdrawn college dropout; Uri, an old-world immigrant; Seth, his all-too-handsome son; and occasionally even Mrs. Prendergast herself. But what drives Eva to transform the neglected urban wilderness? What makes the others want to help her? Even as Mrs. Prendergast puts the land up for sale, the thorny lives of all the gardeners are revealed and slowly start to untangle. Overgrown secrets are dug up and shared. Choices are made; a little pruning is in order. Now Eva is about to discover that every garden is a story of growth toward a final harvest. . . .
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IT WAS A sunny, Saturday morning of freedom. The sky shone ice blue. Liam skipped alongside Eva, his entire body grinning up at her. She looked back down at her son, crimson scarf wrapped several times around his scrawny, little neck, and couldn’t help but smile. It was that kind of day and Liam was that kind of boy. His childish antennae seemed to be tuning in to her newfound sense of optimism. It felt good, this feeling. The first time she’d felt it in she didn’t know how long. Certainly not since moving to Dublin.
The move had been tougher than she would ever have anticipated or would ever admit. She put on the bright...see more
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Reading Group Guide
In Irish author Tara Heavey’s first novel to be published in the United States, Eva, a widowed young mother, finds love, friendship, and a sense of family when she starts a community garden in the walled-up plot of a mysterious Dublin mansion. Reluctant at first to open her
home to strangers, lonely old Mrs. Prendergrast eventually warms up to the idea of allowing Eva and a crew of similarly world-weary volunteers to rake, hoe, and sow her decaying garden and help bring it back to life. There’s Uri, an older Jewish man with a complicated past, and his recently divorced son, Seth, as well as Emily, a quiet college-age girl with something to hide. As each gardener tends to his or her plot of land, secrets are slowly revealed and the past is finally brought to bear.
TOPICS AND QUESTIONS FOR DISCUSSION
1. Eva serves as the central character around with whom the rest of the characters revolve. What is it about Eva that draws people to her? Why were so many other people willing to put their fait see more