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Fresh Water for Flowers: OVER 1 MILLION COPIES SOLD

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Her missing husband Phillipe, his miserably mean spirited mother and father, her dearest friends Celia and Sasha, one of my favorite characters, the former caretaker of the cemetery who makes her laugh. An unforgettable story of love and loss told through the life of a woman who believes obstinately in happiness. After working as a newspaper subeditor in London for many years, she obtained the Chartered Institute of Linguists Diploma in Translation. Grief, regret, love, loss and tragedy are very much central to this story as Violette’s past slowly unravels. Valerie Perrin begins her story when Violette is the caretaker at a small graveyard in Bourgogne, a tiny French village.

Violette's co-workers are a colorful bunch, and we read about clumsy Gaston falling into an open grave; Elvis singing his namesake's songs; handsome Father Duras inspiring ladies to come to church; reliable Nono helping out when Violette is away; the undertakers fretting when business is bad; and more. She is the translator of A Winter’s Promise and The Missing of Clairdelune, atmospheric, absorbing tale. A lot is going on as themes are explored and sometimes feel like they are quietly weaved together and then become busy with the various narratives and plot strands. I read a number of really positive and glowing reviews from GR friends and a few IRL friends (all women) adored this one too.

Valerie Perrin’s delightful Fresh Water for Flowers is a funny and moving story of one woman’s belief that everything will turn out right. My official start to summer reading has begun, and I am looking forward to a summer of reading, drinking, and enjoying the weather. The very definition of the Peter Pan complex, he is ten years older than Violette, who lied about her age so she could work at the bar where they meet. A deserved international sensation, Fresh Water for Flowers is a book that raises many questions about the living and the dead, about the past and the secrets buried.

Per certi versi l'ho trovato somigliante alle "Ninfee Nere" di Bussi, forse proprio per la struttura e le modalità in cui è costruito. There’s something stronger than death, and that the presence of those absent in the memory of the living”. Violette is a great observer of human fragility and relationships with enormous empathy towards those she encounters.

So far, it doesn’t seem like much of a story but it is so lyrical, so touching, so sad and so rewarding. Her novel The Forgotten Sunday (2015) won the Booksellers Choice Award and the paperback edition has been long-selling best-seller since publication. Every chapter begins with what I saw as epigraphs, but which are referred to in the discussion questions at the end of the novel as “epitaphs,” which surprised me and then made perfect sense, even though many of them are not quite the kind of thing you’d actually carve on a tombstone. Interspersed are journal entries of Julien's mother, Irene Fayolle, and her illicit life long love affair with Gabriel. There are some unexpected twists and turns as the story follows the caretaker’s life before and during her time tending flowers amongst the tombstones.

However difficult her life may be, Violette is always drawn to the warmth and the light, those eternal forces that give her optimism and a will to survive. Her daily life is lived to the rhythms of the hilarious and touching confidences of random visitors and her colleagues.Gardening as a therapy, food and wine for comfort, friendships that can save lives, and more importantly, that can bring you back to life when you have lost all hope.

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