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When two estranged sisters reunite for their parents' 50th anniversary, a family tragedy brings unexpected lessons of hope and healing amid the flowers of their mother's perennial garden.
Eva--known to all as Lovey--grew up in Oxford, MS, surrounded by literary history and her mother's stunning perennial gardens. But a garden shed fire and the burns suffered by one of her best friends seemed to change everything. Her older sister Bitsy blamed her for the fire--and no one spoke up on her behalf. Bitsy the cheerleader, Bitsy the homecoming queen, Bitsy married to a wealthy investor. And all the while, Lovey blamed for everything that goes wrong.
At eighteen, Lovey turns down a marriage proposal, flees from Oxford and the expectations of attending Ole Miss, and instead goes to Arizona--the farthest thing from the South she can imagine. She becomes a successful advertising executive, a weekend yoga instructor, and seems to have it all together. But she's alone. And on her 45th birthday, she can't help but wonder what's wrong.
When she gets a call from her father--still known to everyone as Chief from his Ole Miss football days--insisting that she come home three weeks early for her parents' 50th wedding anniversary celebration, she's at wits end. She's about to close the biggest contract of her career, the one that will secure her financial goals and set her up for retirement. But his words, -Family First, - hit too close to home. Is there hope for her estranged relationship with Bitsy after all this time?
Eva's journey home, to the memory garden her father has planned as an anniversary surprise for her mother, becomes one of discovering roots, and truth, and love, and what living perennially in spite of disappointments and tragedy really means. Eva thought she wanted to leave her family and the South far behind . . . but she's realizing she hasn't truly been herself the whole time she's been gone.
Julie Cantrell, Author
Julie Cantrell is an award-winning New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling novelist whose work focuses on relationships, resilience, and faith. As a writer, speaker, TEDx presenter, and teacher, she aims to build empathy and connection while inspiring others to live their best life.
Julie served as editor-in-chief of the Southern Literary Review and has received the Mississippi Arts Commission Literary Arts Fellowship as well as the Rivendell Writer's Colony Mary Elizabeth Nelson Fellowship.
A certified speech-language pathologist (SLP), Julie is a literacy advocate who previously served on the board of her local literacy council. Dedicated to helping children overcome social, academic, and communication challenges, Julie has filled various gaps when called to serve her local public school system as an SLP, a reading interventionist, an ELL tutor, and a special education sub.
Julie also spent six years operating her family's sustainable farm where she tended organic crops while caring for a wide variety of furry and feathered friends. She is a certified naturalist who enjoys exploring this beautiful world. Additionally, she has operated a freelance writing business for almost twenty years.
Today, Julie writes fulltime from her home in Oxford, Mississippi. Perennials is her fourth novel.
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