The Lily Garden by Barbara Josselsohn #chicklit #BookReview #BlogTour #20booksofsummer21

She held the letter that she had found in the garden, and noticed the distinctive curls of her father’s handwriting etched on the worn paper. Her life had already been turned upside down by one family secret, would his last words force her to leave her childhood home forever?

When Caroline left Lake Summers thirty years ago, she thought she’d never go back to the place where she lost her parents. But when she finds out that the town’s lily garden lovingly built by her mother is going to be destroyed, she knows fate is calling. Dropping everything at her office in Chicago, she knows she is the only person who can save the garden.

Caroline and her daughter Lee are welcomed home by the warm smile of her mother’s best friend Maxine, and piles of pancakes at her cozy little restaurant in town. And Caroline soon learns that she isn’t the only person invested in saving her mother’s legacy, when she meets handsome historian Aaron. As she gets to know him, strolling along the sparkling lakeshore, she can’t imagine anywhere else she’d rather be.

But then Caroline learns a terrible secret about the day her mother died. And soon the real reason Aaron is in Lake Summers comes to light. Will the truth about the people she loves force her to give up a future with Aaron, and the beautiful town that has always been in her heart?

An utterly uplifting and heart-warming story about forgiveness and family. Perfect for fans of Carolyn Brown, Debbie Macomber and Mary Alice Monroe.

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Lily Garden by Barbara Josselsohn is a heartwarming reminder of all that’s important in life.

The theme of family – how it’s carried on through generations, how the new generation wants to know where they came from, and who makes up a family – dominates the story from beginning to end. When the story opens, Maxine notifies Caroline that the town she was born and lived until she was twelve had decided to destroy her mother’s legacy of a town garden to expand the local library. She is devastated and returns, with her teenage daughter in tow, for the first time in many years to stop the town from destroying what her mother created.

Discovering the truth about her mother’s death, her father’s death, and the subsequent chain of events changes Caroline’s perception of what happened and broadens her concept of family. Can it change her life in more fulfilling ways? My eyes stayed glued to the page as she unearthed secret after secret until she finally knew the truth and could look back on her early years in a whole new light of complete understanding.

I felt inspired by the theme of following your heart and taking risks to find and experience those things in life that complete you and that you are passionate about – not just following the safe and secure path if that’s not where your heart lies. It’s so easy to do what others want you to do. There’s no fight, no conflict, but what if none of it stirs your passions and your heart. What kind of life will you live if you do not stay true to who you are?

Technically, this story is sublime. Full of well-developed characters that will take you back to your hometown with their relatability and a lake setting that is as beautiful as it is relatively cool temperature-wise. This story just gave me that feeling of a warm hug you get upon seeing family members for the first time in a long while.

If you are looking for an inspiring, heartwarming story for your summer reading, The Lily Garden is just what you are looking for in a novel.

Barbara Josselsohn is an award-winning writer who loves crafting stories about strong protagonists facing a fork in the road. Her novels include The Bluebell Girls, The Lilac House, The Last Dreamer, and her newest release, The Lily Garden. She has published hundreds of articles about family, home and relationships in national and regional publications, and also teaches novel writing at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York. She lives just north of New York City and enjoys escaping to the beach or the mountains whenever she can. Other than writing, her biggest passion is her family: her husband, her three kids, and her indefatigable shih-poo!

Visit her online at, @Barbara_Josselsohn_Author (Instagram), @BarbaraJoss (twitter) or

15 Replies to “The Lily Garden by Barbara Josselsohn #chicklit #BookReview #BlogTour #20booksofsummer21”

  1. This sounds excellent, Tessa. I’m a huge advocate not the ‘be who you are’ theme. Too many people are forced to live their lives for others and can’t truly follow their hearts. I love this. Adding ❤️ Lovely review as always!

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  2. This sounds like a nice read offering pleasant escapism. Loved your review, and am marking it as a candidate for my TBR. You know…that monstrosity that keeps mutating into something larger and larger 😉

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    1. Lol. I think I recognize it. It’s best friends with my mutating monster ❤️. This lovely story is a quick read being less than 300 pages, which is always a plus!

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  3. This sounds like a wonderful story, Tessa. I do like something heartwarming between all the battling and gore and monsters. Lol. And the theme of family and forgiveness is always a good one. Thanks for the review!

    Liked by 1 person

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