Author: Jane Kirkpatrick
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: Water Brook
Based on the life of Hulda Klager, Where Lilacs Still Bloom tells the story of a woman with a passion for plants of all kinds - particularly lilacs. Her passion leads her to a fascination with hybridizing and selectively pollinating to improve the flowers and share their beauty with others.
While the scientific aspect of the book was both interesting and entertaining (people had some crazy ideas in the early 1900s, and I loved the author's portrayal of social concerns revolving around scientific issues), the rest of the story was somewhat... well, lacking.
The main character, Hulda, frequently keeps things from her husband who doesn't share her all-consuming passion for plants and doesn't always approve 100% of it. That really bothered me. That, and the way her gardening and hybridizing projects always seem to take equal or even greater precedence over her family. Everything that happens gets twisted around into an opportunity/excuse to work more in her garden, and I often felt like the garden mattered more to her than her family did.
On top of all that, the storyline itself was somewhat depressing. I really can't be more specific than that without giving something important away. I understand that it's based on a true story and all, but still, I like reading books that leave me feeling refreshed and uplifted at the end... not tired and depressed.
All in all, Where Lilacs Still Bloom, while providing a great peek into science's past, wasn't really a book I would want to read again.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for my review. A favorable review is not required; my opinions are my own.