All the Pretty Places
A Novel of the Gilded Age
by Joy Callaway
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Pub Date 09 May 2023 | Archive Date 09 Jun 2023
“A timeless and powerful novel of a daring woman who must decide if she will risk everything to follow her passion and find her voice.” —Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author
From the moment she was born, the transforming beauty of her family’s nurseries has arrested her heart. From the moment she knew love, her heart belonged with his. Now she’s at risk of losing them both.
Rye, New York, 1893. Sadie Fremd’s dreams hinge on her family’s nursery, which has been the supplier of choice for respected landscape architects on the East Coast for decades. Now her small town is in a panic as the economy plummets into a depression, and Sadie’s father is pressuring her to secure her future by marrying a wealthy man among her peerage—but Sadie has never been one to play it safe. Besides, her heart is already spoken for.
Rather than seek potential suitors, Sadie pursues new business from her father’s most reliable and wealthy clients of the Gilded Age in an attempt to bolster the floundering nursery. But the more time Sadie spends in the secluded gardens of the elite, the more she notices the hopelessness in the eyes of those outside the mansions. The poor, the grieving, the weary. The people with no access to the restorative beauty of nature.
Sadie has always wanted her father to pass his business to her instead of to one of her brothers, but he seems oblivious to her desire and talent—and now to her passion for providing natural beauty to those who can’t afford it. When former employee, Sam, shows up unexpectedly, Sadie wonders if their love can be rekindled or if his presence will simply be another reminder of a life she longs for and cannot have.
Joy Callaway illuminates the life of her great-great-grandmother in this captivating story about a daring woman following her passion and finding her voice, while exploring natural beauty and its effect in the lives of those who need it most.
- Historical Gilded Age novel about an early American landscape nursery
- Stand-alone novel
- Also by Joy Callaway: The Grand Design, The Fifth Avenue Artists Society, and Secret Sisters
- Includes discussion questions for book clubs
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 82 members
It is always amazing that parents and others in society expect ladies to marry without love. What is important only is the man's fortune. Love might come along later. If it does not, so be it. Sadie plans to marry not out of convenience but for passionate love while being a strong business woman in the world of Horticulture and Architecture. These prejudicial views can lead family, friends and employees into living a lie. Covered in secrets life does not meet the level of successful happiness the reader would have hoped to see.
If riches are lost, there is always the life of the poverty stricken person. One man cries after the loss of his career and his wife. He stops at the Friends' estate to look at their gardens. It is the way he copes nowadays until his ship of normalcy comes in again.The families see their marketing occupations as occupying not just a corner of their mind. Work takes up their whole mind because it is the legacy they offer their children. It is their personal globe of the world.
Joy Callaway personalizes the status and thoughts of the wealthy who appear on the society pages.Rich today, poor tomorrow and the doors of friends are shut in your face. It is a harsh truth to read about a woman being treated not like grownups but as children. Instead of allowing women to broaden their pursuits, they narrow a female's future and their dreams. It is an entertaining novel. We see double think: the true woman's view of life is segregated and smothered.
All the Pretty Places: A Novel of the Gilded Age by Joy Callaway is historical fiction that takes us into the beautiful and fascinating world of gardening and horticulture, during the Gilded Age in New York. (My favorite).
I was amazed to read about how this story was based on the author’s ancestors in Rye, New York.
I really enjoyed this book. The characters came alive for me. This is a story woven around real historical facts and people. Adding real events always makes for a wonderful story.
We meet Sadie. She’s a lovable character, driven and hard working. She is determined to get her father’s attention to take over the family business when her two brothers leave town to go out into the world on their own.
The family nursery business has collected flora and fauna from around the world and everyone that lives in the area buys their plants from them. It’s a tremendous feat. Sadie wants nothing more than to take over the business but her father has told her she must find a husband by the end of the year. Her heart actually belongs to someone else, other than the boring wealthy suitors that have been paraded before her.
She holds onto her dreams while making a difference.
I always love the Author’s note at the end of a book. We find out a little about Joy Callaway's family history and how it ties to this story.
I enjoyed this book so much. I will be highly recommending it.
Thank you to the Publisher and NetGalley for an advanced reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review.
I thought this was a cool and an interesting read for me. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I learned some new things about plants, flowers and gardening.
My favorite thing tho was to find out about the forbidden love and why it was so.
This book will NOT let you put it down until you've read the entire story. It's so worth it!
Her father however I didn't care for but yet at the same time I could see his reasons. He wanted what was best for his family in such perilous times.
It's sad that sometimes we can go out of our way to try and prove or please other people but they don't want to see it.
5 stars for taking my imagination to far away places that I didn't want to come back.
I highly recommend!
My thanks for a copy of this book. I was NOT required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.
The cover is absolutely gorgeous and it makes me want to jump into it.
I really enjoyed Joy Callaway's previous novel about the Greenbriar Resort and knew immediately how much I would enjoy this one. It's a breath of fresh air! Such vivid descriptions that I could practically smell the flowers in my living room. We need more beautiful stories like this!
Joy Callaway does such a great job at inviting the reader into the story world, and ALL THE PRETTY PLACES provides another example of this. Immediately we are sympathetic to Sadie and her quest to further her horticulture career at a time when women are expected to focus on finding a husband. The romance angle with Sam draws the reader in further as Sadie's past decisions implicate her present. The economic climate and the possibility of Sadie's family running out of money adds an additional layer of tension and intrigue.
I especially enjoyed the evocation of the Gilded Age time period and the settings in Rye & NY. Sadie's desire to share nature with everyone regardless of social class is to be commended.
A winner for fans of historical fiction, this would be wonderful for bookclubs.
If you love historical fiction with a little bit of forbidden romance this book is for you! Sadie is strong minded and meets her match going head to head with her German father to purse her hopes and dreams instead of becoming another woman of society. An excellent read, I could not put down. I was also surprised to find that the book is based on the Authors family history! Love that!
The only thing I may add, none to which the authors fault. The Harper Muse branding on every, single, page, and lack of actual chapter formatting was very distracting as a reader. Obviously it will not be in the finished copy but still it was far too much even for an ARC.
"Now it’s our turn to carry on their legacy, to bloom, to bear evidence of miracles to a hurting world."
This book was a combination of two of my favorite things, the Gilded Age and plants! This was my very first Joy Callaway story. I was initially drawn in by the gorgeous cover, and this definitely won't be my last Joy Callaway story. I was completely enchanted by All the Pretty Places. The story is based on Joy Callaway's own family history in rural Rye, New York. That's pretty cool!
The story is set during a time when ladies of the social elite were expected to bear children and host parties, not take over the helm of the family business. However this is exactly what Sadie Fremd sets out to do. She has no desire to adhere to the social norms, especially when they go against her hearts deepest desires.
The romance in this story is so bittersweet, teetering between hope and loss. I was never quite sure how it was going to end, or whether my heart was going to end up broken along with Sadie's.
There were so many things I liked about this story:
• The vivid descriptions of the landscapes allowed me to easily picture them
• The Easter message told through the colored tulips - this was new to me and I liked the symbolism
• The message of putting the happiness of others before your own
• How even the smallest act of kindness can profoundly affect another person
Read All the Pretty Places if you like:
I am so happy to have discovered a new author to add to my reading repertoire! I've been hearing great things about her previous book,The Grand Design. I'm adding it to my list, is it on yours?
Thank you Joy Callaway, Harper Muse and Net Galley for the complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed here are my own.
Solid historical fiction. Very well written, great pacing, historically accurate, and characters I came to care about. Great read for historical fiction lovers.
I wish to thank NetGalley and Harper Muse for allowing me to read an advanced copy of this book. I have voluntarily read and reviewed it. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This is a fun book to read and I highly recommend it. Sadie is a young woman growing up in the Gilded Age in Rye, New York. Her father is a horticulturist. He designs and oversees the plantings of the gardens of the rich and famous. Sadie longs to take over when he retires but he thinks one of her brothers should take over at that time. Neither brother has any interest in doing so. With the depression the business is struggling as the wealthy no longer have the money available for such endeavors. Her father feels she should marry well and he keeps promoting various suitors. She loves plants and does not want to marry for anything but true love. The characters are all fun to read about and the descriptions of the plants are amazing. This book fires on all cylinders for this reader and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I did.
I became a fan of Joy Callaway after reading her previous book The Grand Design. I look forward to her next book with eager anticipation.
What a beautiful book, beautifully brought to life. Joy Callaway gives us a main character facing an impossible situation in both love and in her place in the world, then weaves a story I didn't want to put down until I reached the conclusion. Highly recommend!
A stellar Historical novel that is based on the author's own family history.
With impeccable story telling we are in the midst of the gilded age, New York City. Picture the towering hotels such as the Plaza, take in the smells of the restaurants lining the Upper East Side. And what do all of these locations still have in common? Flowers. Flowers adorn the tables, the stairs, the lamps, the entrances, everywhere, the sweet scent of fresh blooms. Flowers that have to come from somewhere.
Sadie has grown up in the society her family's business caters too. It is only natural she sees herself as part of society and not just a cog in the machine of pomp and circumstance. Cementing a suitor in the upper crust will take her even further.
All while trying to convince her father, that as a woman, she can and wants to take over the family's greenhouse enterprises.
The author could have glazed over details of botany and horticulture, but she doesn't and it makes the novel grossly enriching to all the senses.
All The Pretty Places is more than just a pretty cover.
What a beautiful story based on family stories and history from Joy. I loved this story of a strong woman who did not want to conform to the "norm" in the late 1800s high society. Wonderful characters, wonderful story and beautiful writing!!!
Sadie captured my heart from the first page and I loved her story so much. Do not miss the author notes AFTER you finish the book...amazing!!!
This was my first book by Joy Callaway and will not be my last. In fact I feel the urge to binge her backlist!
With lyrical prose that sucks you in and a love story that endears you to the characters throughout you cannot help but get sucked into this story.
I do believe I will need to read Sadie and Sam's story many times over.
I absolutely adored this gem of a novel. I love Edith Wharton and her books, so it was a real treat for me to read about this time period.
Sadie Fremd is an independent, strong-minded young heiress who is resisting her father’s demands that she marry a man of her own class.
Determined to make her own life decisions, Sadie has to choose between an easy life or the challenging potential dangers of going her own way.
I loved how this book emphasizes community, friendship, and family,
I will be recommending it to my podcast listeners. A podcast episode featuring this novel will be released on our around this book’s publication date.
Link to podcast: https://open.spotify.com/show/6d2Y4FA6LRS0LxFHh9L8Z2?si=Z1GFNEsqS0G4EHXXwu89TQ
ALL THE PRETTY PLACES by JOY CALLAWAY is a really deightful novel that takes place in Rye New York in 1893. It is based on the lives of some of the author’s ancestors.
It is the story of “all the pretty places” landscaped and planted by the Fremd family of Rye Nurseries. The descriptions of the plants and flowers is so realistic that one can almost see and smell them!
Sadie Fremd’s obsessive love of plants and her desire to run the nursery on her father’s retirement make her different from the other young ladies in society. Her father’s refusal to allow her to take over the nursery, and his deterination that she marry one of her wealthy suitors, make her very unhappy, especially as she is in love with Sam Jenkins who works with her at the nursery.
When her father finds out that Sadie and Sam are responsible for the anonymous planting of little gardens to bring some joy into the lives of people in the direst of circumstances, things reach a head…….
I like the way Sadie cares for the poor and wants to bring the joy of flowers into their lives. I like to see her courage and deterrmination and her willingness to sacrifice for those she loves.
I am not going to tell you any more for fear of spoiling things for you.
I highly recoend this lovely book for the great story, unforgettable characters and subtle Christian message runnng through it.
I was given a free copy of the book by NetGalley from Harper Muse. The opinions in this review are completely my own.
All the Pretty Places: A Novel of the Gilded Age by Joy Callaway is a wonderful historical fiction and romance that takes us into the beautiful and fascinating worlds of gardening, horticulture, and the joy that it can bring to everyone in the infamous Gilded Age of New York.
I really enjoyed the author’s previous book, The Grand Design, so I was excited to read this one as well.
I love gardening, plants, and the peace, happiness, and health that it brings to oneself, so I was enthralled to read about how this was based on a true story involving the author’s ancestors in Rye, NY.
I loved everything about the book. The inspired character cast, the inclusion of real events, places, and times, the fictional narrative attached…but most of all…I loved the descriptions and pages of plants, flowers, landscapes, architecture, and the satisfying ending. The positive message was also very uplifting and needed.
The author’s note explaining her inspirations and relatives really added to my reading experience.
Thank you NG and Harper Muse for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication on 5/9/23.
This talented and gifted author has written a cannot put down novel of times past. The characters are dynamic and keep the story moving quickly. The images of the times, the people, the nurseries, the events…this is a fantastic story. I felt as if I was living in that era…the Gilded Age. Even the title matches the plot. This book was sent to me electronically by Netgalley for review. Thanks to the publisher and author. Curl up on a comfy chair by the fire and be transported.
There is nothing like sinking my hands in the dirt and planting flowers. Like the author’s heritage, my grandmother was a keen gardener and I inherited some of her genes.
I loved all the flowers described and could see their brilliant colors in my mind.
I was heartsick for most of the book, thinking there was no solution, but at the last second there is, literally, a holy grail moment.
It’s a rich read and I love how Calloway used her family history to frame the story.
This is a wonder of a histfic tale, with a brave female MC unafraid to go after what she wants during the Gilded Age ... whether running the family nursery business or falling in love with a man not approved by her father. It is based on the life of the author's great-great-grandmother.
The writing captivates, the characters are deftly developed, the descriptions of gardens and flowers and romance make one fall headlong into ALL THE PRETTY PLACES:
"Though life was difficult at times, nature was perpetually hopeful. I'd always taken refuge among the green-some of my earliest memories were of running to my father with fists full of wild roses and dandelions."
"Despite Jonathan's humor and wit and Stephen's beautiful face and Harry Brundage's deep pockets, I couldn't fathom marriage to any of them. It wasn't only about the nurseries. It was also about a pair of ocean-blue eyes in the moonlight; strong, work-worn hands on my waist; the feel of midnight hair threading through my fingers; the way he saw my soul laid bare."
Highly recommended for fans of historical fiction, lush romance, strong female characters, and stories that won't let you go. I loved it!
I had the genuine pleasure of speaking with the author one sunny afternoon and yes she was a joy! She has the magical ability to take a place, a time and topic and wrap each in exquisite detail it’s as if you were there. The Grand Design was the first I read of hers and it inspired me to add All the Pretty Places to my wish list! What a treat! She gives us the glamour of the Gilded Age yet also shows those who lived amongst the entitled yet had little access to even the outside beauty of nature. Inside info: the story is inspired by her own great great grandmother who I have no doubt is very proud of this descendant.
Joy Callaway’s All the Pretty Places transports readers to the Gilded Age of extravagant Fifth Avenue, New York mansions surrounded by elaborately landscaped gardens and terraces overflowing with palms, roses, peonies, and lilacs. The setting is Charlie Fremd’s Rye Nurseries, famous on the East Coast for rare and exotic plants but as the result of an economic downturn known as the Panic of 1893, his nursery is in peril. Main character Sadie Fremd is Charlie’s 22-year-old daughter, whose love and lifelong study of horticulture has prepared her to take over the nurseries when he retires. At the center of the family business crisis is that neither of Sadie’s brothers is interested in running the nurseries. The oldest son Charlie Jr., an adventurer, has been lured to Florida to design gardens for Hotel Royal Poinciana, and younger Freddie has gone to Chicago to follow political aspirations. Sadie’s father does not see her as a viable successor, believing “men should be about men’s work,” and she should be about getting married.
Meanwhile, Sadie develops her own strategies to save the family business. Stubborn and loyal, she rejects the debutante’s duty to marry and refuses several matches. Her heart belongs to Sam, a nursery worker who shares her love of horticulture, but left the area after a heartbreaking decision. Readers will cheer Sadie on as she boldly confronts and rebuffs suitors her father continues to present. Anger literally seeps through the prose as he issues an ultimatum for her to marry or be sent to family in Germany until she consents.
Callaway creates emotional and familial conflict as true love, Sam, returns to Rye Nurseries. After life-changing experiences and much soul-searching Sadie confronts the fact that a mere five miles from the 5th Avenue mansions are tenements reeking of garbage and sewage. The vivid descriptions of the sights and smells capture the vast contradictions in the lifestyle and beauty surrounding the privileged as exquisite gardens and greenhouses bring their owners and readers a quiet, calming peace. But Sadie empathizes with those in the tenements dying of hopelessness. Don’t they deserve to appreciate the beauty of gardens in public parks?
The revelation that gardens and parks are a beacon of hope for everyone blooms verdantly in the hearts of readers of All the Pretty Places.
this was based on the authors great great grandmother. very interesting read. if you like historical fiction you will love this book.
I love novels about women who were / are gardeners / horticulturalists (professionally or personally) - add to it a historical timeline like the Gilded Age and a female protagonist taking the reins when men were doing so, and it's a recipe for for an unputdownable read.
Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Muse for providing me with a copy of this book for my review.
This book is set during the guilded age around 1873. The story is surrounded by horticulture, elaborate gardens, nature, public parks and flowers.
The story is about the Fremd family and is told from the point of Sadie a head strong women who knows and loves about the subjects just mentioned. Above. Her parents were immigrants from Germany who came here and lived in poor conditions. They fell in love and together moved to Rye NY north of Manhattan. Together built an extravagant nursery with exotic plants and designed and supplied the rich with gardens to appreciate and love.
Saddie's mom dies, but makes sure the father knows she must marry into the upper-class to be taken care of.
Sadie takes a train and sees how the unfortunate live. She wants to help them.. She wants to give a public garden in that it will give them hope. The nurseries are cared for by immigrants her father hired and provided them a home to live in and work. One such worker is Sam who Sadie has fallen deeply in love with and wants to marry. Even though her father has already picked two men to ask her to marry. He has no tolerance and will. send her to Germany.
The industrial collapse of 1893, caused much problems for the nurseries, sales were down. If that wasn't enough a tornado touched done on the nurseries and created devastation among the green houses.
Sadie is clearly caught between a Rock and a hard place! So what happens to her future? She is caught between getting married for love, fortune, or Germany. Where will she go to live and work? She loves the nursery and knows everything, but women during the guilded age, don't run a business!
Even though I do not know any of the above dealing with gardens and flowers, although I grow tomatoes and some spices like basil, I am awed about the breadth of knowledge written in the story about the topics.
However, that interestingly, did not deter me from reading and enjoying the story.
I think it is awesome that the author, gives credit to write about her own great great grandma, Sadie.
Everything I have ever read by Joy Callaway is always a treat and of the highest quality, and this book was no different. What sets her apart is her breathtaking prose, her excellent characterization, and the quality of her historical accuracy. Combine that with love, and nurseries/gardens during the gilded age and you are swept away yet glued to your seat! Absolutely wonderful and extremely original! I recommend all her books, but I believe this one is my favorite and her best yet! TEN STARS!