Cover Image: All the Pretty Places

All the Pretty Places

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Member Reviews

My most favorite thing about All the Pretty Places is that it is based on the author's great-great grandmother. At the acknowledgements at the end, the author shares alot of information about her family history and the garden business that they built. The author also included a couple of pictures of the real people that inspired the characters in the book. I'm a sucker for historical photos. I LOVED it. Learning this information probably changed my rating from a 3 to 4 star. I mean...what a beautiful way to honor and remember your family history. 

All the Pretty Places is a classic rated G, historical romance. I really enjoyed the way the author described all of the things about the setting of the Gilded Age. The fashion, society, gardens, etc. It was visually entertaining for me since I'm a fan of this time period. Another interesting theme was unequal social and economic conditions for people living during that time. This included the idea of access to basic necessities in life, such as clean air, decent housing, and safe job environments. The book also introduced me to eye opening history of the development of public parks for communities. It's a part of history that I've never read about before, so that was exciting and inspired me to seek out additional resources to learn more about it. I love when that happens with historical fiction!  

My two small criticisms are that there were the times that dialogue between characters felt repetitive. More specifically dealing with the romance between two different social classes and Sadie's desire to take over the family business. This repetition made parts of the book feel melodramatic. Some readers may like that extra drama, but it was a downside for me. 

Overall, I had a good time reading the book and am looking forward to seeing more titles published by Harper Muse.
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Sadie’s passion is the family nursery.  Her father wants hand it over to either son, but they do not want it.  In 1893, in the small town of Rye, New York it is unthinkable for a woman to run a business.  Her father is focused on finding a suitable husband who can take care of her especially since the economy is in a downturn.  Sam is a gardener that Sadie has worked with and created wonderful plants and gardens in the city.  Their love is tied to a love of plants as well as each other.  Sam is not a suitable husband for Sadie but she has refused everyone else.  I loved this book.  The time period was interesting regarding the wealthy and the poor as well as the role of women.  Sadie’s father was a wonderful employer, and the dedication of his employees was touching.  Sadie and Sam want those who are poor to have hope in the flowers just like the wealthy clients.  The discussion of the importance of flowers, bushes, and parks was done so well.  This is a great story with wonderful characters.  It was well-researched to give the reader a sense of the culture during the Gilded Age.
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Sadie is the main character in this book and she wants nothing more than to run her family's greenhouses, however, being a woman at this time she is expected to marry and settle down.  She helps her family and those her family employs in the business but her father refuses to let her take it over.  Her Father would much rather her make a good match in marriage.  Sadie, however, has another love interest, but alas he is not up to her family's expectations.  I won't give much more away because there is much drama that goes on in this family, their quest for a match for Sadie and of course how to keep their greenhouse business afloat and succeed even during trying times.
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Lush in every sense!   I loved Joy Callaway’s richly imagined, gorgeously written and expertly researched All the Pretty Places.  Set primarily at a family-owned plant nursery in Rye, New York in 1893, Callaway vividly portrays the sumptuous environ at the nursery and in the beautiful gardens it furnishes, as well as the contrasting squalor of Lower Manhattan and areas of Rye in which those less fortunate reside.  Callaway also conveys ever so colorfully the passions of protagonist Sadie Fremd for plants, her family, and the extended community of workers cultivated at the nursery, as well as her strongly held belief that those among us who are impoverished or otherwise leading hardscrabble lives are equally deserving - and perhaps even more wanting - of beauty and respect.   Lovable, relatable, compassionate Sadie has gumption, sass and strength in spades.  She longs to succeed her father at the helm of their nursery business, to express her creativity through landscape design, and to wed the nursery worker she adores.  Yet the friction between those aspirations, her perceived duties to her family and their employees, and societal expectations of a well-bred Gilded Age young woman, is palpable.  Sadie’s odyssey makes for a fascinating story, well told.

The author’s note reveals the extent to which Callaway’s ancestors inspired this story, which is alone quite interesting, and I much appreciated those details. 

This is a gem of a novel.  Highly recommended!

Many thanks to NetGalley and Harper Muse for a complimentary ARC.  Opinions are my own.
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This title has been sitting on my NetGalley shelf for a minute, which normally never happens, and I’m glad I waited to be in the mood for it. I don’t usually reach for this particular niche of historical fiction so I wasn’t sure how I’d like it, and I ended up loving it.

Right out the gate I enjoyed the setup of the Rye/NY society, the Fremds, the love interests/marriage prospects, the nurseries. I was rooting for Sadie through and through and the way the plot unfolded was so satisfying. It took me longer than usual to read a book this size but looking back, all the details were so purposeful in painting the bigger picture, mirroring characters and events, I really can’t complain.

The dialogue was fantastic. Especially the conversations between Sadie and all the high society characters, those seem so easy to make boring and exhausting to get through, but they were done just right. Sadie’s conflict between having to get married and her ambition to inherit the nurseries she’s so passionate about, all with the dash of forbidden love was just *chef’s kiss*.

The one thing that caught me by surprise was the overarching conversation on class, poverty, homelessness, really just human misery caused by industrialism and capitalism at the time. Ultimately I was happy with how it all unfolded, but the way it all started made it seem like Sadie just had the romantic notion that upon seeing some flowers, people would be magically lifted out of the slums and poverty. As more details got revealed though, of the way the Fremds cared for their employees, Sadie’s growing disappointment in their peers, there came more nuance. I hadn’t known that public parks weren’t really for the entire public to enjoy, but just the upper class, and Sadie and Sam’s fight to give people fresh air and beauty was admirable.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harper Muse for providing this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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All The Pretty Places is a beautiful story of a young woman who is fighting many social prejudices of her time. Sadie Fremd loves to help in her fathers botanical business, she longs to take a larger part in the business but is faced with difficulty of the social norms of her time. I enjoyed this story so much. Sadie is a young woman who chooses to follow her own path rather than comply with the other woman around her. I loved the characters and the story line. Sadie's story was unique and well written. I got sucked in and felt as though I was right there with the characters. I would recommend this book to any friends and family.
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I thought the cover of this book was beautiful and it did justice  to the content. Although I love flowers and gardens, this book didn’t grab me as I expected it to, based on all the five-star reviews given by other advance readers. I liked it well enough to finish, but can’t say I loved it.

In age in which women were expected to marry for money and/or to help fill family coffers, our main character was certainly an anomaly. I did enjoy the final outcome.

I also especially enjoyed reading the Author’s Note, and learning of her true family connections to this story!
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I thoroughly enjoyed this historical fiction novel that takes place at the turn of the century in Rye, NY - outside the Gilded upper crust's mansions in New York City. The overarching story centers on Sadie Fremd as she seeks to assume the helm of her family's business, Rye Nurseries, over her father's vehement objections. Beyond her father's traditional desires for Sadie to "marry well" lies Sadie's clandestine love interest - an employee of the business,  Forbidden love plays a larger role in this story, as does the detailed appreciation for horticulture and gardens - and the history of parks (ie Central Park) and who such public spaces were initially versus ultimately intended for.  Reading the Author's Note at the end was the icing on the cake - learning how much of this story was based on Ms. Callaway's family - with many of the key characters representing her own family tree. Beauty, romance, history and a dose of feminist ambition make for an enjoyable read. Thanks to NG and HarperMuse for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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"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:
gilded age 
clean romance
inspirational stories 

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.
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Solid historical fiction. Very well written, great pacing, historically accurate, and  characters I came to care about. Great read for historical fiction lovers.
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Thank you to HarperMuse and Netgalley for this ARC. I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

I was curious about this book when I read the description. I haven't read a lot of Gilded Age novels and I was looking forward to learning more about that time in history.

My biggest complaint about this ARC was the fact that on almost every page there is a huge HarperMuse logo - when you read on the kindle app on your phone it takes up a great deal of page space, interrupts words, and is generally very distracting. This really impacted my enjoyment of the story and was very disrupting.

I found the opening chapter a little confusing but once I got into the story a bit more things fell into place. I liked the concept of creating beautiful natural spaces for all to enjoy and did not know that places like Central Park were limited to "high society" initially. I wish there had been some sketches of the plants mentioned! I looked up a few just to get a sense of what was described.

The description of the book does not mention at all the love story included in this book, which ends up being a major element of the novel. I'm ok with love stories; just was not expecting it.

The story was a bit predictable, but I was eager to see how it all worked out. I was a little disappointed at how easily everything was all wrapped up.

This was a fairly quick read, interesting and light. Not sure it's for everyone, but if you're into non steamy historical fiction romances, the Gilded Age, and/or gardens check it out.
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'When you sow love, you grow joy.'

This is a love story set in the opulence of the Gilded Age. A love between a couple, a love of community, a love of heritage, and a love of natural beauty. 

Sadie Fremd is the daughter of migrant parents who worked hard to create an enormously successful nursery and landscaping business.  She has inherited her father's passion for nature and landscaping, and she wants nothing more than to carry on the Fremd garden legacy.  When her brothers make it clear they want no part of running the business and move on to other endeavours, Sadie sees her chance to prove herself.  As the fallout from the 1890 stock market crash reaches the rural town of Rye, social dynamics begin to change and show around town.  Sadie begins to see that her life up until now has been, 'largely driven by selfishness meant to appease my ambition and happiness alone.' Instead, she realises that her passion for plants is a simple way to bring joy and hope back to her community and some humanity back into people's lives, 'a true balm to the mind.'

Joy Callaway has based this book upon her own ancestors' experiences and history.  Consequently, she easily imparts the reality of that time, highlighting the close-mindedness and small-town, rural prejudices.  Callaway's detail on historical landscaping and plants is imbued in Sadie's character.  All in all, this is a great historical read and is an ever-timely reminder that simple kindness can have a real impact on people, communities, and humanity.

Thank you NetGalley and Harper Muse for the opportunity to read and review this book.
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The concept of bringing beauty to people who don’t have access to it, is such a fantastic subject. There’s something so insightful and incredible that God loved creativity for creativity’s sake, and gives us things like flowers and nature, sometimes for no other reason than for the sake of beauty in our lives. The mental reprieve it gives those in stressful or unthinkable circumstances I think is so inspiring and thought provoking. There is so much more to us than material need and practical things. Sometimes the impractical has as much impact as the practical. Art, beauty, nature. It’s easily overlooked and yet he spent so much time orchestrating it for us. 

The concepts of generosity for no intended return was also beautiful and emotional. So important and inspiring. 

I loved the pieces of history in Rye, NY, as I’ve been thru there on the way to NYC. And I loved that this is based on the authors real family story. 

Some of Sadie’s naïveté felt a little overdone and redundant at times. How she was constantly deluded enough that her father would defy all societal notion and give the nursery to her willingly despite his constant voicing to the contrary. The flip flop of her father after the storm when she did what he asked her and he felt terrible, felt disingenuous and didn’t make sense also. Those were my only real objections for the storyline but enough that it diminished the concept a little for me as a story. Otherwise I absolutely loved the concept of nature, beauty and generosity. 

Thanks to Netgalley for the advanced copy of this book. All opinions are mine.
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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.
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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!
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I thoroughly enjoyed the interaction between the well off Family Fremd and their workers and I loved learning about the nursery and well off families enjoyed their gardens. I liked how close the family is to one another.

I did find the main character, Sadie Fremd, to be a little self centered and vain at the beginning of the story, who wanted what she wanted no matter what and it's not until she sees how factory workers lived in the 1890's that changes her focus to what she thinks really matters and it takes her courage and self sacrifice to get to that goal. There are a lot of difficulties that Sadie needs to tackle (being a woman, not wanting to marry men she doesn't love and marry the man she does) and understand (finance, business side of the nursery) in order to achieve her goals.

I found myself enjoying the parts of the story that included the actual gardens, the father's history, the nursery workers lives and the brothers love for the family more interesting then Sadie's plot. I just found Sadie's part a little naive.

It was worth reading the story to get a glimpse of life in the 1890's and to learn how parks for regular people started.

I want to thank Harper Muse and NetGalley for an advance copy of this story.
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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.
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Wonderful read my heart went out to Sadie as she struggled against a male dominated world of horticulture.I loved joy Calloway’s book Grand Design and I felt the same about AllThe Pretty Places.#netgalley #harpermuse
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Joy Callaway's "The Grand Design" was my favorite book last year and when I learned about All the Pretty Places, I was super excited for a new story!

All Sadie Fremd wants to do in life is take over her family's greenhouses and nursery and marry for love, not advantage.  All Sadie's dad wants is to honor his promise to his dying wife to have Sadie marry for advantage and safety.  So of course, they're going to butt heads.  Sadie goes about trying to keep their nursery in business by visiting their neighbors and suggesting redesigns to their gardens, while fending off two exuberant suitors.   Which was going fine, until a tornado takes out their business and the town is starting to fail.  

The author's note at the end is fabulous and be sure to read it!

Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for a temporary, digital ARC in return for my review.
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I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."

A lovely book to read. The story and plotline were fantastic. The passion Sadie, the protagonist had for horticulture and the struggles she had to endure while living in a male dominated society was shown really well. Overall this turned out to be an inspiring and warm tale.
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