The Green House
by Dan Lawton
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Pub Date 30 Jul 2020 | Archive Date 30 Nov 2020
The green house is more than a greenhouse.
Seven flowers, seven colors, seven meanings, and one 37-year-old secret--the green house is the keeper of it all. Its creator, Girard Remington, is a fragile elderly man whose life was shattered by a tragedy nearly four decades ago. And when tragedy strikes again--this time to his beloved wife, Miriam--he struggles to cope.
The pain of the two interwoven tragedies drives Girard to places of his psyche he desperately tries but is unable to escape. As the only place that offers him solace and tranquility, he turns to the green house as his savior from the regret and the agony and the heartache--and with it, he discovers the power behind it not even he knew existed. And if he listens closely enough, he may be offered the greatest miracle of all - hope for a second chance.
A Note From the Publisher
Dan's fourth novel, Plum Springs, won the 2019 New Hampshire Writers' Project Readers' Choice Award for Fiction. His first novel, Deception, was named one of the best thriller novels of 2017 by the Novel Writing Festival. Visit danlawtonfiction.com for all the ways to connect.
“A beautifully written story of love, loss, relationships, and pain, described with powerful imagery and hidden meanings.” –Sublime Book Review
"Dan Lawton has written a lovely mystery novel with THE GREEN HOUSE, about love, grief, and family secrets, packed with both surprises and poignant moments, along with a gorgeous crescendo." -IndieReader
“Beautiful, intriguing, and slightly haunting. I found myself not wanting the book to end.” -Joe Siple, award-winning author of The Five Wishes of Mr. Murray McBride
Average rating from 12 members
I chose to read The Green House because of the botanic references. But it turned out to be a lot more. This is a sad story (and some aspects of it are triggering for me), but it is also stunning. The characters were lifelike, and the twist was clever. The flowers will stay with me for a long time, and I'll be watching Dan Lawton from now on.
Lots of good reviews and some awards for this, and I can see why. I enjoyed it, and I'll let the other reviews provide more details about why to read this gem. Recommended.
Thanks very much for the review copy!!
What a beautiful read this is.
Girard is an elderly man, whose life clearly contains past tragedy - what that is is gradually revealed as the story unfolds.
Girard's life is one of routine, morning coffee with his wife Miriam, where he presents her each day with a flower from his green house - each day represented by a different flower. One day, Miriam is not there for coffee, she has disappeared.
As Girard struggles to cope, the green house becomes his sanctuary more than ever - the raw bare tangibility of his emotions as he digs, touches and lies in the soil is overwhelmingly poignant.
One day, an elderly man named Girard, finds the car gone and his wife missing. It's odd because his wife does not drive. The novel moves forward by telling readers about their lives together. Can Girard move on without his wife?
I found the mystery aspect of this novel engaging especially since it's not of the predictable variety. All of my guesses about what happened were wrong, and I'm not sure even Nancy Drew could have cracked this case. The suspense kept me invested so I managed to move through the details rather quickly. Even though there are flowers, it feels like a perfect fall/winter, moody weather, suspenseful book.
Another element that I loved were the parts about the Green House that held such an important part in the couple's hearts. The excerpts about the meanings behind the flowers gave me much to think about. These parts spoke to me about the growth that happens from mistakes and flaws. The complexities of the characters were peeled back at the perfect pace, so the reader can visualize the growth, and also maintain a certain amount of hope for the characters. It had me asking: Where would mankind be without hope?
The Greenhouse is a thought-provoking read, and I recommend it.
Source: Black Rose Writing via Netgalley gave me an Arc (e-copy) in exchange for a honest review. Thank you!
Thank you to Netgalley for providing this ARC for me to read and review.
I enjoyed The Green House a lot and would recommend it, with some trigger warnings: miscarriage and alcoholism.
The story itself was very touching and I felt connected to both Girard and his daughter Stacey. Anyone who has lost someone close to them will be able to identify with Girard and Stacey's different expressions of grief. Girard retreats into his greenhouse and compares his current tragedy to another one, 37 years removed. It is satisfying to watch Girard and Stacey repair their strained relationship through their shared sadness, and bond over the flowers in the greenhouse. The flowers themselves add symbolism throughout the story, which in my opinion enhances the experience of the narrative.
The parts of this book I enjoyed less was Lawton's writing style. It was too simple for me, but that is not to say it was bad, it's just a personal preference. There is also a heavy dose of Christian morality within the narrative, which I thought could have been more subtly done. The way it stands feels heavy-handed and preachy.
This is a short book and will fly past. There is never a dull moment and has some well-timed surprises.
"Seven flowers, seven colors, seven meanings, and one 37-year-old secret—the green house is the keeper of it all. " boasts this unique description and boy does this book deliver on being a unique standout! Girard, his wife Miriam, and daughter Stacey are wrapped up in a forty year old mystery that slowly unravels through glimpses of past events and experiences. Although toted as a mystery, it would be much better described as a dramatic novel awash in grief and depth of character. Albeit there is a mystery that is neatly wrapped up before the ending, this book is so much more then that and its easy to forget you are waiting for the next "clue" to solving it!
Very talented author Dan Lawton is closer akin to a poet than an novelist. What a great read!
I would think that this book qualifies as a novella. It lasts just over a week in the storyline, with each day bringing something to the plot.
Faith plays a pretty important part in the narrative towards the end and added something to the story instead of taking over as a prominent point.
We begin at a greenhouse where a man is picking up the flower of the week for his wife. As he heads in for his routine coffee, he finds an upturned chair and nothing else. Given their reclusive behaviour, he has no action that he can take. The hints about his past are slowly unravelled as we are given an increasingly detailed picture of his past and the demons that haunt him. It is written in a manner that draws you in, and despite the length of the text, it provides a whole story with enough to feel closure towards the end.
Loss is handled extensively here, and it is the core concern of all the people introduced to us. It was a surprisingly heavy read but felt unique in the style.
I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers; the review is entirely based on my own reading experience.
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