Cover Image: All the Pretty Places

All the Pretty Places

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Member Reviews

I really enjoyed the gardening/horticulture theme of this book. I also enjoyed reading the author’s notes on how this book was based on some family history. The story was much more focused on the romance than I had expected and I found it to move along rather slowly. Overall, a heartwarming tale of love and determination.

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2.5 rounded up to 3 stars. This is my first book by Joy Callaway and I have another coming down my TBR list. I received an electronic ARC from Netgalley and this is the second time I've read one of those books with the publisher's trademark on every other page--very distracting.

So why the low (for me) rating?

One, this is a book about flowers and gardens. Just as in books about art, something's missing when there's no drawings or photos to describe the items. I'm sure the research into all the different roses was correct, but I have no idea what any of them looked like. If it's not the cheap knock-out roses I know then I don't have a clue. So most of the horticulture flew over my head. Ditto with the town of Rye.

Second, in the author's note she says she based this on her family. Interesting, sure (and there are photos) but as a writer that saves her creating characters, plot and setting.

And three, let's talk about plot. This book moves s-l-o-w-l-y. With it being an ARC there's no page numbers, but after three hours of reading nothing much had happened at all. The same situations occured over and over.

Finally, the main character Sadie was very immature. Usually my comments on age appropriate characters deal with young children acting older than their years, but here it was the opposite. Everytime she dug and planted in a ball gown I just shuddered. Poor Agnes. Going to the bad section of town at night alone?

"I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."

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As a fan of greenbrier resort I loved this one. I truly think this author knows how to write historical fiction. The characters and the setting were so good.

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All The Pretty Places by Joy Callaway was a captivating novel that took place during the Gilded Age in a town called Rye located in Westchester County in New York. This is a captivating story about compassionate people who nourish and support their family and friends, as well as reaching out to people who are not so fortunate and need a ray of hope. Highly recommended. My thanks to NetGalley for this ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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In All the Pretty Places: Joy Callaway weaves a spellbinding tale that immerses readers into the heart of the Gilded Age, a time of opulence, societal expectations, and the pursuit of dreams against the backdrop of change and uncertainty. The novel follows the Fremd family, once poor but now flourishing thanks to their nursery business in Rye, New York.

At the heart of the story is Sadie Fremd, a determined and spirited young woman with a passion for the family's nursery and a longing for independence. As societal norms and her father's wishes clash with her own aspirations, Sadie finds herself at a crossroads. Callaway masterfully captures Sadie's struggle to assert her independence and navigate the intricate balance between tradition and her own desires.

The novel's setting, a rural town not far from the bustling NYC, is depicted with vivid detail, transporting readers effortlessly to the late 19th century. The author's skillful descriptions bring to life the beauty of the nursery's gardens and the opulence of the Gilded Age society, creating a rich and immersive reading experience.

The characters, especially Sadie, are multi-dimensional and relatable, making it easy to invest emotionally in their journeys. Sadie's determination to carry on the family business, even in the face of societal expectations and challenges, is both inspiring and heartwarming. Her love for Sam, a fellow employee, adds depth to the story, and their relationship is both sweet and genuine.

The novel adeptly captures the disparity between the wealthy and the struggling, offering readers a poignant exploration of the era's social injustices. Against the backdrop of the Panic of 1893, Callaway skillfully depicts the fragility of financial stability and the impact it had on families like the Fremds.

Joy Callaway's storytelling prowess shines through in "All the Pretty Places," delivering a captivating narrative that effortlessly blends historical details with heartwarming emotions. The novel's swift pacing and compelling characters make it difficult to put down, as it explores themes of love, family, ambition, and the pursuit of a better future. If you're a fan of historical fiction based on the life of real people that transports you to a different time while resonating with timeless themes, this novel is undoubtedly a recommended read.

Thank you Netgalley for the arc copy.

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Historical Fiction ~ Gardens & Gardeners ~ New York ~ Gilded Age ~ Strong Women ~ Flowers ~ Social classes ~ Romance & Love ~ Family ~ Financial ruin ~ Marriage ~ Siblings ~ Well-written characters ~ Beautiful backdrop ~ Highly Recommend

I was gifted this advance copy by NetGalley and was under no obligation to provide a review.

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*** 3.5 ***
Sadie's family runs the premier plant and gardening nursery in Rye, New York, in the late 1800s. Sadie loves working with plants and would like to take over her father's business one day. After all, her two brothers have shown no interest in doing so. But her father wants her to marry well, and tells her she can fulfill her gardening interests when she is the mistress of a great estate one day, after marriage.

The story continues along this vein, with her papa conspiring to make her accept one of the many favorable proposals she has received. In addition to loving the plant business and wanting to mange her father's company, Sadie is also in love with Sam who works in the nursery, but there are complications. Then when disaster strikes and it seems like the Frend family will lose everything, including their beloved nursery, Sadie has to decide what is most important to her.

There were several things I liked about this story. The writer is talented and she has a knack for realistic dialogue from this era. If you like shows like The Gilded Age, you will probably enjoy the setting, although at this time many of the wealthy families are losing their riches. I also found it interesting that in the author's message at the end of the book, she states she is writing about her great great grandmother, pretty much drawing the story from her life, and she even uses the real names of people that her relatives knew, or at least the given names.

What kept me from totally immersing into this story was a problem with the two main characters. Sadie is beautiful and every eligible, rich bachelor wants to marry her. But she only wants Sam, who works on her father's estate, but does not have the status or riches that her father wants for her future husband to possess. Sadie's love for plants above all else was often emphasized, but quite honestly, she doesn't seem like she would be a very fun person to befriend. She seems very judgmental on her suitors, and we're not given a lot of reason why. And though her desire to build parks for the poor is laudable, she again seems to have very little charm about stating her wants. And Sam, who she is so infatuated with, is described as the most handsome man, over and over again, and that's about it. No other likeable qualities are mentioned. Maybe I'm being harsh, but this is how the two main characters struck me, and it did affect my enjoyment of the book.

I am rounding up to 4 stars because I think it's good writing and a great effort, but for me, it was a 3.5 read,

Thank you to the author Joy Callaway, Harper Muse and NetGalley for allowing me to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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This was wayyyyyy tooooo slow for me and it felt so overdone that I didn’t have sympathy or a connection to the characters

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I love historical fiction and I love reading about women that change the status quo. This book was made for me based on the description.

I only got 5% into the book and it took me an hour, I felt like things were dragging on and I didn’t have the interest to continue. It was repetitive conversations.

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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!

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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.

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Such a beautiful and powerful story about a woman finding her mission. Very inspirational!

4 stars from me!

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An atmospheric story set in The Gilded Age. Sadie was an inspiring and enjoyable character.
Many thanks to Harper Muse and to Netgalley for providing me with a galley in exchange for my honest opinion.

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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.

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this was based on the authors great great grandmother. very interesting read. if you like historical fiction you will love this book.

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An insightful look at a gilded age family whose nursery business manages to survive in a failing economy. Joy Callaway's great great grandmother is portrayed as a determined and creative character and her love of gardens and her family's love of each other are the forces that help it thrive. I enjoyed this glimpse of life during that period and some of it's historical characters.

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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.

I love a historical novel where the FMC bucks all stereotypes. Sadie wants to be in charge of her families business. She also wants to be in charge of her love life. But she still is unsure of what she loves more. I absolutely love all of the juxtaposition. Please read for all of the historical accuracy and female anguish.

Thank you to @netgalley and @harpermusebooks for allowing me to review this wonderful ARC.

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Thank you to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for a chance to read and review this book in exchange for an honest review. 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. Beautifully descriptive and presenting a good portrait of the times, this is a sweet, almost magical story.

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I like this one . It was rich in historical detail and I fel the characters were developed and story line was paced just right . I liked learning about all the flowers.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me read this book

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About 4.Stars!

I really loved Joy Callaway's latest historical novel based on the factual lives of her ancestors. "All the Pretty Places," took me a lot longer to read than normal. I was quite enamored with the main
female protagonist whose strength was portrayed throughout this novel. Her name was Sadie Fremd, whose determination to go against what her father, Charles had planned for her life trajectory's direction to go once she reached the age to marry. His idea was for her to settle for being married to a rich suitor, who would guarantee her safety of not ending up poor, if their nursery failed due to the poor economy.

The writing of this historical novel was quiet, and beautiful containing rich imagery which depicted the colorful descriptions, of the hundreds of varieties of flowers and plants. I could visualize in my mind while reading the environment of which permeated Sadie's passionate love of gardening. She was happiest while planting the various plants and flowers that encompassed her family's nursery business. This business was to include supplying the rich families within, and beyond their community, with the landscape design of a myriad variety of private gardens.

This novel takes place in Rye, New York, during the Gilded age of the 1800's. Sadie has learned the family business, which her father had built as a self made man. He arrived in the United States, as an immigrant from Germany, not able to speak English, which his now deceased wife taught him. Both Sadie's mother, and father started out poor, and built their business to be one of the most successful in the Country. Sadie's mother's dying wish to Sadie's father had been to extract his promise, to seeing that Sadie marry a rich suitor, to ensure that Sadie did not experience the poverty that her parents' had endured.

Sadie is now twenty-two years old, and her father has started insisting that, Sadie pick one of her gentleman admirers, whose wealth in most cases surpasses her own. She has grown up knowing only a life of privilege. For most of the novel, Sadie refuses her father's insistence, of marrying based upon the wealth of her suitors. Sadie is strong willed, and her two choices are to continue doing what she loves most which, is to be her father's successor of the nursery, and to marry her true love Sam Jenkins, who shares her talent and passion for creating beauty from plants and flowers.

Sadie's father forbids Sadie to take his place at the helm of the family business, and to marry Sam who is an employee without wealth. Her father discourages any mixing of his children from developing romantic relationships with their family's hired help. Sadie and her father often lock horns, because she refuses to follow his preconceived ideas for her. She is a lovable character in which, she displays a stubborn vision of not marrying anybody else other than Sam. She can't imagine not being able to keep doing what she loves most, of which is to continue creating beauty by designing gardens from her family owned nursery.

Her father employs sixty people who he provides housing for them as well. The markets have crashed leaving a poor economy. Many of their rich friends' family owned businesses have failed causing them to go bankrupt. This puts their nursery in jeopardy with losing a lot of clients. What I really admired about Sadie is her optimism including her ideas, of subtle visits to the families that can still afford gardens to generate business. I also admired her refusal to settle for anything less, than her goals and dreams. Additionally, her ambition of creating beauty with her talents, for those who couldn't afford it. Her willingness to refuse marrying somebody she didn't love, for the sake of the safety of their wealth.

At 400 pages, I felt that this novel got bogged down with Sadie, and her father's opposing plans for her future. I felt that their points of view were made clear in the beginning. Her father's wishes to protect her from becoming poverty stricken, casting her out of her comfortable, and privileged lifestyle versus her love, of creating beauty with plants and flowers, and taking over the family business after he retired. Also, her deep love of Sam refusing to consider getting engaged, with more prosperous admirers. It got tedious, and could've been edited, because there wasn't anything more happening in terms of plot. I deducted one star, for that aspect. Otherwise, this has a stunning cover, which is symbolized by the atmospheric writing. I think that this will appeal to most women who enjoy historical fiction with romance. When the plot twist happened at approximately 65%, I became invested in the narrative again.

Publication Date: May 9, 2023. Available Now!

Thank you to Net Galley, Joy Callaway and Harper Muse for providing me with a Complimentary copy in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions are entirely my own.

#AllthePrettyPlaces #JoyCallaway #HarperMuse #NetGalley

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