"If Julie Cantrell isn't on your reading list, she should be." --Lisa Wingate, national bestselling author of Before We Were Yours
When two estranged sisters reunite for their parents' 50th anniversary, a family tragedy brings unexpected lessons of hope and healing amid the flowers of their mother's perennial garden.
Eva--known to all as Lovey--grew up safe and secure in Oxford, MS, surrounded by a rich literary history and her mother's stunning flower gardens. But a shed fire, and the injuries that it caused, seemed to change everything . . . especially when her older sister, Bitsy, blamed Lovey for the irreparable damage.
Bitsy became the cheerleader. The homecoming queen. The perfect Southern belle who could do no wrong. All the while, Lovey served as the family scapegoat, always bearing the brunt when Bitsy threw blame her way.
At eighteen, suffocating in her sister's shadow, Lovey turned down a marriage proposal and fled to Arizona--a place as far from Mississippi as she could find.
In time, she became a successful advertising executive and a weekend yoga instructor, carving a satisfying life for herself, free from Bitsy's vicious lies. But now that she's turning 45, Lovey is feeling more alone than ever and questioning the choices that have led her here.
When she gets a call from her father insisting that she come home three weeks early for her parents' 50th anniversary, Lovey is at wits' end. She's about to close the biggest contract of her career, and there's a lot on the line. But despite the risks, her father's words, "Family First," draw her right back to the red-dirt roads of Mississippi.
Lovey is welcomed home by a secret project--a memory garden her father has planned as an anniversary surprise for her mother. As she helps create this sacred space, Lovey begins to rediscover her roots, learning to live perennially in spite of life's many trials and tragedies.
Years ago, Lovey chose to leave her family and the South far behind. But now that she's returned, she's realizing things at home were not always what they seemed.
"From the lush Mississippi setting and lyrical writing, to the flawed yet engaging characters, Julie Cantrell's Perennials is an engrossing reading pleasure. I loved this story of a fractured family and a prodigal daughter, and the healing power and connections that tending gardens brings to their lives. Like an artist, the author uses a delicate brush to carefully illustrate the joys and pains of life's growing seasons, and of learning how to surrender old hurts to find forgiveness. This is a book to read more than once." --Karen White, New York Times bestselling author
"Family drama, small-town pressures, and life's unexpected turns are all set within the charming parameters of a Southern perennial garden. Add the literary links to Faulkner and Welty, a soul-stirring romance, and Cantrell's lyrical story-telling skills and you've got a heart-warming tale that is sure to outlast the seasons. You'll love Perennials " --Mary Alice Monroe, New York Times bestselling author of Beach House for Rent
"With languid prose and vivid description, Julie Cantrell's novel unfolds as beautifully as one of her protagonist's favorite flowers. Cantrell weaves moving and inspirational stories that make her one of today's most beloved storytellers. Perennials may be her most breathtaking yet." --Kristy Woodson Harvey, bestselling author of Slightly South of Simple