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Where Lilacs Still Bloom: A Novel by Jane…

Where Lilacs Still Bloom: A Novel

by Jane Kirkpatrick

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Based on the life of Hulda Klager, the "lilac lady" who developed dozens of new lilac varieties and whose home and gardens are still on display today. This novel follows from when, as a young wife, she first begins to dream of improving the plants on her farm - starting with creating crisper, tastier and easier to peel apples. She quickly moves to lilacs, her favorite flower, and dreams of making the blooms larger and more fragrant. Along the way she navigates marriage, rearing four children, family tragedies, opposition from neighbors and many more life events with a deep introspective faith. Part of the story is also told by a young female news reporter, who faces many obstacles as a working woman in the early 20th century. She eventually meets Hulda and is able to help publicize her work. This novel is long but the deep inner lives of the characters, particularly Hulda, make it one to savor. And you just may develop an interest in lilacs after reading it. ( )
  debs4jc | Jul 18, 2017 |
Historical fiction - Hulda Klager's home and gardens open to public - historic site in Woodland, WA, north of Vancouver on the Lewis River near confluence with Columbia. Interesting book. ( )
  Jonlyn | Apr 16, 2014 |
Jane Kirkpatrick has written a great novel. I just fiished "Where Lilacs Still Bloom" and was so sad that I had finished the book. I loved this characterization of Hulda Klager and her family's story. Hulda was an inspiration to all who have a dream and despite sorrows and setbacks, continue to work and plan to be able to fulfill this dream of hybridizing beautiful lilacs (a favorite of mine). At first I was not sure if this was a real person or not, but as the story grew, I knew it had to be. Hulda and Frank and their children exemplify the good old German love for famoily and work ethic. I can identify with this. I was impressed with the lesser characters and how they fit into the story of this remarkable woman. It was sad that Hulda lost most of her family during her lifetime, but gave me hope when she did not let it get her down. After reading this story I search online to see if I could find these miracle plants and sure enough, I found a website dedicated to the Klager Lilac Gardens. I would heartily recommend this book to all. It is a story of inspiration and perseverence that makes you want to accomplish something wonderful with your own life. ( )
  SilverShrew | Feb 20, 2014 |
Jane Kirkpatrick makes history come alive, and she has done it again with her latest historical fiction, “Where Lilacs Still Bloom”. The book is based on the life of Hulda Klager, a German immigrant who settled with her husband and four children in Woodland, Washington, not far from Vancouver and Portland, Oregon. Hulda was born around 1864 and died at the age of 97, outliving her husband and all her children. Early in her marriage she wanted an apple that wasn't so hard to peel to make apple pies for her husband. Through selective breeding she attained her goal and began to use the technique to improve her flower garden and ultimately her lilacs. She wanted a creamy lilac with twelve petals which took her a lifetime to achieve. Jane tells her take with a real eye for making the people and events in her novels like living history. She tells her tales with humor and faith. In the story Jane gave us glimpses of the characters who would figure prominently in the story. Some of these characters were composite people from her research. But she has such an attention for detail for the time period that she is writing about that it seems as though the reader is right there. And we learn something about history in the process. And about the people who made history with their unique lives like Hulda Klager. I would very much recommend this book as well as any of Jane Kirkpatrick's 22 published books. You are in for a real treat. ( )
  MarjorieThelen | Jan 17, 2013 |

I had never heard of Hulda Klager before I picked up Where Lilacs Still Bloom, but after reading it, I will never forget her. Hulda was a no excuses kind of woman, full of life and ahead of her time, and Jane Kirkpatrick makes her come to life with a garden of descriptive and colorful words on each page, (no matter if those colors are bright or monochromatic). I believe that no matter who you are and what you know, you can do anything you put your mind to - and that is what I love about Hulda, she yearns to create even when things come crashing down around her. Her story is not completely unique - many people who change the world are told no to begin with - but it's the way in which it is told that pulls readers in and makes Hulda real. Her story is truly inspiring and her passion for life is evident. The plot-line was slow to start, but as I moved through the book I was not bothered by the pace. I liked how Jane Kirkpatrick created characters around the life of this one-of-a-kind woman, adding to the level of emotion that the text maintained. Very touching and readable format-wise, with few grammatical errors. The first person versus third person dialogue was well-written and fit nicely with the novel's structure. The hybridizing of the flowers was interesting to me as well - but I am a bit of a biology geek. Overall, I enjoyed this heartwarming story, and hope to read more of Jane Kirkpatrick's novels in the future.

Rating: On the Run (4.5/5)

*** I received this book from the author (Blogging for Books) in exchange for and honest and unbiased review. ( )
  Allizabeth | Aug 14, 2012 |
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"One woman, an impossible dream, and the faith it took to see it through. German immigrant and farm wife Hulda Klager possesses only an eighth-grade education--and a burning desire to create something beautiful. What begins as a hobby to create an easy-peeling apple for her pies becomes Hulda's driving purpose: a time-consuming interest in plant hybridization that puts her at odds with family and community, as she challenges the early twentieth-century expectations for a simple housewife. Through the years, seasonal floods continually threaten to erase her Woodland, Washington garden and a series of family tragedies cause even Hulda to question her focus. In a time of practicality, can one person's simple gifts of beauty make a difference? Based on the life of Hulda Klager, Where Lilacs Still Bloom is a story of triumph over an impossible dream and the power of a generous heart. 'Beauty matters... it does. God gave us flowers for a reason. Flowers remind us to put away fear, to stop our rushing and running and worrying about this and that, and for a moment, have a piece of paradise right here on earth.'"--"In the early 1900s, housewife Hulda Klager reads a book that changes her life forever, leading her to develop over 200 new varieties of lilacs that she gives away or sells to individuals as a way of sharing beauty. Her commitment to creation--struggling against flooding rivers and the vagaries of hybrid plants--while living through family losses and challenges is a story of perseverance and generosity that culminates when, in a time of great need, the people who Hulda gifted with beauty return to her life to help her start over"--… (more)

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