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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Where Lilacs Still Bloom

Fans of historical fiction and flowers (especially lilacs) will adore this book!

This fictional story is based on the real life of Hulda Klager, who immigrated to America as a young child from Germany in 1865. I was amazed at how much I learned from reading this book, and was surprised that I had never heard of Hulda prior to this story. Hulda Klager experimented as a hybridizer, while raising a family. She spent hours carefully tending her precious lilacs, who were her “second family” and sometimes took precedence over humans.

I was amazed at just how ahead of her time she appeared to be and how brilliant she was, though she never had a formal education in science or botany. I did feel sorry for her family at times, while reading this story, because her zeal and passion for science sometimes overshadowed her relationships. Though her husband obviously felt neglected at times in this story, I thought it was sweet how he tried to support her and even surprised her by helping her obtain some of her most expensive plants. Hulda went on to create many varieties of lilacs, earning herself the title of “The Lilac Lady”.

This would make an excellent read for anyone interested in science, botany and famous women in history. The author even has some authentic Hulda Klager lilacs in her own garden! A fantastic story of dedication and perserverance, blending interesting facts, characters and relationships. I highly recommend it!

About The Book: 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?

Disclosure of Material Connection:
I received this book free from Waterbook Multnomah. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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