by Valerie Perrin
Violette Toussaint is the caretaker at a cemetery in a small town in Bourgogne. Random visitors, regulars, and, most notably, her colleagues—three gravediggers, three groundskeepers, and a priest—visit her as often as possible to warm themselves in her lodge, where laughter, companionship, and occasional tears mix with the coffee that she offers them. Her daily life is lived to the rhythms of their hilarious and touching confidences.
Violette’s routine is disrupted one day by the arrival of a man—Julien Sole, local police chief—who insists on depositing the ashes of his recently departed mother on the gravesite of a complete stranger. It soon becomes clear that the grave Julien is looking for belongs to his mother’s one-time lover, and that his mother’s story of clandestine love is intertwined with Violette’s own secret past.
With Fresh Water for Flowers, Valérie Perrin has given readers a funny, moving, intimately told story of a woman who believes obstinately in happiness. Perrin has the rare talent of illuminating what is exceptional and poetic in what seems ordinary. A #1 best-seller in France, Fresh Water for Flowers is a delightful, atmospheric, absorbing fairy tale full of poetry, generosity, and warmth.
Helen says: 🤓🤓🤓🤓
This author is being touted as the next Elena Ferrante- very popular in Europe right now. We are so continental! I started by listening on Audible and it didn’t grab me. I switched to actually reading the book and it improved mightily. A long story- it probably could have been revised for conciseness. Regardless, I was hooked! Great storyline- sad though.
Holly says: 🤓🤓🤓🤓1/4
My favorite book of the month. This month was definitely two thumbs up and two thumbs down for me. This is a French novel in translation, and I admit, I have a weakness for French novels. This book is different from any book that I have ever read – a story of extremes: life and death, happiness and misery, joy and sorrow, love and hate. Some of the characters have much more depth than you anticipated them to have and are not quite who at first they appeared to be. Highly recommended for the romantic at heart, or anyone for that matter. I loved it!