The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman

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The Red Garden introduces us to the luminous and haunting world of Blackwell, Massachusetts, capturing the unexpected turns in its history and in our own lives.
     In exquisite prose, Hoffman offers a transforming glimpse of small-town America, presenting us with some three hundred years of passion, dark secrets, loyalty, and redemption in a web of tales where characters' lives are intertwined by fate and by their own actions.
     From the town's founder, a brave young woman from England who has no fear of blizzards or bears, to the young man who runs away to New York City with only his dog for company, the characters in The Red Garden are extraordinary and vivid: a young wounded Civil War soldier who is saved by a passionate neighbor, a woman who meets a fiercely human historical character, a poet who falls in love with a blind man, a mysterious traveler who comes to town in the year when summer never arrives.
     At the center of everyone’s life is a mysterious garden where only red plants can grow, and where the truth can be found by those who dare to look.
     Beautifully crafted, shimmering with magic, The Red Garden is as unforgettable as it is moving.

About Alice Hoffman

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Alice Hoffman is the author of fifteen novels: Blue Diary (2001), The River King (2000), Local Girls (1999), Here On Earth (1997), Practical Magic (1995), Second Nature (1994), Turtle Moon (1992), Seventh Heaven (1990), At Risk (1988), Illumination Night (1987), Fortune's Daughter (1985), White Horses (1982), Angel Landing (1980), The Drowning Season (1979), and Property Of (1977). She is also the author of three children's books: Aquamarine (2001), Horsefly (2000), and Fireflies (1997). Born in New York City, and raised on Long Island, Hoffman graduated from Adelphi University and received an M.A. from Stanford University, where she was Mirrielees Fellow. She currently lives near Boston with her family and her dogs.
Published January 25, 2011 by Broadway Books. 290 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Red Garden

Kirkus Reviews

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In 14 freestanding but consecutive stories, Hoffman (The Story Sisters, 2009, etc.) traces the life of the town of Blackwell, Mass., from its founding in 1750 up to the present as the founders' descendents connect to the land and each other.

Jan 11 2011 | Read Full Review of The Red Garden


Even though I wanted something to redeem the stories, I should have stopped reading when I got to “There were no birds that year, for their eggs had frozen in their shells,” which was pretty much the theme of the book.

Jan 10 2012 | Read Full Review of The Red Garden

The Washington Times

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Behind the Brady house where Hallie Brady's descendants lived was a garden where the earth was blood red and every plant, be it a lilac or a green bean, turned red. It was in this garden that Hallie had buried her newborn baby son and, later, an old bear that she had befriended.

Jan 21 2011 | Read Full Review of The Red Garden

Book Reporter

Ghosts --- whether real or imaginary --- surface again and again, their stories rooted in actual history, their recurrence a reminder that stories outlive their tellers.

Mar 28 2011 | Read Full Review of The Red Garden

Entertainment Weekly

The tale of Hallie Brady — one of the original founders of Blackwell, Mass., a scoop of a town in the Berkshire Mountains — is full of magic and grit and tragedy.

Jan 19 2011 | Read Full Review of The Red Garden

Los Angeles Times

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The novel-in-stories depicts a fantastical history of a Massachusetts town.

Mar 20 2011 | Read Full Review of The Red Garden

USA Today

Hoffman digs up the dirt on 250 years of Blackwell history: its settlers and interlopers, their descendants and the one cryptic constant in their lives, a garden of red earth that nourishes only red vegetation.

Feb 10 2011 | Read Full Review of The Red Garden

San Francisco Chronicle

By the end of the book, the idea of bear has been so transformed by the forces of time and moderated repetition that a bear's skeleton in one of the last stories takes on a terrifying significance that the real live beast hadn't possessed in Hallie's initial story.

Jan 30 2011 | Read Full Review of The Red Garden

Oregon Live

Because red light has the longest wavelength, red is the color with the fiercest claim on the human eye, a power Hoffman exploits in "The Red Garden."

Jan 29 2011 | Read Full Review of The Red Garden

Bookmarks Magazine

Only the Boston Globe cited the collection as somewhat uneven, with the best stories (including "The Red Garden") absolutely bewitching and the lesser ones simplistic and implausible.

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of The Red Garden

- Kirkus Review .

Aug 08 2015 | Read Full Review of The Red Garden

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