I was intrigued by the title of Rosey Lee’s new novel, The Gardins of Edin, and one of the most gorgeous book covers I’ve seen. I love seeing black women portrayed in such a beautiful, natural light. This cover did the main characters justice. And I absolutely can appreciate the rich town’s history. Gardin was a refuge for a people who needed to unite as a unit for the next generation after falling prey to a horrible past. I can appreciate that. Naomi quickly became my favorite, having a well-rounded demeanor. She was an educated woman, but when Naomi asked Ruth to hand over her purse while talking to Mary’s ex-fiancé…. I enjoyed that part a little too much. Lastly, imagine me exclaiming, “Oh my goodness,” when I read how 27 years factored into Naomi’s life. (I won’t share what that is about, but it was a shocker.)
I do not understand Mary’s ex and how he treated her. He expected to just waltz back into her life. Also, he had a security detail while he was away but was not concerned for his fiancée’s safety. He did admit to being selfish when he tried to slither his way back into her life. I could have used a little less hesitancy on her end.
A few minor adjustments would’ve done the story well. First, there may have been a little too much of an info dump in the beginning chapters that could’ve been better conveyed throughout the story, perhaps in dialogue, for example. However, due to the nature of the story with many women and diverging opinions, the arguments were sometimes dragged out, with one person giving a monologue. I don’t know many people who would allow someone to have the floor for so long and ask so many questions without allowing them to answer. Shorter, punchier discussions may have increased the tension.
Overall, I liked the roundup and how Naomi, Ruth, Mary, and Martha were different ages. I recommend this story to fans who love African-American romance, Christian fiction, Women’s fiction, workplace romance, love after loss, sister-to-sister stories, stories in southern locations, Christmas themes, holiday themes, family drama, and mature relationships.
Thank you, NetGalley and the publisher, for giving me an ARC copy of this book to read and review. All of these thoughts and comments are my own.
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