The Girl in the Garden by Melanie Wallace
Strangely, I can't quite remember how I heard about this book; I know I read something about it, somewhere, and thought it sounded interesting. This is not a debut novel, but Melanie Wallace is a new-to-me author; these selections do not always pan out well, but I'm so thankful that something prompted me to give this one a chance.
The novel begins with a young woman named June who, having recently given birth to a son named Luke, has, over the course of her life, learned not to expect much from anyone. She is dropped off at an oceanside inn in New England by the father of her child, with no money and very little of anything else.
So much of what follows is character-driven; not by June, but by those she encounters in this community as she begins to create a life for herself and her child. These characters are beautifully broken and the author doles out their individual stories in bits and pieces, reminding me of the visits that I have with patients and families in my own line of work.
Throughout this novel, I would catch myself nodding empathetically and I thoroughly enjoyed the author's vivid descriptions, the writing that seemed, at times, almost like a stream of consciousness. I experienced these characters, and their stories, as highly relatable and I delighted in reading more about each of them.
While I haven't seen too much else about this novel, I certainly hope others will take a chance on it as I did; The Girl in the Garden has been an unexpected delight and I'll be recommending this one for months to come!