Welcome to my new lifestyles blog. This is my online journal, a place where I share my photographs and random notes on anything that catches my interest -- books I'm reading, cool shoes, inspirational quotes, political musings, family updates, my latest gardening projects, souvenirs from my travels, and just about anything I'd post on Facebook if I were on Facebook. ~Cindy La Ferle
"Here was a place that defined beauty in petals and leaves, scent and sight....It was waiting for one pair of hands, one heart, one fine and tender soul to rouse it and release its magic." ~ Ellen Herrick, The Forbidden Garden
Cindy La Ferle
I make a point of visiting independent bookshops wherever I find them. Thanks to indy bookstore staff recommendations, I've discovered many favorite books and authors that would have escaped my attention at national chain bookstores. During a recent visit to Horizon Books in Traverse City, for instance, I found Ellen Herrick's The Forbidden Garden on the front table. Perfect for the English major in search of a light spring read, the plot circles around a gifted gardener's mysterious call to restore an ancient walled Shakespeare garden in England. Evoking the magical realism of Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic and Sarah Addison Allen's Garden Spells, it delivers a sweet love story with a heady dose of enchanting plant lore and a family of quirky Brits. I learned, after starting the novel, that it's actually a sequel to Herrick's debut novel, The Sparrow Sisters, which introduced readers to three sisters who own a plant nursery and are tightly woven into the history of a New England seaside town. So I finished that one, too. Both novels touch on the conflict between traditional and natural medicine practices, keeping me entertained from start to finish. Real-life herbalists and avid gardeners will be charmed by Herrick's considerable knowledge of herbal lore and natural medicine.