Tending Roses - book cover
  • Publisher : Berkley
  • Published : 28 Dec 2021
  • Pages : 416
  • ISBN-10 : 0593438523
  • ISBN-13 : 9780593438527
  • Language : English

Tending Roses

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Book of Lost Friends and Before We Were Yours comes a heartfelt novel about the bonds of family and the power of second chances.

When Kate Bowman temporarily moves to her grandmother's Missouri farm with her husband and baby son, she learns that the lessons that most enrich our lives often come unexpectedly. The family has given Kate the job of convincing Grandma Rose, who's become increasingly stubborn and forgetful, to move off her beloved land and into a nursing home. But Kate knows such a change would break her grandmother's heart.
Just when Kate despairs of finding answers, she discovers her grandma's journal. A beautiful handmade notebook, it is full of stories that celebrate the importance of family, friendship, and faith. Stories that make Kate see her life-and her grandmother-in a completely new way....

Editorial Reviews

Praise for Tending Roses

"Richly emotional and spiritual, Tending Roses affected me from the first page. A story at once gentle and powerful about the very old and the very young, about the young woman who loves them all. In Kate, Lisa Wingate has created a wonderful character."-New York Times bestselling author Luanne Rice

"Stop what you are doing and experience Tending Roses...A rich story of family and faith."-New York Times bestselling author Lynne Hinton

"Wingate's touching story of love and faith proves the old adage that we should take time to smell the roses and try to put our modern problems in perspective."-Booklist

"You can't put it down without...taking a good look at your own life and how misplaced priorities might have led to missed opportunities. Tending Roses is an excellent read for any season, a celebration of the power of love."-El Paso Times

"This novel's strength is its believable characters...Many readers will see themselves in Kate, who is so wrapped up in her own problems that she fails to see the worries of others."-American Profiles Weekly Magazine

"Get your tissues or handkerchief ready. You're going to need them when you read Lisa Wingate's book, Tending Roses. Your emotions will run the gamut from laughing loudly to shedding tears as you read the story."-McAlester News-Capital & Democrat

Readers Top Reviews

jan curryPamelaLaney
i read 'before we were yours' (another one of the author's books), before i read this book, and loved it from beginning to end. 'tending roses' took awhile to get interesting for me. i liked the grandmother's stories that she wrote in her notebook and left for her granddaughter to read and think about. i do like the author's style of writing and will look for another one of her books.
Ozark Grandma
"Indian wisdom says our lives are rivers. . . . Each event, each person, changes us in some way. " This quote from the first page of the book is an indication of the kind of book this is. I loved reading about the changes in the lives of the characters. Grandma Rose did many things that irritated her family at times, and the family wanted to make a choice for her when they felt she could no longer live by herself on the farm that had been a part of her life for so many years. The life lessons she shared as stories throughout the book were so beautifully written and had such wisdom. If only more younger couples could benefit from the wisdom of an older person! I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys contemporary Christian fiction with good family values without a lot of romance.
Tending Roses is a must-read for everyone. It is a heart warming and heart wrenching book about family, love, marriage, parents/grandparents and faith. The main character Kate is one that you can relate to for many reasons, each personal to yourself, and then there is Grandma Rose, which many of you can relate to also in one form or another. Lisa writes from her heart and it goes straight to your heart. I read this book when it first came out 17 years ago and again this past month. 17 years ago, I had 5 kids from ages 6 to 16 and my mom was healthy. They have since grown and left the nest and my mom developed Alzheimers and was put in a memory care facility. She has since passed. The dilemma in this story is that Kate's family wants to put Grandma Rose in a nursing home and Kate, her newly born, sick baby and husband go to stay on the farm with Grandma Rose and that changes everyone's lives and how Kate feels about her Grandma Rose. As I said, you can relate to all the characters in some fashion, the faith that is intervoven in the story, and hopefully insights in the story will help you in your own life. A great read!!
I loved Tending Roses! I felt at times I was reading a story about my own relationship with my Grandma. I found myself rereading lines just so I could absorb them and really think about the meaning they have in my own life. I loved the family story here! Kate Bowman takes her husband and newborn son to stay with her Grandma Rose on her farm before Christmas. The family hopes Kate can convince her that she needs to move away from her farm. Kate grows to understand her Grandma with each day she spends with her and learns so much from her. I was moved by Grandma Rose's story! The characters in this book are very likable and I could really relate to Kate! Grandma Rose reminded me of my Grandma in so many ways. This story is about family bonds and forgiveness. A relatable family with real struggles that works through their issues. I loved every minute of this book and will be recommending it to my friends. Lisa Wingate is a fantastic author!
Katherine Thompson
I love this book! Excellent lessons about life and finding true happiness. I wish that I had grown up with a grandma Rose. The copy that I finished last night is one that I checked out from my local library, but I purchased my own copy here so that I can refer to it again for bits of needed wisdom. This book is a must-read and I love all of Lisa Wingate's books for the inspiration she gives to me. She speaks to the heart and, as you read, you are immersed in another time and place, but one that directly pertains to all places and times of your life. Presently, I'm waiting anxiously for the rest of the series to arrive in my mailbox.

Short Excerpt Teaser

Chapter 1Indian wisdom says our lives are rivers. We are born somewhere small and quiet and we move toward a place we can not see, but only imagine. Along our journey, people and events flow into us, and we are created of everywhere and everyone we have passed. Each event, each person, changes us in some way. Even in times of drought we are still moving and growing, but it is during seasons of rain that we expand the most-when water flows from all directions, sweeping at terrifying speed, chasing against rocks, spilling over boundaries. These are painful times, but they enable us to carry burdens we could never have thought possible.

This I learned from my grandmother, when my life was rushing with torrential speed and hers was slowly ebbing into the sea. I think it was God's plan that we came together at this time. To carry each other's burden. To remind ourselves of what we had been and would someday become.

Floods are painful, but they are necessary. They keep us clear and strong. They move our lives onto new paths.


A winter rain was falling the day we drove the potholed gravel drive to the Missouri farmhouse my great-grandparents had built on a bluff above Mulberry Creek. As straight as one of the grand porch pillars, and as much a part of the house, Grandma watched as we wound through the rivers of muddy water flowing down the hill. She frowned and wrung her hands as the car tires spun, throwing gravel against the ancient trees along the drive. No doubt she was worried that we would damage her prized silver maples.

A sick feeling started in my throat and fell to my stomach like a swallowed ice cube. I looked at Ben in the driver's seat and the baby asleep in the car seat behind us. This would probably be the longest December and the worst Christmas of our lives.

It would only be a matter of time before Grandma figured out why we had come, and war broke out. Even now, she was looking at us with mild suspicion, no doubt calculating why we were arriving three weeks early for Christmas. She wouldn't be fooled for long into thinking this was just a casual visit. That was the wishful thinking of a bunch of relatives hoping to postpone the problem of Grandma Rose until they were off work for the Christmas holiday.

In a perfect world, all of them would have been rushing to Grandma's side, whether it was convenient or not. In a perfect world, I wouldn't have been looking at my grandmother with a sense of dread, and I wouldn't have been looking at my baby and wondering if the trip was too much for him and if it was wise to take him so far from his doctors. In a perfect world, babies are born healthy, and medical bills don't snowball into the tens of thousands of dollars, and grandmothers don't almost burn down their houses, and family members don't go years without speaking to one another, and Christmas is a time to look forward to....

But those of us who aren't perfect do the best we can. With me on maternity leave and Ben able to do most of his work in structural design anywhere there was a computer and a phone line, we were the logical choice to stay at the farm the next few weeks and make sure Grandma Rose didn't burn down the rest of the house before the family could figure out what to do about her.

But I never imagined how I would feel when we turned the corner to the house. I never thought the sight of my grandmother, ramrod straight on the porch, would turn me into that six-year-old girl who hated to enter that house. It wasn't Grandma I hated. It was the house, the constant fuss about scuffing the floors, and scraping the walls, and tracking mud on the rugs-as if the house were more important than the children in it.

From the porch, Grandma flailed her arms and yelled something we couldn't understand.

"She's..." Ben squinted through the rain. "...Telling me how to park."

"If it weren't raining, she'd be climbing into the driver's seat." I was joking, of course-mostly. I wondered if Ben had any inkling of how difficult she could be. He hadn't been around her much in the ten years we'd been married. He'd never seen her standing at the door inspecting people's shoes for mud like a drill sergeant, or putting coasters under people's drinks, or listening to the plumbing to make sure no one was flushing too much toilet paper. He didn't know that food was forbidden in the living room and that you were not allowed to step from the bath until every ounce of water was drained from the tub and toweled from your body. And that the towels then had to be folded in triplicate and hung on the bar immediately so they would not mildew....

He didn't have a clue what I was thinking. He grinned as he put the car in park, stretched his neck, and combed his fingers through the d...