Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Book Review for All the Pretty Places by Joy Callaway

 All the Pretty Places by Joy Callaway

400 pages, Paperback

Expected publication May 9, 2023

Genre:  Historical Fiction, 19th Century


Taken from Goodreads:
  “A timeless and powerful novel of a daring woman who must decide if she will risk everything to follow her passion and find her voice.” —Patti Callahan Henry, New York Times bestselling author

From the moment she was born, the transforming beauty of her family’s nurseries has arrested her heart. From the moment she knew love, her heart belonged with his. Now she’s at risk of losing them both.

Rye, New York, 1893. Sadie Fremd’s dreams hinge on her family’s nursery, which has been the supplier of choice for respected landscape architects on the East Coast for decades. Now her small town is in a panic as the economy plummets into a depression, and Sadie’s father is pressuring her to secure her future by marrying a wealthy man among her peerage—but Sadie has never been one to play it safe. Besides, her heart is already spoken for.

Rather than seek potential suitors, Sadie pursues new business from her father’s most reliable and wealthy clients of the Gilded Age in an attempt to bolster the floundering nursery. But the more time Sadie spends in the secluded gardens of the elite, the more she notices the hopelessness in the eyes of those outside the mansions. The poor, the grieving, the weary. The people with no access to the restorative beauty of nature.

Sadie has always wanted her father to pass his business to her instead of to one of her brothers, but he seems oblivious to her desire and talent—and now to her passion for providing natural beauty to those who can’t afford it. When former employee, Sam, shows up unexpectedly, Sadie wonders if their love can be rekindled or if his presence will simply be another reminder of a life she longs for and cannot have.

Joy Callaway illuminates the life of her great-great-grandmother in this captivating story about a daring woman following her passion and finding her voice, while exploring natural beauty and its effect in the lives of those who need it most.


My Thoughts:  If you love flowers, greenhouses, and plants this is the book for you.   Everything about this book surrounds having a green thumb.  I do not have a green thumb; it is not even a tinge of green.

Sadie’s father only wants his children to never experience the life he had before becoming a successful nursery owner.   He has given everything he can to have his children grow up successful and with minimal struggles.    Sadie, being the daughter, is expected to marry well and be a happy wife.   Happy wife is not what Sadie dreams of, she wants to run the nursery.   I really liked how strong Sadie is.   She never lets go of the dreams and works harder than anyone else to show her father that she deserves to take over, especially since neither of her brothers want that job.


The romance between Sam and Sadie is a matter of stations in society.   Sam works hard and is Sadie’s father’s right-hand man but he does not come from wealth so he is not seen as deserving Sadie’s love.    Funny thing, love does not care about wealth.   What the heart wants, the heart wants.    That is exactly their relationship.  I really enjoyed watching the work together, figure out how and if they could be together, and put the well being of each other before their own.   Yet, they did keep society’s expectations in their minds as they were making decisions.


This book was slow for me.   There was a lot of nursery talk and that part did not excite me at all.  I enjoyed the book enough to read the entire thing, but I did do a lot of skimming over the garden descriptions. 

Thank you, Harper Muse, for a copy of the book via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.


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