The Garden Angel
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Set in a Southern, city-swallowed town, The Garden Angel tells the story of two women and their unlikey friendship. Cutter Johanson is plucky and eccentric, nostalgic about her family's once glorious past. She has her hands full warding off potential buyers from the dilapidated homestead she is determined to keep. Though the neighborhood has changed, even grown shabby, Father Bob's Home for Retarded Men across the street has become a sort of extended family for Cutter. And her two jobs keep her busy: she has the "dead beat" writing obituaries for the Sans Souci Citizen and waits tables at the nearby Pancake Palace. Cutter's home is like another character, elegiac, full of secrets, providing her with a refuge from the modern world outside her neighborhood. That is, until Cutter's sister, Ginnie, pregnant with her married lover's child, brings trouble home.
Elizabeth Byers rarely ventures outside the brick ranch she shares with her husband, Daniel, a professor at Palmetto University. Agoraphobic and stricken with panic attacks, she fills her days gardening and writing her dissertation on Emily Dickinson. But one day, an anonymous call brings disturbing news that propels her into action. Elizabeth summons her courage to leave her house and drive into neighboring San Souci, and the disturbing sad events that follow lead her to forge a friendship with Cutter, a stranger who reaches out to help.
By the closing pages, Cutter is losing her house and Elizabeth is losing her husband. The two women pull together to come up with a solution--and find sanctuary from their troubles.
Publishers Weekly Review
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