Come to the Garden by Jennifer Wilder Morgan
February 23, 2016 – Howard Books
240 Pages – Adult, Fiction, Christianity, Fantasy
Purpose: Review, Howard Books
I was given a copy of this book, free, in exchange for my honest opinion.
From Goodreads: A novel based on true experiences, Come to the Garden is a story about a woman’s journey with a mysterious angel that encourages readers to believe heaven is closer than they think.
Years ago, author Jennifer Wilder Morgan served as a hospital volunteer, visiting critically ill patients—praying with them and listening to their stories. As she created a safe space for those of all faiths and backgrounds, patients began confiding in Morgan about the mysterious ways God speaks to them—including encounters with angels, visions of loved ones who’ve passed on, and messages of comfort spoken in dreams. She witnessed the profound healing that occurs when people are permitted to talk about these experiences, and as a result, Morgan was inspired to share her own personal encounters with God in a novel.
In Come to the Garden, the main character Jenn wakes up on her birthday to find an angel introducing herself as Margaret in the backyard garden. Lately, Jenn has been struggling to make sense of the mysterious ways God has been speaking to her and is trying to understand what he wants her to know. The angel takes Jenn back through her memories and life experiences, revealing how God has been connecting with her all along. Under the angel’s guidance, Jenn finally understands the messages God has been speaking to her, in her dreams, divine promptings, and unexplained coincidences. It becomes clear that God is a faithful and persistent pursuer of the human heart.
Framed as a series of conversations between Jenn and her guardian angel, this unconventional and charming narrative will strike deep into the hearts of anyone seeking a greater understanding of God. Come to the Garden is an inspirational fictional story about the surprising ways God works in our lives and affirms that heaven is truly closer than we think.
My Thoughts: First, I have to apologize because I didn’t finish this book. To be completely honest, I can’t say that I even read most of it. I skimmed and skipped, but didn’t completely read. I don’t have much trouble Dnfing books (it has taken me a long time to get to this point), but I hate doing it to review books. Especially review books that I pick and request.
With every fiction book the reader is required to suspend a certain amount of belief. Unless you live in a world where vampires, werewolves and other magical beings and realms exist, not everything you read will be true or could happen to just about anybody. But, when I come across a story that is based on true events, I expect that the story will be a bit more believable than the other worlds that I’ve encountered. Even suspending my belief, even trusting the author to transport me into her world, into her story. I didn’t buy into it.
I started with the note from the author, and that made me happily continue with the book. I was looking forward to having a glimpse of Wilder’s angelic encounter. But then the first chapter. Oh that first chapter, whose job it is to introduce the story, lay the foundation, start stripping away my disbelief. I found the first chapter to be a bit cheesy, and that made me unsure about continuing. I mean, who truly forgets their birthday on their birthday? Let’s say that you do, I didn’t believe the character. There was something else that was bothering me about the writing style, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. But, after finishing the first chapter, I found that what little interest I had in the story was gone. So I skipped ahead a couple of chapters and then a couple chapters more.
I was able to figure out what was bothering me about the writing style, and I am very aware that this could be a subjective (I.E. not everyone will agree) kind of thing. It was the voice, maybe of the author or the narrator, which I am not sure. What I am sure of is there was no credit given to the reader. The reader’s intelligence was not valued or accounted for, so it felt as if I was being talked down to. It was insincere. For a book that is based on real events you would expect to the undercurrent of truth in the words, but I did not. I could not find it here. I believe that if I did not feel as if I was being talked down to, or whatever disconnected me from this story, I think I would have enjoyed it.