Tilly is an English widow gardener living in Chapel Hill.
Her gardens are masterpieces but not the overly planned, symmetrical, stuffy English gardens. Oh, and she hates bugs—so maybe she is a bit stuffy.
James is the son of a farmer who hates dirt, and questionable ice cream cones, and is adept at hopping from dandelion to dandelion avoiding the cancerous earth.
No, this is not the book of a madwoman.
This is a beautifully written novel by local author Barbara Claypole White.
You see, both James and Tilly are relying on their intuition. Tilly uses hers to create beautiful gardens, solace from the pain and guilt of losing her husband Robert (and father to her young son Issac) way too soon. James, on the other hand, uses his intuition to imprison himself in a world of superstition and compulsion.
James needs Tilly to create a garden for him but Tilly insists that she is a nursery wholesaler, not a landscape designer. Plus, this guy is going to be a lot of trouble and a lot of work. She refuses and refuses, only to escape to England for a family emergency.
James and Tilly are damaged people who need each other to make sense of reality.
Unfinished Garden is a poetic page turner. Not only is the language lush, but the cast of supporting characters are colorful, giving the reader a break from the intensity of Tilly and James as well as giving Tilly and James a break from themselves.
Barbara Claypole White along with several other local authors will be at South East Regional Library on September 27th, please visit our website for more details.