Gardenias for Breakfast: A Women of Faith Novel

Overview

"Everybody has a story. You listen to their story, Honeygirl, and your story will come find you."

Her Grand Lady spoke these words when Abby was just a girl growing up in rural Louisiana, surrounded by an extended, loving family. She's been listening carefully ever since.

Now Abby is raising her own family thousands of miles away. And even though Hawaii might seem like paradise to some, it's a long way away from those idyllic days she ...
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Overview

"Everybody has a story. You listen to their story, Honeygirl, and your story will come find you."

Her Grand Lady spoke these words when Abby was just a girl growing up in rural Louisiana, surrounded by an extended, loving family. She's been listening carefully ever since.

Now Abby is raising her own family thousands of miles away. And even though Hawaii might seem like paradise to some, it's a long way away from those idyllic days she remembers, sitting with her grandmother, learning about the beauty and mystery of life. So Abby has just one wish: that her daughter Hannah might be touched by the beauty of her 92-year-old Grand Lady's stories, before it's too late.

But when Hannah finally does spend time with her Grand Lady, the old woman crushes her tender spirit.

A mother-daughter journey "home" becomes an adventure of discovery--about the importance of family and the healing found in forgiveness.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The versatile Gunn, the bestselling author of more than 53 books (Sister Chicks Do the Hula, etc.), offers readers of inspirational fiction an entertaining foray into the South and an intriguing look at the intergenerational relationships of women. Hannah has just turned 12 when her mother, Abby, takes her from their home in Maui to be blessed by her 92-year-old "Grand Lady"-Hannah's great-grandmother-in Louisiana. As they travel across the United States, they connect with various relatives, including Abby's estranged mother. Abby longs for her grandmother and Hannah to bond with each other, discovering that she herself is desperate for Grand Lady's approval. "It's funny whom we end up choosing to love and who ends up choosing to love us. It's rarely the people we think it should be," says Su Ling, Hannah's aunt. Although occasionally the descriptions falter ("Hannah was the dew-kissed rosebud about to curl back her first tender petals"), rich regional details spice up the story, and Gunn does a fine job fleshing out her characters. Faith fiction readers will especially enjoy the flitting appearances of an angel, who takes bodily form as a large black man carrying two white chickens, and also as a janitor. The ending is anticlimactic, given the prologue's promise, but still satisfying. This is one of Gunn's best offerings to date. (Jan.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
When Abby was a child, Louisiana was a magical oasis where she spent time with her loving grandmother, the "Grand Lady," with whom she connected in a way she never could with her own mother. Now an adult and living in Hawaii with a daughter of her own, Abby longs for 12-year-old Hannah to bond with the "Grand Lady." When the opportunity arises for Abby and Hannah to take a cross-country trip to Louisiana, Abby is thrilled until she finds that the elderly lady cannot live up to her memories. Instead, Hannah is more interested in spending time with Abby's mother. But the "Grand Lady" still has wisdom to impart to Abby about understanding and forgiveness. In this above-average mother-daughter tale, Gunn (Sister Chicks in Sombreros) subtly gets across her message of acceptance while providing a satisfying read. Recommended for public libraries. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781419328039
  • Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC
  • Publication date: 10/1/2011
  • Series: The N. E. R. D. S. Series
  • Format: Other

First Chapter

Prologue

"Everybody has a story. You listen to their story, Honeygirl, and your story will come find you."

I was twelve the summer my grandmother gave me those words. She touched my flushed cheek with her small, soft hands and kissed the end of my freckled nose. We were sitting on her porch swing, listening to the lush Louisiana twilight being beckoned to our corner of the world by the crickets' persistent chitter-buzz.

I think I remember that moment so clearly not because of Grand Lady's words but because of her touch. For years she had given me words. Every year on my birthday she had sent me a book. Each Christmas she had sent me a handwritten poem along with a pair of pink slippers. But on this rare occasion when I sat beside Grand Lady and she gave me her soft touch along with her words, I felt blessed by some sort of beauty that was larger than life.

Last spring, my daughter turned twelve, and I had only one wish. I wanted Hannah to go to Louisiana, as I had when I was her age. I wanted my ninety-two-year-old Grand Lady to touch Hannah's face and to give her the soft words that would go inside and bless her. I wanted Hannah to know the same mysterious beauty that had filled a solitary place in my spirit with hope.

No one, not even my husband, knew about my secret wish. If I had told Tom, he would have tried to scrape together the money, and I knew we didn't have it. We own a small business on a small island. The island of Maui. Yes, we are blessed to live there. We realize that. Visitors from around the world come to our shop to rent snorkel gear and tell us if they lived here they would never want to leave. Ididn't want to leave for good. Only for a week or so.

Then an unexpected twist caused my wish to come true.

The day school ended for the summer, Hannah and I took off on our adventure. We drove hundreds of miles with Arizona sunsets in the rearview mirror and Texas thunderstorms through the windshield. We arrived in Louisiana on a sultry summer's eve, and I felt as if we had stepped into a dream. Everything was familiar: the Big House, the cemetery, the Piggly Wiggly, even the pew where we sat beside Grand Lady on Sunday morning and I slipped my grown hand into hers.

Hannah shucked corn at Mr. Joe's fruit stand and ventured into the attic where she discovered Aunt Peg's sixty-year-old mothballed gowns. My sweet girl gathered gardenias by the basketful and wore them in her hair the night she lit up the evening sky with sparklers. We drank Southern sweet tea like hummingbirds and ate enough Louisiana black-eyed peas to last us for a good long while.

Then one afternoon, when I wasn't looking, Grand Lady touched my Hannah's face and gave her words that crushed her.

That was the day my story came and found me.

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