by Julie Cantrell


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Perennials 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 29 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Perennials is a story of a Mississippi family: estranged siblings and loving parents. Eva leaves Oxford to escape the lies her sister, Bitsey, continued to tell about her. She goes on to establish a successful career in Arizona but something is missing. When her father calls for her to come home early for her parents 50th anniversary, Eva is fearful that something is wrong. She returns to Oxford and finds Bitsey to be an antagonistic as ever. She helps work on a "prayer garden" for her mom's anniversary present. There are multiple story lines that finally converge with Eva and Bitsey learning to let go of old wounds and love again. I received this novel from Thomas Nelson to read and review. I expected a Christian novel. Much of the "spirituality" in the novel is based in Buddhism, the Buddhist prayer wheel, and Native American beliefs. Eva even has two "visions." If Cantrell brings this in this to show just how far Eva has come from the girl she was in Mississippi, it would be understandable, but she doesn't return to her former faith. The reader needs to be aware of this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read was so hard to put down. Loved this book have not read something this good in a long time
KrisAnderson_TAR More than 1 year ago
Perennials is a new novel by Julie Cantrell. Eva “Lovely” Sutherland grew up in Oxford, Mississippi. Thanks to her sister, Bitsy and her lies, Eva was quick to move to Phoenix when she turned eighteen. Laurel and Chief Sutherland will be celebrating their fiftieth wedding anniversary soon and they would like Eva to return home early. Eva just landed the account of her career with a tight deadline, but she agrees to return home. Unfortunately, Bitsy has not changed and is antagonistic (bitter, nasty, jealous). Eva helps her father plan a special memory garden as a surprise for her mother. It gives Eva a chance to work with her friend and former boyfriend, Fisher Oaklen as well as remember her dream of becoming a flower farmer. Eva is given an opportunity to look back on her life and decide what she wants for her future. Is it possible to go home again? Can Bitsy and Eva get past their differences? Perennials is a spiritual novel (not Christian) with focus on Buddhism. Yoga and Buddhism are frequently mentioned throughout the story (Buddhist prayer wheel, yoga poses, etc.). The one Christian thing mentioned repeatedly is “Judas has a story” (two sides to every story). Julie Cantrell is a descriptive writer. She paints a picture with words. Ms. Cantrell describes nature (flowers, trees, birds) and the town in detail. Some of the flower descriptions are lovely (people who enjoy gardening will appreciate it). I found Perennials to be a slow-paced story that failed to capture and hold my attention (it actually put me to sleep which is hard to do since I suffer from insomnia). It is basically a story of sibling rivalry (I could go down the street to my sisters to experience this type of behavior) with a predictable ending (it turned out exactly as I predicted when I started reading it).
WildflowerMom More than 1 year ago
A moving story filled with life lessons told in a lyrical Southern style. Loved all the lovely garden metaphors used to express a spiritual or inspirational message. They were fitting for the situations, and a perfect way to drop a bit of truth in the moments. Family dynamics, sibling tension, and emotional/psychological struggles made this a story to perfectly illustrate grace and forgiveness, the choice to let go and move on in life, overcoming the past. It had me reaching for the tissues more than once, especially towards the end. The beautiful historical setting of Oxford, Mississippi with its literary fame sounded like a perfect place for a road trip too. Recommend to readers who enjoy contemporary women's fiction with some romance and a spiritual message. (An e-book was provided by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.)
Sister-P More than 1 year ago
I have read every single book written by this author, and I can attest that she is a very talented writer. Julie Cantrell happens to be one of my favorite writers. Although I would not classify this book as Christian, Perennials is wholesome, with a meaningful message. If I had to some it up in a few words, I would say it is about love and forgiveness. My favorite character is Eva, who is also referred to as Lovey. She is the main protagonist whom I liked and related to. This book may be fiction, but it spoke volumes to me about overcoming and starting over. I was honored to receive an advanced copy of Perennials in exchange for an honest review. I highly recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A love-filled story of family, healing and the important things in life.
EpicFehlReader More than 1 year ago
Cantrell could've taken this story so much deeper, I think. So many of us are struggling with the familial strains she only lightly skims the surface of in this book. But because she only mildly skirted around these tensions, this novel didn't have quite as much punch as I was expecting. Some of the places where it fell short for me: * I sometimes got a little bored with Cantrell's interpretation of New Age themes, though I will admit Marian, the Sedona yogi, does give the readers some gems of dialogue from time to time * I felt Bitsy's bitterness was carried out a bit over-long in the story. * The plot overall is a little predictable. That phone call between Lovey and her father at the beginning of the book -- the 1st time he hesitates when she asks him what the rush is about, I knew where Cantrell was likely taking the story (because it's where SO many authors in this genre tend to want to take family dramas nowadays). Where this book DOES shine though: * Cantrell's story illustrating the danger in thinking that there'll always be time later on to tell loved ones how special they are to you, time to resolve differences etc. We're all guilty of it, but this story reminds readers that there's no time like the present to say your peace and share the love among family & friends. * Cantrell NAILS the "life is like a garden" type analogies. Seriously, some of the imagery she thinks up for her characters to speak had me like "Oh wow, that's good!" * I kept thinking this story could make a pretty good Southern drama movie, or at the very least an idea for a country music video LOL. There's even one scene in the book that illustrates how music can bring people together when nothing else will. * Cantrell shows some love for classic Southern literature: plenty of Faulkner references; as you can imagine, but I especially loved the Eudora Welty bits. Reminded me I need to get into some of her stuff again sometime soon! For book clubs --- or maybe garden clubs who also like to do reading on the side? -- there are discussion questions included in the back of the book, as well as an "Activity Sparks" page with prompts for creative projects inspired by scenes / characters from this novel. FTC Disclaimer: TNZ Fiction Guild kindly provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. The opinions above are entirely my own.
beckyfBF More than 1 year ago
I loved this book. Couldn't put it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have several flower gardens and si I loved the stories and lessons pertaining to flowers in this book. Love, Forgiveness! Family, Life Lessons. I couldn't quit reading this book, and also didn't want it to end!
jacksonmomLV More than 1 year ago
Wow! Another thrilling, keep-the-kleenex-close book from the talented Julie Cantrell. This novel tenderly shows us how a wounded sister examines her choices, past and present, and finally learns the timeless lessons of love and courage that empowered her parents' 50 years of marriage. Although I personally don't endorse the spirituality in this book, Lovey's moment of insight as she teaches her elderly parents yoga is a great summary of her dilemma: "It's bound to be one of the most peaceful moments we've ever shared. That's the paradox, isn't it? I can stay here and actually live the life I am trying to sell to the world. Or I can go back...sit in my cubicle, stare at a computer screen, and produce a campaign that encourages OTHER people to live the very lifestyle I'm experiencing right here and now without a single Jansana product in sight." With roots in Mississippi and Arizona, and known either by her official name, Eva, or her nickname, Lovey, she has given her heart to two men and taken it back. Is her duplicity really any different than her sister's life of lies? Or Reed's? This tale delicately yet relentlessly probes her scars and the words that caused them. Memorable characters (Fisher!), great historical tidbits (Eudora Welty, William Faulkner) and down-home reflections make this read a real winner. I love the honest way Lovey comes to face her own failures, not just her sister's- what a beautiful story of forgiveness and reconciliation. I received a copy of this book from the publisher via The Fiction Guild, and was not required to post a review.
RobbyeReviewer More than 1 year ago
I came to sympathize with Eva (nicknamed Lovey), the protagonist of Perennials. She feels betrayed by her older sister Bitsy. No matter which direction Lovey turns, Bitsy is doing everything in her power to hurt and destroy her. I could empathize with Lovey. I could imagine Lovey, at age 45, becoming tired of running. I could believe her seeing her father’s request to come for his and her mother’s 50th anniversary as a way to “come home again.” I was looking forward to reading Perennials, by Julie Cantrell. I had not read any of her books but had heard many good things about her work as an inspiration fiction writer. I think of the inspirational fiction genre as a publishing arm of the Christian community. You can imagine my surprise when I found the protagonist follows the teachings of her Buddhist mentor. I was even more surprised at allusions to Mary, Christ’s mother, speaking to and guiding other characters in the book. I love to learn from the novels I read. Julie Cantrell vividly weaves an abundance of flowers and trees into the story’s setting, along with information about the cities portrayed in the book. Perennials teaches about the color and greenery God has planted in His world. Perennials is an interesting story. It speaks to our heartfelt need for home and family, even under circumstances that are desperately difficult. The book resonated in my life; it inspires. I received this book from Fiction Guild. However, I was under no obligation to post a review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well this review is a struggle. The story is a good one. I enjoyed reading about Lovey "Eva" and her family and their struggle to get along in this crazy world. She finally comes home for her parents 50th anniversary then finds out her mother is sick. She tries to make peace with her sister who hates her. She works thru some old baggage and finally get alot of it worked thru. I struggled with the emphasis on yoga which is an eastern cult and how she tried to mesh this with Christianity. I have no desire to get involved with yoga and if I'd known it played such a big part of this book I probably would not have read it.
Laeljeanne More than 1 year ago
Lovey fled her beloved Oxford, Mississippi home, leaving her literature and garden filled childhood in her past, along with the fire her sister blamed on her that injured their friend Finn, and the love of his brother Fisher. Returning decades later to celebrate her parents' 50th anniversary, she faces her inexplicably hostile sister and her long lost love, whose relationship status is currently "it's complicated." Lovey navigates her emotions through family crises, complex relationships, and her own conflicting desires. Julie Cantrell can draw out emotions, from tears to joy. I found myself gasping out loud at the reveal of the anniversary garden. The imagery blooms forth like a southern garden in summer. If you've lived in the South, you know that you get lovely flowers all year round, but summer brings the biggest and boldest, and this novel with its garden theme made my heart beat faster at the beautiful imagery. Everything hit me as the reader as hard as it hit the main character Lovey, the pain of sibling rivalry in the truest sense of the word, the confusion of not understanding actions of people she loves, and the feels of breakthroughs when, after all these years, she finally feels that she's been heard. If you love Patti Callahan Henry, you will love Julie Cantrell. If you're Christian, Cantrell's religious undertones will enhance the story. I'm not, so it was a bit distracting for me, but the story is SO good.
hadassahmae More than 1 year ago
Published by: Thomas Nelson Written by: Julie Cantrell After reading about this book, I was anxious to have the chance to read and review it. Perennials tells the story of a woman who is hurting because of her past. This woman must come to peace with her family and the hurts that she received when she was young. Who This Book is For: Anyone who is looking for an interesting story with heart. What I liked: I really felt like I got to know every character in the book and they became like friends to me. The story is touching and I liked reading of the different relationships. The story is interesting and I was into the book the whole way through. There is a hopeful message in this book. This is a small thing, but I like the texture of this book and the feel of it in my hands. What I didn’t like: There is a bit of what I would call "new age" content in this book. Some of it didn't sit well with me. My conclusion: Overall, I liked this book. I give Perennials 4 out of 5 stars. I received this book free to review from BookLook. The opinions expressed in this review are my true thoughts and feeling regarding this book. I am disclosing this information in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
Deb-Krenzer More than 1 year ago
Wow, older sisters can be witches and that was certainly true of Bitsy. Wow!! Heartless and cutthroat to her younger sister, she has more barbs than a blackberry bush. Ha! This was a tale of family. The ups, downs, love, traditions, heartbreak and just plain old Southern charm. I resonated with these characters pretty early in the book and sped my way through this highly dysfunctional family's troubles. I do have to admit, I did have to skip a few pages of Lovey's "self talks". I did use several tissues at the end of this book. A great family saga that I truly enjoyed! Thanks to Thomas Nelson and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.
Glorysong2 More than 1 year ago
Perennials is a wonderfully written book with personal problems which are resolved. Cantrell brings the characters to life so that the reader feels the pain and angst. Bitsy and Lovey loved each other until they were ages 11 and 8, respectfully. Lovey still loved her sister, but didn't understand her hatred. Fast forward to when Lovey is 45, a successful advertising executive in Arizona. Her father (Chief) calls her to come home to Mississippi to help prepare for her parents 50th anniversary celebration. The subsequent conflict resolution makes Perennials a very good book. While this book is classified as Christian fiction, it gives too much emphasis on yoga and a spiritual guide than it does to God helping Lovey and her family achieve understanding. For this reason I gave the book 4 stars.
booksandbeverages More than 1 year ago
I always appreciate a novel that deals with difficult and hard topics. One such topic that often fits both of those descriptions? Family. And that’s exactly what Cantrell tackled with her latest release. While there were many pieces of this novel I enjoyed (her writing, her story building, her ode to classic authors and flowers), I have to confess, this wasn’t a favorite of mine. Bitsy was so terrible y’all (I promise that’s not a spoiler, it’s in the description). I know that was the point, but I haven’t not liked a character like that in a while. As the book went on, there were some reckonings and healings, but it was a hard come around for me. Even though I was incredibly frustrated with Bitsy’s narrative (and how everyone, but Lovey responded), I was reminded that sadly, this type of situation is reality for many families. I love Cantrell’s writing though and look forward to what’s next! If you love novels set in the south, this one might be worth checking out. (Thank you to BookLook Bloggers for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)
Cynthia181 More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book from The Fiction Guild. I was not required to give a favorable review. This was a wonderful story about family, life, death and what each of has to go through just to live. Bitsy is the older sister but feels her parents are giving her sister to much of the time and attention. Lovey (Eva) is the younger sister that doesn't feel she belongs, it start with a fire in the tool shed, that ends up hurting two of their friends, to little things as they grow up. Now Lovey has made a life in AZ and very rarely goes back to Mississippi to visit. But now her parents are going to be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary and she need to go home. So many things are going to chance and happen while she is there that makes her decide to come home for good. I loved this story because you need a few tissues, and understand the love the family brings.
Britney_Adams More than 1 year ago
Perennials is southern storytelling at its very best! Cantrell’s lyrical prose and exquisite descriptions evoke thought and emotion as the intricacies of family relations are explored. Lovey’s story is one of heartache and healing, and I savored the beauty and wisdom found in her journey. Poignant and perceptive, Perennials is not to be missed! I received a complimentary copy of this book. No review was required, and all thoughts expressed are my own.
Ellen-oceanside More than 1 year ago
Eva finally fleeing from being under her sister Bitsy to Arizona. Now awaiting a big contract, a success in her career at 45,wonders about her choices. Her dad summons her to come home for their anniversary, for three weeks., to build a memory garden. They never visited her in Arizona so she didn’t know what to expect. Is what she had thought all though years as true today. Her sister married and has two children, would she even be welcome. A love of doing the garden, becomes so much more, and readers will delight in them, and this story. Given ARC. by ?Thomas Nelson for my voluntary review and my honest opinion.
Fredreeca2001 More than 1 year ago
Eva is running from the past. She has created a new life for herself as an ad executive in Arizona. She is about to sign a huge account and then she is going to retire to the mountains. But, her parents have called her home for their anniversary celebration. She is not ready to face her past or her family, especially her sister.
I adore this book!! The story, the location, the family traditions, it all hits home! There were spots I had to put the book down and just sigh. I live an hour outside of Oxford and I graduated from Ole Miss so of course, this book became special the first time Oxford is mentioned.
Even though I gave this book a 5 star rating, it is not without problems. Eva, to me, came off as a little whiney and she doesn't stand up for herself when she should. There were places I wanted to GIBBS SLAP her. She is an ad executive and she didn't get there by being mousey. So when her sister treats her like crap and she takes it, that grates on my nerves.
Outside of that one minor flaw, this is a just an all around great tale about family and life's ups and downs. This story is full of southern charm. Julie Cantrell nailed Oxford, the south and it's traditions. She is a masterful storyteller and creates a true world which everyone should experience.
"There's no point in telling her the truth-that my hometown is a literary mecca filled with poet laureates and Pulitzer winners, a university community more diverse and well-read than any she's probably visited, much less called home" (quote about Oxford,MS.)
ShareeS More than 1 year ago
Julie Cantrell has told another outstanding story in her book, Perennials. I must admit I could not wait to read this one and I devoured it in no time. The heart wrenching story of a family torn apart over the years and forced to face hard painful trials. I was rooting for Eva from the beginning and though there were times I wanted her to react differently, her strength in her quiet responses was what made her character so powerful. The love in the Sutherland family was incomparable. The kind of people you wish lived next door because they would provide a cup of iced tea and wisdom in every interaction. Perennials is totally worth every single second spent reading it. Definitely a five out of five stars.
NanceeMarchinowski More than 1 year ago
Sisters, and the events and anguish that separate them are the essence of this heartrending story. A comment regarded as preference for one daughter over the other caused bitterness that persisted for a lifetime. Our perceptions of an imagined act of favoritism can eat away at the hearts of our very being. Lovey and Bitsy carried that misguided perception for years. The relationships that paralleled the lives of these sisters were troublesome and unpleasant. Their parents' 50th anniversary party brings the two together after a lengthy separation. Their family yearned that healing would begin if the sisters could see beyond the past and find forgiveness for one another. This author has a gift of developing strong and believable characters that create a clear picture of how each character functions. Most characters throughout this book are charming and engaging. I had a difficult time liking Lovey and Bitsy, and that influenced my reactions to this book. Names and nicknames affected me as trite and somewhat irritating. This may be a geographical difference and doesn't affect my rating of this book. The perennial gardens and literary connections add to the execution of this memorable story. That coupled with the relationship between the Sutherlands reveals that true love can survive the test of good and bad times. Adversity comes to all in different ways, and the reactions and actions that one takes has a profound effect on circumstances beyond our control. Detailed descriptions are breathtaking, and create an artistic portrait of the grandeur that defines Perennials! I highly recommend this very poignant work of art! Disclaimer: I purchased a copy of this book for my own pleasure. All expressed opinions are my own.
Bookaholic_Cindy More than 1 year ago
What a beautiful book! I loved everything about it. I was hooked from the beginning. The characters were well developed to the point where I honestly felt as if I knew them. They felt as if they were family and I loved then all. I love gardening and there is lots of flower info. The author describes the flowers, town, gardens, and houses so well, you will see it all in your mind. This isn't just a book. It's also filled with lots of inspirational sayings and quotes. This is going to be a book that I won't soon forget! Highly recommend Perennials and keep a tissue handy! * I was provided an ARC to read from the publisher and NetGalley. It was my decision to read and review this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was very difficult for me to forget this book once I’d finished it. Julie Cantrell is a prolific writer, and she does it in such a way that it makes you think…and reflect…and compare your personal life to those of the characters and wonder if you too need to improve. Lovey represents many of us – in that we’ve been hurt in our past and have no idea how to move on. To hold onto those hurts and allow them to shape our words, thoughts and actions seems childish, but the pain is very real. Although she had become a successful business woman, she had never really managed to move on – choosing instead to hide from the sources of her pain. But, her past was ever present. Her sister Bitsy was extremely difficult to like. She was mean and spiteful. Lovey took the blame many times from the hands of her only sister. Even worse, their parents often seemed to take Bitsy’s side and fully expected Lovey to “suck it up,” with no explanations. They made me angry many times because it seemed that they would work a little harder at doing their part. I appreciated the heart-to-heart talk she had with her father near the end. Even in the resolution – after Lovey found her own happiness – I could not help but wonder what would have happened if the resolution had been discovered a little sooner. I think the lessons Julie Cantrell intended for us to learn were very well addressed. First of all, family should always come first. Life is short, even when your parents have lived long, full lives. Secondly, don’t hide from your problems. Address and face them head-on. Thirdly, it’s never too late, not even for love. This was a solid effort from Julie Cantrell. It did not captivate me as much as her past works, but the message was well thought out and received.