In 1957 jobs are scarce in rural Ashland, Alabama. Bobby Higgins is facing life decisions; his family's farm struggles and threat of the draft hangs over 18-year-old males as the Cold War rumbles in the distance. Bobby heads off to boot camp, vowing to provide for his family from his pay. Between shore and sea duty, Bobby leaves broken hearts in every port. When his own heart is stolen by Rose, he's shocked to learn that she comes with four daughters, a package deal he's unsure he wants. But when Rose disappears, Bobby finds her and persuades her to marry him. Somehow they navigate their way through the trials of marriage and parenting as he fulfills his patriotic career and his promise to raise four willful daughters. In the spring of 2004, his daughters are brought together by grief. They forge new bonds, sharing their joys, losses, regrets, and ultimately family secrets that will seal all their fates...if they can summon the courage to report for duty.
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About the Author
Kathleen Varn's love affair with words manifested when she turned four and taught herself to read. As she grew older, books and reading were an escape from responsibility. Eventually, Kathleen dove into journaling, which helped her find solace in the grief of a toxic relationship. Kathleen is now very happily married to her soulmate. She resides in Charleston, South Carolina, where she worked for an adoption attorney for twenty-three years. Her first novel, Ameera Unveiled, released in 2013. Gardenia Duty is her second novel.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Gardenia Duty based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
I received a free electronic copy of this self-published novel on November 1, 2019, from Netgalley & BookReviewBuzz and author Kathleen Varn and Gatekeeper Press. Thank you so much for sharing your hard work with me. I have read Gardenia Duty of my own volition, and this review reflects my personal, honest opinion of this work. I am pleased to recommend this novel for friends and family. This novel is well-paced with sympathetic characters and covers different time frames and three generations, written in both masculine and feminine voices, and makes simple the trials of life - especially of military family life (including a tour in Vietnam) and that of step-families and southern cultures. Add to that the effects of birth order of these daughters and you have a very interesting potpourri of trouble... That makes it sound complicated - it isn't. What it is, is a book that is compelling and ends almost too soon. Bobby and Rose are Boomers. It is a second marriage for Rose - and she brings 4 daughters to the marriage. Navy man Bobby is the main focus of that generation and the daughters carry us through the 70s and '80s, with their children following through into the present. If you are a military brat you will recognize your life in spades. If you are not, you will grow to appreciate more those who have experienced the constantly changing background of life on the move. pub date June 2019 rec Nov 1, 2019
Gardenia Duty by Kathleen Varn is the story of a Navy family. Rose marries a Naval officer and they have four girls. She cannot deal with his total absorption in his job and the long months of being a single mom. They divorce. Later she meets Bobby, also a Navy man who has so far managed to stay single. But Rose and her four girls find a place in Bobby's heart. He marries Rose and loves her daughters as though they were his own. Then Bobby dies and the four girls come home for his funeral. What follows are memories of their childhood along with current lives. It is a sweet story of how a step-dad loves and molds his step-daughters, and the sacrifices all of them make living as a naval family. There is drinking and some foul language (stereotypical of Navy men and women). If you can skip over those parts, there is a beautiful story of family -- the good, bad, and sometimes ugly -- who love each other. A story of four sisters who grow up thankful for a step-dad like Bobby. There is a surprise thread running through the book that will be revealed at the end.
Women's Fiction with a Naval Bend This is a deeply moving bit of Women's Fiction that is sure to tweak your heartstrings. Much of it is based upon Naval Duty. Partly about the young mother at home trying to keep the pieces together. Part of it about the young Sailor who is trying his best to balance his duty and his family. Part of that is the sailor not telling his loved ones about the dangers and the parents never letting the children worry about war. All of this delicate balance is performed in concert with having a strong character, morals, and love of family and country. If I had written it, I would have added the strong Christian ethic that you find in military families. This is a wonderful book that I am sure to read again. I received this ARC book for free from Booksprouts and this is my honest review.
This is a lovely book full of joy and heartache. It's told from different times and points of view with seamless transitions. Bobby is introduced as he is preparing to join the navy. Rose and her four daughters join the story as a family unit. I quickly grew fond of these characters and I cared about them as I discovered what was in store for them. This is a satisfying story that portrays family life at its best while life carries them forward in good and sometimes awful circumstances. I received an Advanced Reader's Copy from Gatekeeper Press through NetGalley. The opinions expressed are completely my own. #GardeniaDuty #NetGalley
Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite Gardenia Duty by Kathleen Varn is the story of a man who wasn’t looking for love, but when love did find him, he realized that it had more layers than he ever anticipated. Set in 1957, in this story Bobby Higgins is facing some tough times and he has to make some decisions before it is too late for him. As his family is suffering, the Cold War is raging and jobs are almost non-existent, so he leaves for boot camp where he promises himself to offer the best he can for his family. While there were plenty of women to keep him satisfied and happy, he never met a woman who made him want to stay. That is until he met the pretty Rose. He falls for her hard and fast, but she comes with a surprise package. She has four daughters who are at once vulnerable yet so strong. Now Bobby has to make the decision of a lifetime once again. Can he marry Rose and take on the responsibility of her four girls? This is such a beautiful tale of love, acceptance, familial bonds and just becoming a family. Bobby and Rose created this wonderful atmosphere with their love and affection for each other and their little girls. Bobby’s reaction to finding out that the woman he loves has four girls was believable and very real. It would be a hard reality and a tough decision for anyone and the author did a great job of not only making her characters believable but also relatable. It is the small things that count and can heighten the experience of a reader. Kathleen Varn set the pace just right, allowed readers to get invested, connect with the characters and enjoy the story as if they were watching a 3D movie. This descriptive, vivid piece of writing is definitely one of my favorites! An absolute gem!