Savannah Dawson makes her living at an advertising agency, creating commercials that link milk consumption to true love. But when it comes to tarot cards, she isn't making things up. And she has never picked a bad card--until the Three of Swords appears in her own fortune one night, promising sorrow...and a letter from her estranged mother reveals her father is dying.
With her rebellious teenage daughter in tow, Savannah goes to Arizona expecting the worst. And her fears are confirmed. Her mother is as distant as ever, her father will never recover, and the secretive wood carver helping her father build his final wish is stirring up feelings she has no use for. But hope still has a fighting chance in the town of Prescott. As the summer air grows heavy with scents from her father's lush garden, Savannah will discover a whole new magic...the kind that grows--quite literally--on trees.
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||4.19(w) x 6.88(h) x 0.98(d)|
Read an Excerpt
The Eight of Swords Warning
When people first moved to San Francisco, they often cried through the whole month of June. They'd had no idea the rain would come in daily and sideways, that fog would accumulate to the consistency of pureed potato soup. Old-timers, however, knew the secret to living happily in the city. They didn't ask for too much. No more than a few days of sunshine in autumn, a decent parking space, a fifteen-hundred-a-month studio
apartment. They certainly didn't ask for their hearts' desires, unless they were masochists to begin with and wanted to be hurt.
That was probably the reason Savannah Dawson had never made her living telling fortunes. No one trusted her ability to turn out one good fortune after another. Not only was she cheap--twenty dollars for half an hour and a ten-card tarot spread--she had never dealt the sorrow-filled Three of Swords. She promised anyone who walked through her door true love, yet only teenagers, the drunk, and the desperate took her up on it. They believed in little but destiny and grand passion, and Savannah assured them of both.
When the Devil came up, no one panicked. Savannah shrugged it off with a wave of ruby-red fingernails and told them they were going to lose something all right, but probably just those ten extra pounds or a tradition of lonely Saturday nights. By the time they put their twenty dollars in her tin, they were expecting greatness and no longer scared of a thing.
Savannah made her living working at San Francisco's Taylor Baines advertising agency. She headed up a creative team that had linked milk consumption with true love, but when it came to fortunes, she wasn't making things up. Take the case of the fifty-year-old spinster she'd told to look north for true love. The woman had gotten out a lawn chair, turned her back to the ineffective San Francisco sun, and refused to move. When the mailman she'd known forever came around the corner, carrying mace to ward off dogs, she wondered why she hadn't noticed before that his thinning hair turned gold in the sunlight. She started ordering from L. L. Bean, so he'd have to spend a few extra minutes lugging snowshoes and parkas she'd never use to her door, and every time he accepted her offer of fresh-squeezed lemonade, she got a little sick thinking of all the wasted time.
Even for a nonbeliever, like the gin-drinking man who only went to Savannah's house on a dare, there was no denying that when Savannah turned over the possibility-filled World card, his hair stood on end. He told everyone the fortune-teller was crazy. His wife had left him, his teenagers smoked pot and didn't listen to a word he said, and if some bejeweled psychic in a velvet-paneled room thought he was going to be happy, she was sadly mistaken. Still, the next night he didn't fix the gin and tonic the second he walked in the door. He stepped out on the back porch for a minute and was stunned by what he'd been missing during cocktail hour--an astonishing primary-colored sunset, shades of reds and yellows he had forgotten even existed. The wind scratched up clippings from his neighbor's freshly cut lawn, and his throat swelled. By the time he walked back in the house, he was a little bit taller, and that extra inch was pure hope.
Savannah had that kind of effect on people, so when she read her own fortune and the Three of Swords came up smack-dab in her own future, she could only sit back and stare at it.
Ramona Wendall, her best friend and a two-hundred-pound palm reader for fancy San Francisco parties, sat beside her on the leather couch in Savannah's house. Between them, they'd polished off a bottle and a half of Chianti, which hadn't made either of them the slightest bit drunk. Earlier, Savannah had let her fifteen-year-old daughter, Emma, have half a glass, and
now Emma slept like the dead behind the bedroom door she had recently taken to locking.
"Lookie there," Ramona said.
"I was bound to draw it eventually."
"It could mean anything," Savannah went on.
"Absolutely. Probably just a bad case of indigestion."
Savannah nodded, but she couldn't steady her silver bracelets after she laid out the rest of the cards. Her crossing card was the Eight of Swords, the bearer of bad news, her final result the Nine of Pentacles, reversed, a card of storms. Her destiny was the Chariot, which always meant radical movement or change. One man had gotten it in his destiny and, the next morning, withdrew
two hundred thousand dollars from his wife's savings account and disappeared
off the face of the earth. Ramona had gotten it the night before her husband, Stan, proposed, and she'd driven four hundred miles before she turned around
and decided to say yes. The Chariot meant to run, but where to was up for debate.
"Let's see," Savannah said, trying to find the thread of hope in the cards, the way she found it for everyone else. Even when a man came up with the Tower and the Five of Wands side by side, she didn't worry. The Tower might suggest ruin, and the Fives hard lessons to be learned, but often a good old-fashioned disaster was exactly what was needed to get a heart pumping right. Sometimes it took a hurricane to blow a woman out of a house she'd always hated anyway, or getting fired in the morning for a man to find
his dream job by nightfall.
"So what does it say?" Ramona asked.
"Bad news leading to sorrow."
"And then?" Ramona laughed and poured more wine. "Don't tell me there's no good part. Savannah Dawson, you've always got a good part."
Savannah looked at her best friend and smiled. "And when I don't, I fake it."
It had been obvious, when she was growing up, that Savannah took after her father, Doug, a man who could not find a fault in anyone--much to the disgust of his wife, Maggie. "The two of you have no taste," Maggie had always told them. "It's absolutely essential to hate a few people. Otherwise, how will you know when you fall in love?"
But Savannah had not given in. All the girls on her block in Phoenix had considered her their best friend, because Savannah could do French braids and was absolutely certain they would all find their hearts' desires. At nine, when she had her first premonition--Dorsey Levins would meet a soap opera star and end up in a beach house in Malibu--no one could get the girls out of her house, they loved her so much.
"Idiots," Maggie Dawson had called them.
On Savannah's eighteenth birthday, her mother hadn't let a single one of them into the house. "They only want you to promise them a happy life," Maggie had said, "and believe me, they'll sue when they don't get it." Then she leaned over Savannah's double-chocolate cake and blew out all eighteen candles.
"That's not fair," Savannah said. "You stole my wish."
"I did you a favor. Unfair things happen every day. Just get used to it."
"Don't tell me you didn't wish when you were eighteen."
Her mother began slicing the cake that no one was going to eat. "I wished for a life of my own, and I didn't get it."
Savannah stood up slowly. She had imagined herself anywhere but there thousands of times, but now she thought she saw her shadow leaving. It picked up a suitcase and disappeared into deep fog. It would take another six months for her to actually pack that suitcase, but as far as she was concerned, from that moment on she was gone.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Beautiful, poignant, inspirational, heartbreaking, lyrical. As Doug is dying of melanoma from the Arizona sun, he has hired Jake to build a custom bench, a last gift to his wife Maggie and his daughter Savannah. Savannah has brought his 15-year-old daughter Emma with her from San Francisco, and passes the time telling the fortunes of her parents' neighbors with tarot cards. There's a hint of magickal realism mixed in to her tarots, and a ghost that haunts Jake's cabin. Almost every character has his or her own arc, and with the use of limited omniscient POV, we get to dip into many, many heads. We're in Savannah's head, and that of her daughter, Emma; we're in her father Doug's head, and her love interest, Jake's head. We are in Savannah's mother Maggie's head, to find out what makes her so mean and tough on the outside, we're in Emma's boyfriend's head and the sheriff's head, and even in a DOG's head, for crying out loud. Yet it never felt overwhelming to me, nor head-hoppy, though it did mean that the character's internal voices were nearly identical in style, of always gorgeous. Describing the end of her marriage (Savannah): "She and Harry sold their picture-perfect house which had a central vacuum system and his and her sinks, but never enough air." From Emma's POV, about her boyfriend: "He looked like one big ball of pain, so she kissed him again, harder, until he uncurled right into the palm of her hand." There are elements that could be very triggering: Doug's physical deterioration is described in vivid detail, down to his humiliation at depending on someone else to clean his odorous body. The beatings endured by Jake's mother at the hands of his stepfather. Sex happens, but it's not particularly graphic. Everything is described in very sensual terms, colors, scents, sounds, and the use of individual tarot cards as a header for each chapter is brilliant.
In San Francisco, single mother Savannah Dawson is a successful advertising executive. Her teenage daughter Emma is going through angst and rebellion that leaves Savannah weary and wondering what happened to her sweet little girl. Savannah also enjoys reading Tarot Cards until she makes a bad selection. Not long after, Savannah receives a letter from her estranged mother Maggie informing her that her father is dying. For the first time in six years, Savannah accompanied by Emma return to Arizona to visit her dad Doug. At her parents¿ Prescott home, she meets Jake Grey, who is building a special bench in Doug¿s garden. As she struggles with her nasty daughter, her mean-spirited mother, and her cancer-wracked father, Savannah finds solace with Jake. However, Jake has secrets that make a lasting relationship seem unlikely. THE WISHING GARDEN is a fantastic relationship drama. The story line is loaded with poignancy as the readers see inside the soul of several charcaters. None of the cast is perfect or totally villainous though at first glance the audience might categorize Maggie as such. In actuality, she resents her tossing away her ambitions to support Doug¿s choices. Even Savannah¿s ex is fully supportive of her taking her daughter to Arizona. Though none of the characters except perhaps Jake resemble anything likable, all of them seem real and their interplay, including that of the oldest canine, seems spiteful but genuine. Christy Yorke has written a deep character study that will provide much enjoyment to sub-genre fans. Harriet Klausner
In San Francisco, single mother Savannah Dawson is a successful advertising executive. Her teenage daughter Emma is going through angst and rebellion that leaves Savannah weary and wondering what happened to her sweet little girl. Savannah also enjoys reading Tarot Cards until she makes a bad selection. Not long after, Savannah receives a letter from her estranged mother Maggie informing her that her father is dying. For the first time in six years, Savannah accompanied by Emma return to, Arizona to visit her dad Doug. At her parents¿ Prescott home, she meets Jake Grey, who is building a special bench in Doug¿s garden. As she struggles with her nasty daughter, her mean-spirited mother, and her cancer-wracked father, Savannah finds solace with Jake. However, Jake has secrets that make a lasting relationship seem unlikely. THE WISHING GARDEN is a fantastic relationship drama. The story line is loaded with poignancy as the readers see inside the soul of several charcaters. None of the cast is perfect or totally villainous though at first glance the audience might categorize Maggie as such. In actuality, she resents her tossing away her ambitions to support Doug¿s choices. Even Savannah¿s ex is fully supported of her taking her daughter to Arizona. Though none of the characters except perhaps Jake resemble anything likable, all of them seem real and their interplay including that of the oldest canine spiteful but genuine. Christy Yorke has written a deep character study that will provide much enjoyment to sub-genre fans. Harriet Klausner
Christy Yorke tells a beautiful story about the depths of family devotion, and how we never really lose anyone, not if we love them enough. The tarot cards add an interesting, magical touch, while the story stays rooted in the real truths of family, love, and loyalty. Don't miss this one.