The Unfinished Garden-Barbara Claypole White

The Unfinished Garden

Barbara Claypole White

Mira, Aug 28 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9780778314127

 

In rural North Carolina, Widow Tilly Silverberg raises her eight years old son Isaac and runs a landscape business as she loves gardens.  She misses her late husband David who died three years ago but vows to be there for Isaac who loves “Tarheel” dirt though Tilly would rather be home in England.

 

Successful software developer James Nealy wants a normal life, but that means controlling his obsessive compulsive disorder that compels him to act even when he logically knows he should not.  James thinks a garden would enable him to take his mind off the OCD impulses to avoid dirt and germs.  He pleads with Tilly to help him, but she refuses as she dislikes his ordering her to do so.  When her mom gets hurt, Tilly and Isaac head to England to be there for her.  Her former boyfriend and his child are there while James needs to follow her though he knows she will think he is a stalker.

 

The Unfinished Garden is a strong character study that enables the reader to sympathize with the grieving mother and son, and to empathize with germaphobic OCD sufferer James while also wondering if he can accept no (and whether he could turn dangerous).  His compassion even more than his compulsions bring freshness to the storyline as he is much more than just a disorder although dealing with his shtick can be nerve-wracking on those who want to play in his garden. 

 

Harriet Klausner

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