A 2020 INDIES INTRODUCE PICK
A POIGNANT RUNAWAY BESTSELLER full of French charm and memorable characters, Fresh Water for Flowers is Valérie Perrin's English debut.
Violette Toussaint is the caretaker at a cemetery in a small town in Bourgogne. Casual mourners, regular visitors, and sundry colleagues--gravediggers, groundskeepers, and a priest--visit her to warm themselves in her lodge, where laughter, companionship, and occasional tears mix with the coffee she offers them. Her life is lived to the rhythms of their funny, moving confidences.
Violette's routine is disrupted one day by the arrival of Julien Sole--local police chief--who insists on scattering the ashes of his recently deceased mother on the gravesite of a complete stranger. It soon becomes clear that Julien's inexplicable gesture is intertwined with Violette's own difficult past.
With Fresh Water for Flowers, Valérie Perrin has given readers an intimately told story that tugs on the heartstrings about a woman who believes obstinately in happiness, despite it all. A number one bestseller in France, Fresh Water for Flowers is a heartwarming and tender story that will stay will readers for years after the final page is turned.
"Thundering applause. And, believe us, the word 'thunder' is not too strong."--La Marseillaise
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About the Author
Valérie Perrin is a photographer and screenwriter who works with Claude Lelouch. Her first novel, Les Oubliés du Dimanche, has won numerous prizes, including the 2016 Lire Élire and Poulet-Malassis prizes.
★ "Savor every page of Valérie Perrin's irresistible novel, which, despite its deaths, betrayals, and affairs, is a triumphant celebration of life and love."--ForeWord Reviews (Starred Review)
"A tender and poignant exploration of love, loss, and redemption...This enchanting indulgence in nature, drink, food, and friends is worth a look."--Publishers Weekly
"Full of contentment and hope...Fans of Elizabeth Berg will enjoy this thoughtful take on the inner life of an unforgettable woman."--Booklist
"Colorful and highly enjoyable and pulled together by an engaging narrator."--Kirkus Reviews
"The story fluctuates between extremes with stylish elegance. It is melancholic and yet ebullient...What may on the surface of it appear gloomy and morose, in Perrin's hands is an appealing indulgence in nature, food and drink, and, above all, friendships."--The Guardian
"The balance between laughter and tears is spot on."--Lire
"A bad, bad, bad case of love at first read. This is a splendid, moving book."--C'est au programme
"Readers will be transported by the poetic gentleness of the narration, by the generous gaze that the two protagonists cast over human affairs, by the desire for peace that both Julian and Violette have, and by the welcome dose of humor. . . Readers will not be disappointed."--La Croix
"This may be my favorite book of 2020. It's only February, but I can hardly imagine another novel surpassing the pure loveliness of this one. The individuality and depth of her characters, the perfect measure of her prose, create a world where beauty, hope, grief and love commingle. The story of Violette the cemetery keeper -- the story of all the characters -- is so perfectly drawn. This is a novel of astonishing humanity accomplished with an art so subtle it will take your breath away."--Mary McDonald, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI
"The story mixes quirky characters, one dark plot line and entranced me with its quiet joy."--Kathi Kirby, Powell's Books, Portland, OR
"This book left me breathless and in tears! Fell in love with Violette and her entourage of characters from the first page and was mesmerized until the last word. Perrin has penned a story of life with love, loss, yearning, sadness and all of the emotions that humans experience during their lifetimes. And it is ultimately a love story written beautifully. Loved it!!!!!"--Stephanie Crowe, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL
"Gorgeous--reading it was almost as if I was being baptized by Violette's present as a cemetery keeper, in its comfort, stability and floral surroundings, into the pool of her melancholic past, from first loves to devastating losses, the air and water all but the same medium at the end of the day. It truly gripped each and every one of my emotions, from fear and sorrow, to elation and sentimentality."--Cat Chapman, Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL
"The only way I can describe this book is that it's an epic. No, not 'epic' (though it is certainly that), but AN epic of Homerian proportions that delves deeply and into the lives of its characters as opposed to focusing only on its main character (Violette, the cemetery keeper) the entire time. It is contemporary fiction, a murder mystery, a thriller, a tragedy, and a romance all rolled into one."--Katie MacKendrick, librarian, Denver Public Library
"This is one of those special books that defy description and make you glad it was written!"--Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books & Music, Sunriver, OR
"I've never wanted so desperately to hang out with a literary character. Violette is the type of person you feel like you could spend hours with...Reading [Fresh Water for Flowers] was truly a magical experience."--Quentin Greif, Little City Books, Hoboken, NJ
"Fresh Water for Flowers is a moving and lyrical portrait of one woman's quest for happiness and love. A splendid work that will keep readers absorbed to the last page. A charming must-read."--Lindsey Bartlett, formerly of Ellen Plumb's City Bookstore, Emporia, KS
"This story is simply beautiful. Fresh, fun, and so unique."--Kappy Kling, HearthFire Books, Evergreen, CO