Fresh Water for Flowers

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A chance meeting with a man visiting a cemetery in France leads to the remembrance of one fateful night and a lifetime of regret. In Fresh Water for Flowers, her debut novel, which really goes to show how debuts can be great works, Valerie Perrin plumbs the depths of motherhood, life on the streets, and regret when telling her story.

Violette Toussaint is a cemetery keeper in France. Her husband left her one day and never came back, while her only child died in a tragic accident, involving a shocking twist that I will not give away here. All this comes crashing back when a mysterious stranger shows up one day with a strange request: to place the ashes of his mother on the grave of a complete stranger. Will Violette be able to live once more or will she continue to hide herself among the sorrows?

Even though it is thoroughly French, and it often mentions locations and life in France, it is an extremely well-written book that was frankly difficult to put down. Moving back and forth through time, location, and character, we get to see a troubled first marriage that should not have happened, and finally, the chance of redemption.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 476 pages
Publish Date 2020-07-07
ISBN 9781609455958 Buy this Book
Issue October 2020
Category Popular Fiction


  1. Johanna

    A book that gets even better on a second read! The complex story richly unfolds in a nonlinear fashion from the 1980’s to 1990’s as the main character, Violette Toussaint, reflects on the mysteries of her life: the abandonment by her mother, her many loves and losses, her commitment to stability, her friendships and her indomitable spirit for happiness. Though Violette is a cemetery caretaker (keeper), her story is filled with joie de vive!

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