BKMT READING GUIDES

The Unfinished Garden
by Barbara Claypole White

Published: 2012-08-28
Paperback : 384 pages
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James Nealy is haunted by irrational fears and inescapable compulsions. A successful software developer, he's thrown himself into a new goal—to finally conquer the noise in his mind. And he has a plan. He'll confront his darkest fears and build something beautiful: a garden. When he meet...
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Introduction

James Nealy is haunted by irrational fears and inescapable compulsions. A successful software developer, he's thrown himself into a new goal—to finally conquer the noise in his mind. And he has a plan. He'll confront his darkest fears and build something beautiful: a garden. When he meets Tilly Silverberg, he knows she holds the key…even if she doesn't think so.

After her husband's death, gardening became Tilly's livelihood and her salvation. Her thriving North Carolina business and her young son, Isaac, are the excuses she needs to hide from the world. So when oddly attractive, incredibly tenacious James demands that she take him on as a client, her answer is a flat no.

When a family emergency lures Tilly back to England, she's secretly glad. With Isaac in tow, she retreats to her childhood village, which has always stayed obligingly the same. Until now. Her best friend is keeping secrets. Her mother is plotting. Her first love is unexpectedly, temptingly available. And then James appears on her doorstep.

Away from home, James and Tilly forge an unlikely bond, tenuous at first but taking root every day. And as they work to build a garden together, something begins to blossom between them—despite all the reasons against it.

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Excerpt

Tilly leaned over the railing and prodded the copperhead with the yard broom. Nothing much scared her these days other than snakes and hospitals, which she found oddly depressing. You needed jolts of fear, little hits of adrenaline, to appreciate the buzz of life. ... view entire excerpt...

Discussion Questions

From the author:

James is an unlikely hero. What do you think draws Tilly to him?

Why do you think issues of control appear repeatedly in the novel?

What obstacles, if any, do you see for James and Tilly in the future?

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