The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman \\ Sweet, Sassy and Hopeful

May 5, 2017 // Posted by Lisa in Reviews // 6 Comments

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman \\ Sweet, Sassy and HopefulThe Garden of Small Beginnings
by Abbi Waxman
Release Date: May 2nd 2017
Publisher: Berkley Books
Narrator: Emily Rankin
Length: 9 hrs and 51 mins
Genres: Women's Fiction
Format: Audiobook, eARC
Source: Publisher
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & NobleAudible
One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star

Lilian Girvan has been a single mother for three years—ever since her husband died in a car accident. One mental breakdown and some random suicidal thoughts later, she’s just starting to get the hang of this widow thing. She can now get her two girls to school, show up to work, and watch TV like a pro. The only problem is she’s becoming overwhelmed with being underwhelmed.

At least her textbook illustrating job has some perks—like actually being called upon to draw whale genitalia. Oh, and there’s that vegetable-gardening class her boss signed her up for. Apparently being the chosen illustrator for a series of boutique vegetable guides means getting your hands dirty, literally. Wallowing around in compost on a Saturday morning can’t be much worse than wallowing around in pajamas and self-pity.

After recruiting her kids and insanely supportive sister to join her, Lilian shows up at the Los Angeles Botanical Garden feeling out of her element. But what she’ll soon discover—with the help of a patient instructor and a quirky group of gardeners—is that into every life a little sun must shine, whether you want it to or not…

lisa chats

Lili is struggling to move on after the loss of her husband, who died in a tragic motor vehicle accident. Her sister, Rachel, stepped in and helped her with the raising of her two young daughters, and still continues to help to this day. Lili has become a creature of habit. Her life is structured and predictable, and with the help of Rachel, Lili has never even thought about the possibility of love again.

After Lili’s job assigns her to a unique project of illustrating a gardening book, Lili takes on a gardening class to get all the details needed to illustrate this book to her very best ability. There she meets a whole group of fun and entertaining characters, and this is where the story really picked up for me. From one scene to the next, I was belly-laughing out loud. Abbi Waxman truly brought these characters to life. With her sassy writing style and hilarious characters, I quickly fell in love with this story and wanted to see how it would turn out.

Though this story was largely based around Lili’s lack of love interest and struggle with moving on after the loss of her husband, it never felt sad or overly emotional. It had a constant upbeat feel that went perfectly with the silliness of the story. This was definitely one I had a lot of fun reading, and I feel that it would be a perfect read for a day at the beach or a reading out in the sun. Now that I know how fun Abbi’s writing is, I’m definitely looking forward to more from her.


I was lucky enough to receive a copy of this book on audio as well, so I was able to listen to a bit of it, as well as reading it. I really loved Emily Rankin’s narration. With a sassy and snarky-at-times writing style, it takes a talented narrator to bring this all to life, and Emily surely did that! I have to admit that narrations involving small children often irk me a bit, but this one wasn’t too bad. (Adult baby voices make me want to scream.) I loved how Lili was portrayed EXACTLY how I was picturing her while reading. I’d definitely recommend going the audio route with this one.

lets chat

Have you read The Garden of Small Beginnings? Is it on your TBR? Is a sassy and snarky writing style something you look for, like I do?



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  • This sounds so fun! I like that the story was so upbeat even though it dealt with some sad topics. I’m going to be on the lookout for this one. Great review, Lisa!

  • Julie

    I’m glad you enjoyed this one Lisa! I won an ARC of it through Goodreads and have been hoping to get around to reading and reviewing it soon. I’m even more eager after reading your review! I love it when a book can cover a heavy topic without dragging me down too much emotionally. I did read the first few pages and really enjoyed the author’s writing style. I’ve added it to my May TBR. It sounds like the perfect book for Spring! 🙂

  • I have this one on my TBR for this month. Sounds like a fun book!!! Great review!