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Where Lilacs Still Bloom

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Where Lilacs Still Bloom

A Novel
One woman, an impossible dream, and the faith it took to see it through. German immigrant and farm wife Hulda Klager possesses only an eighth-grade education--and a burning desire to create something...
One woman, an impossible dream, and the faith it took to see it through. German immigrant and farm wife Hulda Klager possesses only an eighth-grade education--and a burning desire to create something...
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Description-
  • One woman, an impossible dream, and the faith it took to see it through.

    German immigrant and farm wife Hulda Klager possesses only an eighth-grade education--and a burning desire to create something beautiful. What begins as a hobby to create an easy-peeling apple for her pies becomes Hulda's driving purpose: a time-consuming interest in plant hybridization that puts her at odds with family and community, as she challenges the early twentieth-century expectations for a simple housewife.

    Through the years, seasonal floods continually threaten to erase her Woodland, Washington garden and a series of family tragedies cause even Hulda to question her focus. In a time of practicality, can one person's simple gifts of beauty make a difference?

    Based on the life of Hulda Klager, Where Lilacs Still Bloom is a story of triumph over an impossible dream and the power of a generous heart.

    "Beauty matters... it does. God gave us flowers for a reason. Flowers remind us to put away fear, to stop our rushing and running and worrying about this and that, and for a moment, have a piece of paradise right here on earth."

    From the Trade Paperback edition.

 
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  • From the book

    Prologue1948

    It's the lilacs I'm worried over. My Favorite and Delia and City of Kalama, and so many more; my as yet unnamed
    double creamy-white with its many petals is especially vulnerable.

    I can't find the seeds I set aside for it, lost in the rush to move out of the rivers' way, get above Woodland's lowlands
    now underwater. So much water from the double deluge of he Columbia and the Lewis. Oh, how those rivers can rise in
    the night, breaching dikes we mere mortals put up hoping to stem the rush of what is as natural as air: water seeping, rising, pushing, reshaping all within its path.

    I watch as all the shaping of my eighty-five years washes away.

    My only surviving daughter puts her arm around my shoulder, pulls me to her. Her house is down there too, water
    rising in her basement. We can't see it from this bluff.

    "It'll be all right, Grandma. We're all safe. You can decide later what to do about your flowers," my grandson Roland
    tells me.

    "I know it. All we can do now is watch the rivers and pray no one dies."

    How I wish Frank stood beside me. We'd stake each other up as we did through the years. I could begin again with him at my side. But now uncertainty curls against my old spine, and I wonder if my lilacs have bloomed their last
    time.

    One
    Food for Thought
    Hulda, 1889

    Daffodils as yellow as the sun, ruby tulips, and a row of purple lilacs from the old country border the house I live
    in with my husband, Frank, our three young children (ages eight, five, and three), and next month, if all goes well, our
    fourth child. We are hoping for a boy. My parents live with us, but only for a few more months. They've built a new house near Woodland, Washington. We'll be moving too, to a farm of our own south of Whelan Road. We'll still be within a few miles of each other, a close-knit family of German Americans captured by this lush landscape between the Lewis and Columbia Rivers. We call where we live the Bottoms. It's made up of black soil that was once the bottom of those great rivers--and sometimes becomes so again with the floods. We hope our new places will be less prone to flooding, though it's the nature of rivers to rise with the spring thaws. We live with it.

    My mother and children have dug daffodil and dahlia bulbs, snipped lilac starts to plant, and my sisters and brother
    and neighbors will give us sprouts from their bushes once we move, which is the custom. A lilac says "Here is a place to stay," and how perfect that such promise of permanence should come from family and friends?

    We can't move the apple orchard. But I wielded my grafting knife and wrapped the shoots, scions they're called, in
    sawdust and stored them in the barn earlier this year when the trees were dormant. Today I'll graft them onto saplings at my parents' new house, so one day there'll be an apple orchard there. I've also stepped into the uncommon for a simple house Frau: I've grafted a Wild Bismarck apple variety known for its crispness with a Wolf River, an apple of a larger size.

    My father encouraged such dappling with nature--and that I keep my efforts quiet, at least for a time.

    It was April, and we tied the scions onto the saplings he'd started as soon as he knew they'd be building the house. I
    liked working with my father in the orchard, a misty rain giving way to sunbreaks, and the aroma of cedar and pine
    drifting down from the surrounding hills in the shadow of Mount St. Helens. So much seems possible in such vibrant
    landscapes. A garden is the edge of possibility.

    He was a great storyteller and advice giver, my father, though this day his story...

About the Author-
  • After 26 years living on Starvation Lane on a remote ranch in Oregon, Jane Kirkpatrick and her husband, Jerry, moved back to Bend, Oregon where they'd lived years before. Two dogs and a formerly outdoor cat made the transition well as they begin a new life next to a lily pond instead of the John Day River. Where Lilacs Still Bloom is Jane's twenty-second book, her nineteenth novel. She has two lilacs from Hulda Klager's garden.

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    The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
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Where Lilacs Still Bloom
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A Novel
Jane Kirkpatrick
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Jane Kirkpatrick
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