It sounds paradoxical to say that I found this profoundly sad story buoyant, but I did. To borrow from the title, this beautifully written memoir balances between 'trying times' and 'victory,' between the pain of Peter Kavanagh's cancer and the inspiring courage and optimism of the couple. And through it all runs Goodwin's garden — a retreat, a symbol of hope and a reminder that our life, like her gorgeous vegetables, has a beginning and an end.
Katherine Ashenburg, author of Sophie & Cecilia
A compelling and intimate reflection on love and grief and ordinary things that comfort and sustain us — like getting your hands dirty. A timeless journey for anyone who finds beauty in the light that filters through a canopy of trees or the damp sweet smell of freshly turned earth.
Alison Smith, award-winning journalist
Victory Garden for Trying Times is about gardening the way Izaac Walton's The Compleat Angler is about fishing or Herman Melville's Moby Dick is about whaling. Much of this story is about cloves and carrots and tomatoes and weeds and such. But it's also a touching love story that will break your heart. The Victory Garden of the title refers to vegetable patches ordinary people cultivated in wartime. Researching, planning and eventually cultivating her own backyard modern Victory Garden was a hobby that became a backdrop for the larger story: the desperate battle her husband was waging against cancer. The parallel tale is the intriguing history of the real wartime Victory Gardens. And sprinkled throughout are actual tips on gardening. But, it’s essentially a story of the heart, with a sweet and compelling mix of grief and tenderness.
Dan Bjarnason, author of Triumph at Kapyong
A moving recounting of love and loss and the attempt to find solace though a 'Victory' garden. The name is sadly ironic at first, and then becomes a form consolation in the end. I read the second half of this heartbreaking memoir in one sustained session because I needed to know the details of how the story ended. After setting it down, I thought about the book all evening and over breakfast the next day. This powerful afterlife of a book in the reader's mind is a sign of its great power — I enjoyed it immensely.
Antanas Sileika, author of Buying on Time
With bare sincerity, Debi Goodwin takes us through the struggle of her winter, to spring seedlings unfolding with hope, to the longing for summer in the midst of summer. And when the light shifts in autumn, she sheds new meaning on victory itself.
Jackie Kai Ellis, bestselling author of The Measure of My Powers