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  • Where Lilacs Still Bloom
  • Written by Jane Kirkpatrick
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  • Where Lilacs Still Bloom
  • Written by Jane Kirkpatrick
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Where Lilacs Still Bloom

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A Novel

Written by Jane KirkpatrickAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Jane Kirkpatrick



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List Price: $9.99

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On Sale: April 17, 2012
Pages: 400 | ISBN: 978-0-307-72942-2
Published by : WaterBrook Press Religion-Business-Forum

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Read by Kimberly Farr and Susan Denaker
On Sale: April 17, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-449-00889-8
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Synopsis|Excerpt

Synopsis

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.”

Excerpt

Prologue
1948

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 surprised. “Don’t tell Frank right away,” he told me. “Let him think you’re just grafting plain old apples to help us extend the orchard.”

“Frank wouldn’t mind.”

“In time—when you have the final result in hand. But Frank discourages you. I see it, Hulda.” I pushed at my frizzy
walnut-brown hair and stared at him. “He dismisses your interests if they go beyond your children and him.”

“It’s a woman’s duty to meet her family’s needs.”

“Meet their needs first. But you want a crisper, bigger apple too,” he said. “Nothing wrong with that.”

“I do. I get so annoyed at those mealy things that hang on to their peels like bark to a tree.”

He nodded. “Some would say that meddling with nature isn’t wise. Frank might agree—especially if the one meddling
is a mother who should be content with looking after her family.”

I stood, using my hoe to help me and my burgeoning belly up. I was nearly as tall as my father. He liked Frank; at
least I always thought he did. My love and admiration for both men were rooted deep. It felt strange to defend my husband to my father. “You’re wrong, Papa.” I pushed my pointy straw hat back. “Frank’s a good helpmate for me. And he’ll like having more pies.”

My father tied another scion onto a branch, making sure the cambium was fully covered in the slanted cut I’d made so
the two would bond securely. “You have a gift, Hulda. You can see distinctive things in plants. You see the possibility,
like a crisper, larger apple and then imagine it into being.” He lifted another scion as emphasis. “Those are gifts few have, and people can be envious.”

My father had never granted me such a compliment, and I was both pleased that he noticed and humbled that he
shared it. “Not Frank,” I insisted.

“Not everyone understands that we are all created to have complicated challenges and dreams. We must honor our longings, then go beyond them whether others support us or not.”

I wondered if he spoke of my mother. Did she resent my father’s dreams that took us from Germany to Wisconsin,
Minnesota, San Francisco, then back to Wisconsin, and then here to the Lewis River of the new state of Washington? My father had many longings: farming, becoming a brewmaster, investing in creameries and cheese factories before the landscape was dotted with cows. He’d done all those. Now logging interested him, and he’d built a big two-story house; yet another adventure that meant more change for my mother—and the rest of us too.

“My dream is to raise my family.” I didn’t see getting a crisper apple as any budding desire. I wasn’t rising beyond my
station. “These apples will make life better for them.” I was merely an immigrant housewife wanting to save time peeling apples.

“Just think of what I’ve said.” He wrapped his big paw around my hand that was holding a scion. He looked me in
the eye. I swallowed. “Huldie, don’t deny the dreams. They’re a gift given to make your life full. Accept them. Reach for them. We are not here just to endure hard times until we die. We are here to live, to serve, to trust, and to create out of our longings.”

“Yes, Papa,” I said, but it wasn’t until after he was gone, years later, that I came to understand what I’d committed to.
Jane Kirkpatrick

About Jane Kirkpatrick

Jane Kirkpatrick - Where Lilacs Still Bloom
Jane Kirkpatrick is a best-selling, award-winning author whose previous historical novels include All Together in One Place and Christy Award finalist A Tendering in the Storm. An international keynote speaker, she has earned regional and national recognition for her stories based on the lives of actual people, including the prestigious Wrangler Award from the Western Heritage Hall of Fame. Jane is a Wisconsin native who since 1974 has lived in Eastern Oregon, where she and her husband, Jerry, ranch 160 rugged acres.
Praise

Praise

Praise for Where Lilacs Still Bloom

“When reading any of Ms. Kirkpatrick’s books, I become engaged, almost instantly, on many levels at once. Where
Lilacs Still Bloom
is simultaneously a strong and gentle read of beautiful, spare language. It wooed and won me to Hulda’s story even as it coaxed me to look at my own life as well. Who am I staking up? Do I tend to my husband and my children as well as to my calling? The sweet message that lingers long after the book is closed is the promised truth of sowing and reaping, in gardens, and in life.”
      — Sandra Byrd, author of To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn

“Jane Kirkpatrick reimagines the true story of a nature-loving wife and mother who studied Luther Burbank and devoted herself to breeding new and improved varieties of lilacs. Families suffer, thrive, and evolve as new flowers emerge in a gentle tale as sweet as its fragrant garden.”
      — Jane S. Smith, author of In Praise of Chickens and The Garden of Invention

Where Lilacs Still Bloom is a charming, delightful story of Hulda Klager’s courage and perseverance on many levels, her gentle defiance of convention, her triumph over natural and personal disasters, and her desire to be sure her work is truly God’s will. Neither the author’s nor Hulda’s use of botanical research ever overpowers Hulda’s story but makes plain for readers her patience and ruthless care in her quest for the blooms she envisions.”
      — Carol Buchanan, author of Wordsworth’s Gardens and winner of the 2009 Spur for God’s Thunderbolt: The Vigilantes of Montana

“Having worked with the history of the Thiel and Klager families for over six years now as a board member, I was excited to read how Jane gave the family members such character. I particularly enjoyed the relationship between Hulda and Frank and the way Jane portrayed the youngest daughter, Martha. I loved reading Where Lilacs Still Bloom and visualizing what it must have been like to live in that old house when Hulda and her family lived and gathered there.” 
     — Judy Card, genealogist and Woodland, Washington, historian

“Extraordinary book. Jane skillfully drops the reader into Hulda Klager’s loving, hardworking pioneer life. She chronicles
Hulda’s family and botanical triumphs and struggles. Thank you for this magical story.”
     — Rebecca W. Roberts, secretary of Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens

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