Bess’s mother moves them to Pineview, away from her best friend Megan, and she terribly misses her. Six months earlier, Bess’s father died in a car crash, and she’s also in the midst of recovering from the final stages of polio. She’s in a sad and lonely place. From the moment she and her mother settle into their new home, Bess hears whispering voices and encounters a ghostly figure in the well-kept garden and in her dreams. She can’t make sense of everything and so shares her observations with Megan by writing her regular letters. During the summer, she makes new friends, including an orange and white tomcat that she names Pumpkin, and her new neighbour Josie. With the help of Mrs. O’Toole, the woman who watches her, Bess continues to recover, both physically and emotionally. She becomes more and more curious about the garden and the unexplained clues that she finds there. In Bess’s Magical Garden, Bess discovers her own true strengths through enduring life’s struggles. She – with Josie and Megan’s help – also finds some hidden items in the garden, including a map, that leave the girls with more questions than answers. Who was the figure that visited Bess? Will Bess and her friends be able to uncover the garden’s secrets? Or will those secrets be mysteries forever?
“Bess loses her father to a horrible traffic accident”
Five Star Review on Amazon By D. Perich
“I was so tired that I went to sleep as soon as my head hit the pillow. In the middle of the night I heard a soft whispering sound, which made it hard for me to go back to sleep….”
Set in the mid-20th century this junior novel chronicles the life of a young girl forced to deal with difficult circumstances. As she begins to recover from polio, Bess loses her father to a horrible traffic accident, at which point everything changes. In an attempt to rebuild their lives, Bess and her mom move away from the city to the small town of Pineview. Here she finds new friends along with a mysterious derelict garden where Bess soon unearths a mystery surrounding her new home’s former owners.
Taking me back to a time before TV and the internet this book reminded me that no matter how much the world changes the important things still remain the same, family, friends and a place to call home. This is a girl’s story that I quite enjoyed and hope to see more from this author in the future.
About the Author
After retiring M.E. Hembroff decided to pursue her dream of writing a book. Her daughter adopting an abandoned cat motivated her to start creating a story and soon the character of Bess was born. For inspiration, she tapped into her childhood from the 1950’s when she grew up on a farm in rural Manitoba, Canada, the fourth of five children. M.E. Hembroff now lives in Strathmore, Alberta, with her spoiled Shih Tzu, two cats, and two budgies. Bess’s Magical Garden is her first book.