I’m extremely excited to be part of the blog tour for the release of Where Dandelions Grow by Lydia Howe! I’ve been a fan of Lydia’s writing for a few years now, and when she offered the opportunity on her blog to review her latest book, I jumped at the chance.
And Lydia Howe shared some beautiful quote images with quotes from her book – this is one of my favorites. 🙂
Cousins are forever, or at least they’re supposed to be.
What happens when your world falls apart and your dreams are mocked by those closest to you?
Destiny’s idyllic childhood full of laughter and cousins abruptly ended when her mom uprooted the family to move them across the country with strict instructions to never talk about Swallow Ridge again. Eleven years later Destiny moves back to her hometown, determined to find her cousins… and answers.
Plagued by generations of bitterness and manipulation, Destiny hides her life-long goal – unwilling to let anyone else trample her fragile dreams. But life in the cozy town full of dandelions teaches Destiny there’s more to life than what she’s been taught.
Is it possible Swallow Ridge not only holds the answers Destiny so intensely searches for, but also the hope?
This was a thoroughly enjoyable read. The writing is beautiful, and I felt like I had been transported to Swallow Ridge with Destiny and her cousins. The setting is so detailed that it feels like a real place, and one that I want to visit. Lydia Howe did a wonderful job capturing the magic of Destiny’s hometown, between the cute little stores, the generally welcoming atmosphere, and the people themselves.
The characters were by far my favorite part of the book. I absolutely love stories with realistic, endearing characters – ones that you’d want to be friends with in real life. These ones check all the boxes! There are four main characters, I would say: Destiny and her three cousins. Destiny is a relatable narrator, especially to me, as she dreams of becoming a published author one day (and is extremely sensitive to caffeine…those scenes had me giggling). Lexie seems like she would be a wonderful friend in real life, as she’s so sweet and supportive. I also loved reading about Teal and Kamryn’s lives as well (especially Teal, and Charlie!)
One of the things I liked most about this book was that it didn’t shy away from family issues. Destiny has a strained relationship with her mom, after her mom takes her away from Swallow Ridge and Destiny’s beloved cousins. It’s interesting to explore the reasons behind that, and see Destiny’s change throughout the book. There’s a message of forgiveness running through the book, which I think is wonderful. Yet Destiny isn’t one of those obnoxious Pollyanna characters who smiles through everything – she’s a well-rounded character.
There is a religious element in Where Dandelions Grow. Lexie is religious, but she doesn’t force it upon anyone else, which is something I’m always concerned about in books. I’m religious myself, but I don’t want to read books that sound like a sermon. However, the book doesn’t push religion on the reader or the characters: it comes about naturally. The main thing that comes from it is the general message of forgiveness, which is something we definitely can learn from (Pope Francis himself declared a Year of Mercy!) 🙂 I’ve never attended a church service quite like the one Destiny goes to – it’s definitely Christian, but with drums! 🙂
I absolutely loved that the author was inspired by her relationship with her real-life cousins. I remember some wonderful times playing with my own cousins, and she really captured that feeling. It’s fun playing with your cousins because it’s like having an automatic friend. 🙂 I love that Where Dandelions Grow emphasized the importance of family, and how sometimes you have to work hard at it. The characters really stuck with me – I’ll be rereading to spend more time with them!
Sensitive Reader Advisory
I love when there’s nothing objectionable to warn you about! Lydia Howe described this as a clean New Adult book, which is accurate: I’d recommend for teens and up just because the characters are older. 🙂
Where Dandelions Grow is a sweet, uplifting book with an emphasis on family that I would recommend to anyone looking for a quick, enjoyable read.
Rating: 4/5 stars ****