The Scent of Gardenias by Lorraine Haas – Review by Wendy Wary

The Scent of GardeniasThe Scent of Gardenias by Lorraine Haas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a truly wonderful period fiction piece! This coming of age book about Margaret Rose Locke hits right in the feels as the reader is brought through the struggles of poverty, and living in a time when women still held little to no rights or freedoms apart from the men in their lives, times of war when nearly everyone was touched by loss, when divorcees were considered social pariahs, and when being a single mom came with more hardships than necessary.

As Margaret perseveres through it all and proves her resilience and drive to provide for her children, the reader is immersed in a different time in America with the promise of dreams and where reality oftentimes didn’t live up to expectations. Unlucky in love, ambitious to have a better life, fighting for her independence, Margaret is a representation of women who struggled against society’s expectations with the hopes of having a better life than the one they were born into. There’s also a strong theme of family bonds that are sometimes both a curse and a blessing.

I absolutely loved this book, and especially enjoyed the personal note at the end describing how the book loosely tied to the author’s own life. It reminded me of stories my own grandma shared with me as her family weathered poverty following the Great Depression and how she bucked her parents’ expectations for her to simply become a housewife when she was driven to have her own career at a time when there were very limited opportunities for women. These types of women are our role models, heroines, and pioneers of the time.

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