If you’ve ever asked me for a book recommendation, chances are I’ve recommended Sophie Green’s novels to you. I just get along so well with her writing style, and I love the way she brings together women of different ages, and from different backgrounds, into friendships that feel real and not contrived. I’m always thrilled when she announces she has a new book on the way, so I jumped at the chance to get my hands on an early copy of her latest title, Weekends with the Sunshine Gardening Society, which came out last week.
What is Sophie Green’s Weekends with the Sunshine Gardening Society about?
Noosa Heads, 1987: Newly divorced Cynthia has returned to her home town from Los Angeles to reconnect with her 19-year-old daughter, who is pregnant and determined not to listen to her mother’s advice. Cynthia’s former best friend, Lorraine, has been stuck mowing lawns as part of a business she shares with her husband – his dream, not hers. When Cynthia convinces Lorraine to join the local Sunshine Gardening Society, they meet young widow Elizabeth, and rootless, heartbroken Kathy.
The four women soon discover the society is much more than an opportunity to chat about flowers. Rather, it offers them the chance to lend a helping hand to people whose lives need a bit of care and attention right along with their gardens.
Between pulling up weeds and planting natives, the women learn from each other that some roots go deep, and others shallow; that seeds can lie dormant for a long time before they spring to life, and that careful tending is the key to lives and friendships that reach their full potential.
My review of Weekends with the Sunshine Gardening Society by Sophie Green
I’ve mentioned above how big a fan I am of Sophie Green’s writing, and to be honest Weekends with the Sunshine Gardening Society might just be my new favourite. I am forever blown away by how readable Green’s books are, while still addressing some heavy themes – always with sensitivity – and how invested I feel in each of the characters’ stories right from the very start. Green has such a gift for writing about the day to day lives of women in a way that makes so many of us feel seen and make her books and characters so relatable.
Something else I admire about Green’s books is the way specific themes are pulled out and woven through the stories. In Weekends with the Sunshine Gardening Society several of the women are single for different reasons and experiencing that in different ways. I liked that this makes the reader think about relationships, and women’s roles in them. There are also some really lovely bits about mothers – whether it’s being a mother or the women’s relationships with their mothers. and I loved this.
As always Green brings together and builds friendships between women who are really quite different from each other in an authentic and believable way – the premise under which the women are brought together never feels contrived to me. In this case alongside the four main characters, we are also treated to some wonderful side characters too, in particular I loved the women who organise the gardening society.
The final thing I wanted to specifically mention about Weekends with the Sunshine Gardening Society is how the setting – Noosa Heads – shines as almost an extra character. I felt transported to the beachside location of the book every time I picked it up, and I think this is going to make a perfect holiday read.
Obviously I loved this one and recommend it unreservedly. I think it will be another hit with readers who have already loved Green’s previous books and would also be a great entry point for anyone wanting to discover a new favourite author. Similarly, I think if you have been keen to get into more Aussie literature and want a heartwarming and genuine story that celebrates women and their friendships then this Weekends with the Sunshine Gardening Society will be a perfect one to pick up.
Big thanks to Hachette, and also Benson PR, for getting an early copy in my hands!
Let me know in the comments if this one is on your TBR, or if you’ve read any of Sophie Green’s other books. I’d also be keen to hear if you have other favourite books about women’s friendships I should check out! AND keep an eye out for a Q&A with Sophie Green, which I’ll be sharing here in August.
Weekends with the Sunshine Gardening Society by Sophie Green
Out now from Hachette Australia
Source: I received a free paperback copy from Hachette Australia (thank you!)
Category: Aussie romance fiction
Check out my reviews of Sophie Green’s previous books:
- The Bellbird River Country Choir.
- The Shelley Bay Ladies Swimming Circle.
- The Inaugural Meeting of the Fairvale Ladies Book Club.
Keep up with Sophie Green on her website here.