IT STARTED ON A GARDEN TOUR is pop lit appealing to gardeners, travellers, and the over 50's.

Themes of growing through identity crisis resulting from retirement from work, loss of a spouse, or changes within relationships, are explored.

Syd, is 62, a widower, a retired Civil Engineer from the corporate world, dealing with the devastation of his wife dying shortly after he had retired, leaving him with an emptiness he never could have fathomed. Facing new choices he eschews returning to the workforce and eventually finding purposeful occupation in gardening and painting; and, considers his marital status: safely remain single with its grand independence and awful loneliness; safely replace his wife with one of her/their widowed friends thus keeping the same pattern of lifestyle; or take some risks to find an intimate new kind of relationship. Syd’s theme: growing through change as he makes a new life for himself.

Arielle, is 55, never married but broken from a long common law relationship with a high powered businessman. She is a violinist in the city symphony and a private music and ballet teacher. Always meeting the wrong man, she never found trust within an intimate relationship that would allow her to be herself and experience a balance of dependence and independence for herself and her partner. Arielle’s theme: growing into the single life as the only way for her to thrive as a human being.

Syd and Arielle are attracted to each other, but both realize the artificiality of a trip as a place to develop a relationship. They are mature adults who are not about to make fools of themselves.

To complicate things, Grace, a determined well-to-do socialite widow, has come on the trip for the sole purpose of catching Syd. She wants him to fill the role of her deceased husband, to carry on with the traditional couple and family lifestyle.

But Jack, a retired floor sweeper from Maintenance at City Transit Head Office, who possesses inter-personal skills beyond his own understanding, is a natural match-maker and manipulator. Jack works at putting Syd and Arielle together, and foiling Grace's advances toward Syd, much to her chagrin.

The inter-actions between a doyenne of Toronto society and a pensioned floor-sweeper take on comic proportions.

The trip is to Europe, but it is full of Toronto as talked about by the travellers.

The tone of the novel is mature, dignified, sensitive, and above all, humorous.

You are the reading gardener to tend to this page.


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Copyright 1999 Georgia Brock georgia.brock@sympatico.ca