All The Pretty Places by Joy Calloway

cover image All the Pretty Places

Rating: 3/5

What It’s About:

Rye, New York, 1893. Sadie Fremd’s dreams hinge on her family’s nursery, which has been the supplier of choice for respected landscape architects on the East Coast for decades. Now her small town is in a panic as the economy plummets into a depression, and Sadie’s father is pressuring her to secure her future by marrying a wealthy man among her peerage—but Sadie has never been one to play it safe. Besides, her heart is already spoken for.

Rather than seek potential suitors, Sadie pursues new business from her father’s most reliable and wealthy clients of the Gilded Age in an attempt to bolster the floundering nursery. But the more time Sadie spends in the secluded gardens of the elite, the more she notices the hopelessness in the eyes of those outside the mansions. The poor, the grieving, the weary. The people with no access to the restorative beauty of nature.

Sadie has always wanted her father to pass his business to her instead of to one of her brothers, but he seems oblivious to her desire and talent—and now to her passion for providing natural beauty to those who can’t afford it. When former employee, Sam, shows up unexpectedly, Sadie wonders if their love can be rekindled or if his presence will simply be another reminder of a life she longs for and cannot have.

from Goodreads

The Review

Thank you to the publisher, Harper Muse, and Net Galley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

My most favorite thing about All the Pretty Places is that it is based on the author’s great-great grandmother. At the acknowledgements at the end, the author shares alot of information about her family history and the garden business that they built. The author also included a couple of pictures of the real people that inspired the characters in the book. I’m a sucker for historical photos. I LOVED it. Learning this information probably changed my rating from a 3 to 4 star. I mean…what a beautiful way to honor and remember your family history.

All the Pretty Places is a classic rated G, historical romance. I really enjoyed the way the author described all of the things about the setting of the Gilded Age. The fashion, society, gardens, etc. It was visually entertaining for me since I’m a fan of this time period. Another interesting theme was unequal social and economic conditions for people living during that time. This included the idea of access to basic necessities in life, such as clean air, decent housing, and safe job environments. The book also introduced me to eye opening history of the development of public parks for communities. It’s a part of history that I’ve never read about before, so that was exciting and inspired me to seek out additional resources to learn more about it. I love when that happens with historical fiction!

My two small criticisms are that there were the times that dialogue between characters felt repetitive. More specifically dealing with the romance between two different social classes and Sadie’s desire to take over the family business. This repetition made parts of the book feel melodramatic. Some readers may like that extra drama, but it was a downside for me.

Overall, I had a good time reading the book and am looking forward to seeing more titles published by Harper Muse. This book releases May 9th! Add it to your TBR if you are a fan of historical fiction or historical romance.

Other books similar to this one:

Of Lands High and Low by Martha Keys

Veiled in Smoke by Jocelyn Green

Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict

Have you read this book? I’d love to hear what you thought.

One comment

  1. […] I was pleasantly surprised with The Bereaved. My absolute favorite part is that this book was based on the author’s family history. At the end of the book, the author explains what started her on her journey and the resources she used to uncover her family history. Historical fiction books are my favorite because they take people, places, and events from history and build a full story that transports you to that time. It makes learning about history so much fun. There was another historical fiction novel I read this year that was also inspired by the author’s family history, you can check it out here. […]

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