Ginny Kubitz MoyerJun 30, 2023
The Seeing Garden
She Writes Press 2023
Nineteen-year-old Catherine Ogden appears to have everything: youth, wealth, birth, breeding, and beauty. No one in New York high society is surprised when she attracts the attention of William Brandt, an up-and-coming business tycoon from California. It’s 1910, and the job of women like Catherine is to marry well and make their families proud.
At her aunt’s urging, Catherine agrees to visit the Brandt estate near San Francisco. There she falls in love not with her prospective groom but with his beautiful, sun-filled house and, most of all, the extensive gardens that surround it. When he proposes marriage, she accepts.
Yet Catherine is not quite the society heiress her appearance suggests. The daughter of a wealthy man who gave up his fortune for art and love of her mother, Catherine grew up in a household that valued emotional fulfillment more than status and pride. So she can’t ignore the prickles of concern that arise during her conversations with William. For a while, she distracts herself by designing a beautiful garden of her own, but as the wedding day draws closer, a series of surprises force her to confront what she most wants in life.
As noted in her bio, Ginny Kubitz Moyer lives and gardens in the area where she has set her novel, and it shows. The exquisite descriptions of the landscape and its effect on Catherine could carry the novel, but they don’t have to. Catherine herself—with her combination of innocence and self-awareness, her unexpected past and its contrasts with her very different present—is the heart of the story. And although we can predict where she might be heading, Moyer keeps us guessing almost to the end as to how her heroine will get there. All in all, a very satisfying read.
Ginny Kubitz Moyer is a California native with a passion for local history and an author of both fiction and nonfiction. Ginny’s love for California and its stories inspired her to write The Seeing Garden (She Writes Press, 2023), her debut novel. An avid weekend gardener, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband, two sons, and one adorably stubborn rescue dog.
C. P. Lesley is the author of two historical fiction series set during the childhood of Ivan the Terrible and three other novels. Her latest book, Song of the Storyteller, appeared in January 2023.