front cover of Not Quite Happily Ever After back cover of Growing Home

This sequel to Growing Home is a gentle yet compelling exploration of mid-life change and discontent...

It has been ten years since the romantic ending of Growing Home when Sara graduated from law school and she and Matt were married. They have fixed up Sara's shabby little house, her garden is flourishing, and Sara has her dream of a job as an environmental lawyer with a non-profit land trust organization. It is true that her best friend back in Chicago, Jen, has been feeling depressed, but with good reason, since her both her mom and a beloved mentor died recently. Everything else in Sara's life is unchanged and how she thought she wanted it, so her dissatisfaction doesn't make sense to her. She is wondering why she isn't happy, and what to do about it.

A seductive stranger causes her to question her marriage, her friendship with Jen is strained, and at work she isn't agreeing with how things are being done.

Once again, food and gardening are large parts of the story. In Growing Home Sara’s wonderful garden helped her rebuild her life and heal her heart, but now, tending the plants seems to be her only escape from vexing questions about love, friendship, and work.

When Jen begins to have a particularly hard time parenting Toby, her adolescent son, Sara and Matt offer to have him visit over the summer to give both the boy and Jen a break. Never having been parents they don't realize how much can change while being even temporary guardians for a young teen-ager.

The plants in Sara's garden

Readers have said they wished there were full color illustrations in the book of the plants mentioned in Not Quite Happily Ever After so they would know what Sara and Renny were talking about. Unfortunately, at this point that isn't possible. The best I can suggest is to search for images of the plants on the internet, or you can look at the photos I have up here on this website under The Plants in Sara's Garden.

Because everything I do, including writing the novels, involves a desire to share practical information, I also have articles here on the website about dealing with deer and gophers, making compost, and plans for the solar oven Harley used in Growing Home.