Hearing from readers is one of the most gratifying parts of being a writer. I deeply appreciate the notes and e-mails that readers send and I read them all.
After Hurricane Ivan, hospital I was with family and friends for a month and in a motel for 11 months more. I entertained myself with books and rebuilding our home. …and then Hurrican Katrina hit and more damage. But I am still able to be here. My husband was in Afghanistan and just got home. Things are just beginning to settle down enough for me to think straight. So today I wanted to tell you what a pleasure it was to read your book The Garden Angel. I do hope you are writing more and I can’t wait for the next book. I have now bought and given copies of your first book to three others. Yes, I’m going to keep my copy for a long time to come. Please put me on your email list so I will know when your next book comes out. And if by chance you do not have a new one in the works then I enourage you to do so. You are a wonderful writer. I also want to tell you of the pleasure it was to read your book and how often I have thought of different people and things mentioned in it. You were an angel in my life during this traumatic year.
Forgive the brevity of my letter to you, but I feel that my message is best conveyed in simplicity. Your book was more than enjoyable — it was intoxicating. I couldn’t stand to put it away, but did so only to prolong my enjoyment. Thank you for sharing with us such a compassionate and eerily perceptive piece. I have never written to an author before, although I’ve read many great books, but I felt that I must write to you, out of selfishness, to do my part in encouraging you to continue. I look forward to your next book and wish you all the best.
“Garden Angel” is an amazing and enthralling novel. I feel deeply stirred by your prose…Thank you for your beautiful talent and I can’t wait for your next work.
Yours, Rebbie Syosset NY
This is the fastest “I love your book” email on record. I received THE GARDEN ANGEL today, on page 40 now and I simply love it. YAHOO! As a writer, I’m frustrated when I mull through book after book, trying to get something to satisfy. You work hits all the right buttons, and bravo I say. So glad you arrived, and anxious to follow your career.Just please say you have a gazillion more ideas.
All The best, LaDonna
I am almost done with the Garden Angel. I have only a handful of pages left and don’t want it to end. I am huge “Southern Reading” fan and your book is one of the best I’ve read. I really enjoyed it and am hoping you already have another one in the works. Thanks and keep them coming.
I recently moved to the South and after visiting Bluffton, SC library decided to read a book by a local author – found yours “The Garden Angel” ! What a great book and your style of writing is so close to a favorite author of mine, Nicholas Sparks; that good old touch of writer’s wit !! Please tell me there is more in the works!
I purchased your new and first novel for my mother as a birthday present, and she said she absolute loved it. She even recommended me to read it because I love to read, and I enjoy doing a little writing as well. Even though my favorite writers are Jeffrey Deaver, Thomas Harris, Mitch Albom, John Grisham, and, of course, Stephen King, I told her I would give your book a shot and am about to begin reading it. I am looking forward to your next novel; it will make a great gift for my mother. I look forward to hearing from you and good luck on future novels.
I just wanted to let you know that I just finished reading your book and I thoroughly enjoyed it. March is my month to host our Book Club and our theme for the book was Southern Writers. I came across your book at Amazon.com and liked the reviews so I chose it as our selection without reading it first. I’m glad to say the wonderful reviews were right on the money and I think my club will like reading it as much as I did. Thanks for the entertainment it provided as well as the rich discussion it promises (complete with the questions graciously provided by your website) at our meeting. Regards,
Betsy Gatchel, New Bern, NC
I just finished “The Garden Angel”. It was great. I don’t live in G’ville
but I have worked there for 23 years. The Lo-Bi store cracked me up. I’m writing to tell you my favorite passage. On page one hundred fifty-nine, where Elizabeth realizes how despair had been her mistress; that is so powerful.Also loved “the dead garden”. Thanks for such a great book.
Holly, Central, SC
Mindy— I seldom read books, I am more of a magazine and newspaper reader. A few months ago I came across a short article you penned for the Journal publication—At Home, or some such. Anyway, I was taken by your style…in particular the passage where you mentioned living on the Eastside but longing for creaking wooden floors. Well, to get to the point, I picked up a copy of your book and read it cover to cover last week while on vacation. It took me all of three days. I just wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially the character development.
I look forward to your next book.
Lee, Greenville, SC
Dear Ms. Friddle,
Just loved your book. First really good book I have read in a long time.( Last good book – White Oleander by Janet Fitch.) Anyway, I sent the book to my Aunt whom I have not seen in over forty years, but keep in touch with all the time by phone and mail. I live in Pasadena, California and she lives in Indiana; we are Southern “girls” though with a long family history from the South so I know she will love the book, the characters and the stories. Now I must order another book for myself…I found your book on sale at Barnes and Noble in Calabasas, California, home of the modern movie star jet set. So you were among famous company. Again, thank you so much for sharing your wonderful talent. I look forward to more books from you in the near future.
Sincerely, Amber, Pasadena, California
Congratulations. Garden Angel is a great read. You engaged me. You held me (which doesn’t happen often). I loved the set pieces like the super market. Your images are marvelous, fresh, and often startlingly on the mark. It is also, I think, a new take on the South in that it doesn’t linger on the passe` and the sentimental. It’s beautifully plotted and I never guessed the outcome. It has as much promise to become a screen play — it has a dramatic structure as you know — as Green Tomatoes or Steel Magnolias (neither of which held me like your Angel). Not only that, once in awhile you reminded me of Munro the way you got into the inner lives of the characters. I think — this from a confirmed dilletante — it is an enviable first outing for a professional writer. And I don’t think it ought be compared in any way with that Savannah piece just because you have a similar cover. Best wishes for a long career,
Bill Bruehl, Spartanburg, South Carolina
I love your book! A book for intelligent readers, I think you will rank right up there with Kingsolver and Tyler. So beautifully written, and interesting ideas. One of those books you just don’t want to end. The main problem is I wanted more — I loved Father Bob, another whole book about him, and also about Ginnie’s life with Daniel, and of course stories of the bed and breakfast! I loved the metaphor about Cutter’s rescue fantasies about Curt-how you knew from their vigor they were weeds, just did not belong in the garden! I am an avid gardener, the title is what grabbed me at the new book section of the library. Hoping you are busy on another. An appreciative reader,
Nancy Kelly, Phoenix, Arizona
I finished THE GARDEN ANGEL this afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed it. I liked Cutter very much and felt your writing was beautiful — true literature. The characters were nicely described and I could ‘see’ each one clearly. Especially Daniel who I wanted to slap! I look forward to your upcoming novels. I have an online reading group and have already told them about your book. I’m also in a mom’s bookclub and will be telling them as well. Happy Writing!
Tanya Anderson, Alexandria, VA
I’m recommending [THE GARDEN ANGEL] to every body I can. I won’t loan them my copy either. “Buy your own,” I say. I’m glad to see it’s getting such praise, as it really deserves it. To create two compelling characters in one novel is some feat, and you seemed to do it with ease.
Tom Williams, assistant professor of English and creative writing at Arkansas State University, and General Editor of the Arkansas Review
I’m nearly finished reading THE GARDEN ANGEL. Wow. I’ve been savoring every single page. What’s more, some passages are so powerfully descriptive and beautifully, lyrically written that I copy them and read them to my reading groups. They have been very impressed. Thank you, Mindy, for such a superb novel. I am eager for another good read from you!
Annette Vance Dorey, a Literacy Teacher in Maine
Dear Ms. Friddle,
I am like Alfred in at least one respect: disorder bugs me to no end. And yet, last night when I looked up from my reading chair, it didn’t bother me in the least to see the dirty plate and unwashed milk glass still sitting on the dinner table. Nor did I wince at the baking sheet, crumpled aluminum foil, and empty box of Stouffer’s spinach souffle atop the stove. In spite of the mess, I was absolutely content, having fulfilled a much higher calling by tearing away from dinner to devour the final fifty pages of your novel. At least I thought to turn off the oven.
The Garden Angel affected me on many different levels. The ways in which you characterized the various relationships was masterful, and your portrayal of social anxiety was right on. I also recognized certain female friends in both Cutter and Elizabeth, which was neat. On a personal level, I connected deeply with the sense of place that is so apparent througout the novel, especially Cutter’s desire to retain the Harris ancestral home. My “ancestral” home here in Wisconsin is the 1950s-era split-level ranch where I grew up. It is neither as old nor as storied as Cutter’s Victorian house, yet I would fight as fiercely as she did to keep it from selling. Congratulations on a great work of fiction. I look forward to reading more! All the best,
Rick Brown, La Crosse, Wisconsin
THE GARDEN ANGEL — Loved it. Hated for it to end. I belong to a book club outside of Memphis TN and will be recommending it. Please keep writing and good luck.
Rene Pertuit, Memphis, TN
I finished reading THE GARDEN ANGEL this weekend and I just had to write to you. …It was so refreshing to be in a world where I cared about the characters, and where I really couldn’t wait to see what happened next. I ached for Cutter and her family home. Elizabeth’s condition just killed me….I adored the rich imagery — father Bob and his crew, the home, the town….your writing is delicious. …Anyway, I could go on and on. I mainly wanted to write a gushing letter to tell you to never stop — I will buy your books forever!
Jennifer Manske Fenske, Atlanta, GA
I can’t tell you how very much I have enjoyed reading your book GARDEN ANGEL. I am recovering from knee surgery and have had more time to read than usual. I started your book and did not stop until I had finished it. It was delightful! Since I am a southern gal I could just picture this sleepy little southern town as well as all the characters. I am a member of a book discussion group at our local library and I have already been praising your book. I am also a member of a book club and when we meet this month I will certainly recommend it to our members. I hope you are planning a second book.
Sincerely, Margaret Nance, North Carolina
Immediately, I fell in love with your writing style. Your imagery of nature, the cycle of life and the struggle between new and old is beautiful. At the same time, the novel doesn’t take itself too seriously, I love the humor! I admire your writing and wish you the best of luck. Looking forward to the next novel. Sincerely, Virginia Walker
THE GARDEN ANGEL is a story of people looking for love in all the wrong places. They end up finding friends in the oddest places.
Rona Brinlee, Owner, The Book Mark, Atlantic Beach, Fla.
As a writer, and retired English teacher in New York City, I usually do not write a “fan” letter, but I wanted to tell you how impressed I was by your book, The Garden Angel. For this Yankee, it really captured the pace and feel of the South, and reminded me in tone of To Kill a Mockingbird, also with a feisty heroine. I have no doubt that you will write many more fine books and I look forward to reading them. Thank you for writing such a pleasurable read.
Best wishes, Mel, New York City
Thank you so much for writing such a wonderful story. I loved your character Elizabeth. I have had similar thoughts and feelings expressed by her ( only mine were whispers compared with hers). You did a superb job. Best wishes for a long and successful career.
I just finished The Garden Angel. It was an excellent story, one I will not soon forget. Your words on paper were so wonderful, livable, real. I thoroughly enjoyed the book and will look forward to your future books. The Garden Angel read so smoothly, I did not want it to end. Best regards,
I have just finished reading The Garden Angel, and I was very impressed…I laughed so hard at your description of trashing a house so it wouldn’t sell that my husband came into the bedroom to see what was wrong. I also admire your resolution, which gives only one of the women what she thought she wanted–and somehow one suspects she’s not going to want it for long.
Lizbeth, South Carolina
Just wanted to say thanks for the great read! Enjoyed “The Garden Angel” very much and hope that you plan to write more books. Loved the characters–they seemed so real–like people one would meet any day on the street. Keep writing!!!
Just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed reading The Garden Angel. It is one of the best books I have read. The characters will always be with me.
Penny Harmon, Nashville, Tenn.
I stayed up entirely too late last night finishing THE GARDEN ANGEL, completely absorbed and captivated by Sans Souci and her citizens. Thank you for writing such a wonderful book. I enjoyed every page, every word, every simile, every character. My first act this morning was to come into the bookstore and place the book on our recommended wall. My review is simple: “This book is wonderful! Please read it!”
Ellen Spiceland, Chapter 11 Books at Highland Plaza, Marietta, Georgia
I just finished your book this weekend and I cannot begin to tell you how much I enjoyed it. I am a library director in Massachusetts and am always excited to read first novels. Your book will be on my “best picks” book list..I loved the characters and how they grew. I loved your sense of humor, because it was true to the characters. What is so exciting is to know that you have a very long and successful career ahead of you…
Jane Dutton, Director, Gale Free Library, Holden, Massachusetts
Just wanted to let you know that I found your book at B&N quite by accident. Started reading it in the cafe…I loved it–it reminds me of C.J. Laughlin’s photographs of decaying Mississippi mansions (Ghosts along the Mississippi). I love the sense of nostalgia and even melancholy in it. Thank you for writing such a piece of poetry.
Patrick McCormick, Butler Institute of American Art, Youngstown, Ohio
I loved your book! It was one of the best, most enjoyable books I’ve read in quite a while. Perfection. And thank you for ending it as you did…You have such an amazing talent, and I thank you for sharing it.
B.J. Koonce, Greenville, South Carolina
You gave a reading at the Greensboro, NC Barnes & Noble a couple of weeks ago, and I took my signed copy of your book on a cruise last week to Bermuda. I read four books and by far your novel surpassed the others. It is not only a wonderful first novel– it would be wonderful as your tenth or twentieth.
Ed Sigmon, Greensboro, North Carolina
My best friend in all the world, dating clear back to high school in Albuquerque (we’re 61 now–ACK!), told me with excitement on the phone the other day about your book. We talk every week or two and always end our conversations with the category of BOOKS: what we’re currently reading and what yummy books we’ve heard about since we last talked. We savor the delay of that discussion ’til the end because we enjoy it so much. She and I have both ordered your book from Amazon within the past few days and are eagerly anticipating its arrival at our respective houses so we can sink our teeth into it (gently).
Mary Quackenbush, Greeley, Colorado
I picked up a copy of the The Garden Angel from the Open Book’s “staff pick” table the other week. Thanks for a wonderful (and unsettling) narrative. I decided to use it as the springboard for column in this week’s church news. Bet you didn’t see that use coming! I can’t wait for your next novel-it won’t have to show up on the staff pick table for me to bring it home!
Grace and peace, Jeff Rogers, First Baptist Church Greenville
I really loved your book. I felt so attached to Cutter and Elizabeth that I miss them now that I’ve finished the book.
Susan Freireich, Boston, Massachusetts
I thought THE GARDEN ANGEL was a wonderful book and I will recommend it to others. I’m not much of a book critic, so I’ll just tell you that it was one of those books I stayed up late at night reading. I look forward to your next novel.
Stacy LaFrance, Phoenix, Arizona
I have been meaning to somehow get in touch with you and let you know how much I enjoyed your book, THE GARDEN ANGEL. As a wannabe writer, I am always pleased when I pick a book to read that is a lesson in writing…I am on the Southern Porch list, a web-based writers groupl. I told them that when I read the first paragraph of your book, I felt finally I had found the summer read I had been looking for…You have written a book to be shared and remembered.
Pam Gurule South Carolina
OK, I’m blaming you for me not getting enough sleep the past few nights! Your book is terrific and I’m dreading getting to the end of it. I can’t wait for your next book!
Lori Anderson Easton, Maryland
My reading time is limited–often I read the same page of the same book over and over because I try to read at bedtime and I fall asleep with the book in my hand. That didn’t happen with YOUR book, though! It hooked me immediately. I know those places and those people! You made them vivid and so likable. My husband wants to read it because he saw what a good time I had, but he will have to wait until I get it back from my friend. She loved it, too, and has promoted it to her book club and other friends.
Linda Mote Lexington, South Carolina
It’s a movie–I can see it already. Start writing the screenplay. I loved it. I laughed out loud as I read it. Well done.
Susan DuPlessis, Director, Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County
I bought a signed copy at B&N in Greenville and hated to finish the last page. I thoroughly enjoyed your book. When is the next novel going to be released? We are all holding our breath!
Deb Williford Greer, South Carolina