In 1957 jobs are scarce in rural Ashland, Alabama. Bobby Higgins is facing life decisions; his family’s farm struggles and threat of the draft hangs over 18-year-old males as the Cold War rumbles in the distance. Bobby heads off to boot camp, vowing to provide for his family from his pay. Between shore and sea duty, Bobby leaves broken hearts in every port. When his own heart is stolen by Rose, he’s shocked to learn that she comes with four daughters, a package deal he’s unsure he wants. But when Rose disappears, Bobby finds her and persuades her to marry him. Somehow they navigate their way through the trials of marriage and parenting as he fulfills his patriotic career and his promise to raise four willful daughters. In the spring of 2004, his daughters are brought together by grief. They forge new bonds, sharing their joys, losses, regrets, and ultimately family secrets that will seal all their fates if they can summon the courage to report for duty.
“Gardenia Duty by Kathleen Varn is the story of a man who wasn’t looking for love, but when love did find him, he realized that it had more layers than he ever anticipated. Set in 1957, in this story Bobby Higgins is facing some tough times and he has to make some decisions before it is too late for him. As his family is suffering, the Cold War is raging and jobs are almost non-existent, so he leaves for boot camp where he promises himself to offer the best he can for his family. While there were plenty of women to keep him satisfied and happy, he never met a woman who made him want to stay. That is until he met the pretty Rose. He falls for her hard and fast, but she comes with a surprise package. She has four daughters who are at once vulnerable yet so strong. Now Bobby has to make the decision of a lifetime once again. Can he marry Rose and take on the responsibility of her four girls?
This is such a beautiful tale of love, acceptance, familial bonds and just becoming a family. Bobby and Rose created this wonderful atmosphere with their love and affection for each other and their little girls. Bobby’s reaction to finding out that the woman he loves has four girls was believable and very real. It would be a hard reality and a tough decision for anyone and the author did a great job of not only making her characters believable but also relatable. It is the small things that count and can heighten the experience of a reader. Kathleen Varn set the pace just right, allowed readers to get invested, connect with the characters and enjoy the story as if they were watching a 3D movie. This descriptive, vivid piece of writing is definitely one of my favorites! An absolute gem!”
Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite
About the Author
Kathleen Varn's love affair with words manifested when she turned four and taught herself to read. As she grew older, books and reading were an escape from responsibility. Eventually, Kathleen dove into journaling, which helped her find solace in the grief of a toxic relationship. Kathleen is now very happily married to her soulmate. She resides in Charleston, South Carolina, where she worked for an adoption attorney for twenty-three years. Her first novel, Ameera Unveiled, released in 2013. Gardenia Duty is her second novel.